Favorite athlete: Jalen Brunson
Favorite team: Philadelphia Sixers
Favorite memory competing in sports: The two-hour bus ride home after beating North Allegheny in the state semifinals last year
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: Last year, me and my teammate Sofia Sonnet were stranded in Philly after the Eagles parade. We were in a rush to get home for practice, and when we got to South with probably five minutes to spare, we found out we weren't practicing.
Music on mobile device: Basically anything
Future plans: To attend and play basketball at Colgate University, where I will go in undecided
Words to live by: "There are people out there who want to help you succeed, and you should spend your life thanking them by helping someone else." -My sister
One goal before turning 30: To travel and see the world
One thing people don’t know about me: If we win, I'll continue to eat the same meal before every game until we lose-- I ate a Chipotle bowl with double chicken our entire state playoff run last year.
By Mary Jane Souder
Mention the Central Bucks South senior’s name to followers of high school basketball, and they’ll recall the 2018 District 1 6A final at Temple’s Liacouras Center when the then junior point guard willed her team into triple overtime by nailing one big shot after another before the Titans fell to a favored Souderton squad. Or they’ll smile and talk about the all-state point guard’s remarkable court savvy and how she makes everyone around her better. Others will mention her fiercely competitive drive to win.
“She very well could be a once-in-a-coaching-career kind of player, and it’s not just her play on the court,” South coach Beth Mattern said. “It’s her whole package as an individual.”
Alyssa D’Orazio had a chance to see Brodie in a different set of circumstances this past winter, and the South freshman puts her own spin on the senior captain.
“It’s really hard to put into words what she meant to me and this team,” D’Orazio said. “She was such a big role model on and off the court.
“She was so dedicated to all of us, and she had so much patience, and that was something that was really inspiring.”
Brodie was the lone returning starter from last year’s district and state runner-up squad. Only Sofia Sonnet, a reserve as a junior, had any varsity experience.
“Coming off the best season in program history – even if we brought everybody back, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Can we do it again?’” Brodie said. “Now it’s even harder because you lose all those girls, but I kind of had the mentality – okay, I’ve written a path for myself as a part of the program, but I’m here for one more year, so how am I going to leave it? Am I going to just give up on it or am I going to put it on the right path for when I’m gone? I think that was the mentality I had going into the season.”
Brodie certainly put South’s program on the right path – the senior captain led the inexperienced Titans to a 12-11 record (7-5 SOL) and a district berth where they extended Pennsbury to overtime before falling.
The Titans’ unexpected success has Brodie’s thumbprint all over it. D’Orazio recalls the Titans’ regular season overtime upset of SOL Continental Conference champion Souderton when she was pressed into action due to an injury to fellow freshman Taylor Hinkle.
“I remember it perfectly, and I remember wanting to get that win so bad for her because she put everything she had out on the floor and we owed it to her to do the same,” D’Orazio said. “She’s so supportive, and she was extremely motivating, especially during overtime. Everything that came out of her mouth was positive.
“I remember I was walking to the line to shoot a foul shot because we were one-and-one, and she walked me all the way down the court until I had to step on the line.”
D’Orazio sank the front end of the one-and-one, and the Titans won 30-28. It was the biggest of 12 wins during a remarkable season, and listening to the South freshman tell it – none of it happens without Brodie.
“She had such a positive attitude the whole time, and that had to be hard for her – coming from going so far with so many people she spent so much time with that were close to her age and then coming in and having a bunch of young girls who were completely inexperienced,” D’Orazio said. “Taking that and making it something really special is so amazing.”
Brodie was born to play basketball.
“When I think about the beginning of everything, I think about going to my dad’s championship summer league game when I was a couple of days old,” Brodie said. “My mom just got out of the hospital, and she took me right to my dad’s championship game. I was on my first basketball court when I was a couple days old. I guess it was fate after that.”
Fate and a lot of people who influenced her along the way..
“The people I grew up around definitely shaped my interest and the person I am today,” Brodie said. “Just seeing my brother (Josh) grow up with a basketball in his hands and my dad coaching (as an assistant at Wissahickon) – it definitely shaped me, sparked my interest from the get go.”
Not surprisingly, Brodie was a baller from the get-go – beginning with a plastic play net on the sidelines of her father’s practices and evolving into the real thing when she signed up with Doylestown Athletic Association, initially playing travel with the guys – teammates with Tommy Kuypers, Brady and Cole Prezelski - before switching to the girls.
“If I never switched over to Doylestown Athletics, I wouldn’t have met some of my guy friends that I’m still best friends with today,” Brodie said. “If I never switched over to the girls, I would never have met (Central Bucks West’s) Maddie (Burke), Tori (Abelson) and Izzy (Treon) and all of them. It’s really cool looking back at how I was able to grow up playing with some of those girls, and for the past four years, they’ve been our biggest rivals.”
As for her high school experience – it’s best to let the South senior describe it.
“It really is hard to put into words,” Brodie said. “I say it all the time – those seniors were just amazing for me coming in as a freshman. As much of a cliché as it is, I truly think being part of CB South girls’ basketball has given me the best four years of my life. When I look back at the past four years, I’ll think of playing in four straight district tournaments, I’ll think about playing in Temple’s Liacouras Center for a district title and going to Hershey for a state championship.
