Princeton Packet Athlete of the Week

Wiener leads WW-P North basketball to wins

By: Justin Feil
   There is no doubt on which player the West Windsor-Plainsboro North girls’ basketball team leans heaviest.
   And Brooke Wiener is a strong enough player to handle it.
   "I can’t take her off the court," said Knights head coach Brett Charleston. "She’s that important to us. If she comes off the court, it’s because she’s tired or lackadaisical. As far as the skills of our three seniors, Lauren (Lentine) is a good leader and a good shooter. Regina (Potter) is tough as nails. She’s the heart and soul of the team. Brooke does everything for us. A lot of plays are set up around her. Our press breaker is set up around her. On offense, a lot of what we run, runs through her."
   With good reason. Wiener has shown the ability to make defenses pay if they don’t give her enough attention. It’s amazing what the versatile senior can do in as little as eight minutes, as she proved twice last week.
   Last Tuesday, WW-P North trailed arch rival WW-P South, 17-11, after the first quarter. That’s when Wiener went to work. She helped the Knights turn the deficit into an advantage as she scored 15 of her team’s 18 second-quarter points. WW-P North never trailed again in a 50-41 victory.
   Then Saturday, Wiener erupted for 10 points as the Knights took a 19-8 lead over Phillipsburg on their way to a 46-30 win. Wiener finished with 22 points to help WW-P North improve to 6-2.
   Brooke Wiener is the Princeton Packet Athlete of the Week.
   "When Brooke wants to, she can really dominate a game," Charleston said after Wiener had another 10-point quarter in a 52-33 win over Princeton High on Tuesday. "In that second quarter against South, she decided to take her game to another level. She has the potential to be great. At times, she struggles with her consistency. But she shows flashes of brilliance."
   Of course, if Wiener delivered the sort of performance she did against the Pirates every quarter of every game, she’d have an unreal scoring average. Wiener credits her quarter outpourings to a combination of things going her way.
   "Second quarter against South, I know coach was like, we need some leadership on this team," Wiener recalled. "I tried to step it up as much as I could. We worked better as a team second quarter.
   "I didn’t think about scoring," she added. "I was getting a lot of passes down low and we seemed to be running our offense better and I got open shots. It was a combination of stepping up our intensity and being more aggressive."
   Wiener has shown through the years the ability to make plays when she is aggressive. She started playing for the Knights as a freshman, and remembers one of her first big high-school moments was being put into the North-South rivalry game. She had her moments when she was called upon even then to help the varsity. Now those moments never end. She’s one of the most versatile players in WW-P North program history.
   "She’s a ballhandler, she can shoot and she has post moves," Charleston said. "As coaches, we want her to dominate at all three. Sometimes we see that."
   Especially recently. In her last three games, Wiener has come up with the big plays when the Knights have needed them. She contributes in a number of ways.
   "Her passing is really good," Charleston said. "When teams play a zone, Brooke finds the open area and hits Regina or Kathy (Ruiz) with the open layup. She can see that because she was a guard."
   In Wiener’s first two seasons with the Knights, she primarily played guard before Charleston began using her more inside at forward. Her versatility is a plus, though it might seem tough on helping her consistency.
   "If a guard gets in foul trouble, I move Brooke there," Charleston said. "If teams go to 1-3-1, Brooke goes to the middle. If they go to a 2-3, she goes to the wing and she shoots. It may be a detriment because we ask her to do so much. But at the same time, she’s the only one that can do all of it."
   Being versatile is nothing new to Wiener. It’s why she’s been able to flourish and had some of her biggest contributions this season.
   "When my dad did the Lady Hawks I used to be point guard," Wiener said of her early basketball days. "Then I had a growth spurt. I had to start posting. So I would move around. I’ve been doing it my whole life.
   "I see the court really well. Lately I’ve been making a lot of post moves. That’s how I’ve been scoring. I get a lot of assists by being a wing player. I can help either with assists or scoring."
   Charleston compares Wiener favorably to Scotty Pippen, the one-time Chicago Bulls standout and member of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players team who helped define the point-forward role. Wiener is just looking to help the Knights win in any capacity she is in.
   "They keep mentioning it’s almost halfway through the season," Wiener said. "It might be my last season. I remember as a sophomore or freshman when they said it, I didn’t have that time limit in the back of my head.
   "I think we can definitely play a lot better," she added. "We’re in a little slump. We need to come out more intense."
   It’s a relative slump, one that hasn’t cost them a single game. WW-P North has still put together a three-game winning streak going into tonight’s Hamilton game since falling in their own War of the Worlds championship game.
   Any more championships this season go through one player on the Knights. It’s a position of pressure, but one that Brooke Wiener has shown she can handle.
   Said Charleston, "Our expectations are this is her senior year and we’ll go as far as she can carry us."