EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 21, 2013

With Breslin, the defense never rests

By Michael Muldoon

---- — DERRY — Sam Breslin was the perfect player for the Pinkerton girls basketball program.

John Barry coaches defense with the fervor of a fire and brimstone preacher and Breslin is a believer.

“I’m defensively-minded definitely,” she said. “That comes from Coach Barry. He’s big on defense. He taught me well.”

Barry explained, “I’d put her on the best player whether it was a center or a forward or a guard. Not too many players can do that. She’s a great defensive player.”

She’s not just a defensive player. The 5-8 returning Eagle-Tribune All-Star averaged 8.9 points a game for the 18-4 Astros. Breslin also was second on the team in assists. The state coaches named her second-team Division 1 All-State (5 players make each team).

This year she was the Astros’ lone captain and as a junior she was a tri-captain.

“Her leadership was tremendous. The kids really respect her,” said Barry.

Breslin also has flourished academically. The National Honor Society student is ranked 14th in a class of 707. Breslin, who doesn’t plan on playing in college, has been accepted to UVM, URI and UMass and is waiting on NYU, Penn, Duke and BU. She said she was one of two in her class to earn a perfect score in the reading on the NECAP test.

“It will be difficult to give up the competitive sports,” said the Derry resident, who also started on the soccer team. “I thought a little about playing Division 3. Academics were more important. I went solely on academics.”

Academics have always come first.

“The very first game of the season I played on three hours sleep because I had been writing a 16-page senior essay,” she said.

From her clothes to her actions, Breslin has never been concerned with being in with the in crowd.

“I definitely march to my own drummer,” she said. “I’ve always been that way. I’m doing my own thing.”

Barry remarked, “She’s definitely a free spirit. She was great fun to coach.”