“Outside of basketball, this program has given me an opportunity to spend time with some of the special needs kids that are part of the Athletes Helping Athletes organization. I’ll think about when we drove down to Philly to donate presents to a family in need.
“Some of those situations I wish ended differently, but at the end of the day, I can tell myself I got to experience them. Some of those games and some of moments people can only dream of, and being a part of this program let me live in those moments, I think that’s really special when I look back at it.”
Brodie acknowledges that her senior year was markedly different than her first three.
“I had to be a lot of different things this year,” she said. “I had to mentor girls that had never played at a varsity level before. I knew that was going to be challenging coming into the season, but it was kind of the challenge I took on, and I enjoyed that.
“Looking back at it, it was probably individually one of the most successful years because of everything I had to deal with – an entirely new team. Obviously, I couldn’t have done it without the freshmen. They knew the challenges coming in, they took those challenges, and I was just there to guide them through it.”
As a senior, Brodie averaged 16.7 points a game, but according to Mattern, numbers don’t begin to tell the story.
“In the fall when we’re a whole bunch of people without any varsity experience and are new to the program – honestly, we spent so much of this season just really working on building skill sets,” the Titans’ coach said. “She had those skills, but she’s still out there in open gym working really hard, setting an example.”
Ask Brodie about her best high school memories, and she goes back to her junior season – a dream season that culminated with a trip to the state title game in Hershey where the Titans were edged by Upper Dublin (41-39).
“When we talk about that season, it’s nothing about games,” Brodie said. “We never talk about games. It’s always about those little moments during practice or the bus rides there.
“When we think of games, the first thing that comes to mind is that state semifinal game against North Allegheny. We went into that game knowing they were nationally ranked and hadn’t lost a game that season, and we did not care at all. We went into that game thinking it’s just as much our right as it is yours to win.
“Going in at halftime down four and then coming out on an 8-0 run to take the lead, that’s exactly the mentality that we had. When that final buzzer went off, it was like, ‘All right, we’re here, we did what we wanted to do.’ Being able to do it alongside some of my best friends – to this day, it was just one of the greatest feelings in the world. It was one of the hardest games and one of the best games I’ve ever been part of.”
Not surprisingly, Mattern also references the North Allegheny game, a 52-49 South win that saw Brodie score 24 points – 19 in the second half.
“That last minute she was such a communicator between the team and myself,” the Titans’ coach said. “I almost had this sense of calmness over me in this tight game to go to the state championship game. I knew we were going to win because she was so engaged and everyone was on the same page. She’s telling the official – ‘I’m going to foul when she catches the ball.’ She is making sure our game plan is going to work.
“Looking at the district final and willing us into overtime – those things don’t happen without her understanding of the game and her ability to pull it off. But her true understanding is what sets her apart from others.”
There’s a photo that captures the essence of that state semifinal game as well as that Titan squad.
“We always say our favorite picture is the five girls that were on the court – when that buzzer went off, we didn’t run to one person in particular,” Brodie said. “All five of us ran right over to the bench, and the bench was running right over to us, and that just completely sums up that team and that season right there. It was no one person, it was truly a team, and it was truly best friends coming together and accomplishing something extraordinarily amazing.”
College without basketball was never a consideration for Brodie, and Colgate University will be inheriting her talents next year.
“When I played AAU basketball, it started opening my eyes to the fact that this could totally be a reality for me,” Brodie said. “Through the process of AAU, I kind of figured – I can’t live without basketball. I can’t go to college and truly fulfill that college experience if I’m not playing basketball.
“My biggest priority when I visited colleges was – do I get that family feel because I understand it’s bigger than basketball. When I go to colleges, I’m looking to see how the coaches interacted with the players, how the players interacted with the coaches and how the players interacted within the team. When I went there, it was exactly what I was looking for.
“Basketball is going to come to an end at some point. Between that tight-knit community that I felt when I got there, between the opportunities that Colgate provides academically and then obviously, athletically, I’m playing for a Patriot League school and we’re going to contend for championships there. That’s what I’m really excited about.”
Brodie is going in undecided but is leaning towards a mathematics or statistics major and a possible career in teaching. It’s a safe bet coaching will be part of her future.
“Even when I’m not the person that’s putting on her shoes and going in between the lines, basketball is always going to be a part of my life and I truly believe that,” Brodie said. “Whether it’s coaching or training or whatever it is – I love it too much to give it up at any part of my life.”
Off the basketball court, Brodie is an officer for Athletes Helping Athletes at South, she is a member of the National Honor Society, and she is secretary of South’s athletic leadership council.
When all is said and done, Brodie’s legacy will certainly include her accomplishments – she leaves South as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,302 points, and she was a two-time all-state and three-time first team All-SOL Continental selection, but it’s about much more than that.
Just ask those who know her best.
“At first when we would be at open gyms, I was honestly nervous as I think other people were because she was so great, especially having to guard her,” D’Orazio said. “But she never said a bad thing about anyone. If you made a mistake, she was the first person to say, ‘You got it next time,’ or ‘You can do this.’
“I think everyone has learned endless amounts of things from spending every day with her on the court. I know that everyone is going to take things that’s she’s done with us for the rest of our lives probably.”
“I feel grateful that I was her coach,” Mattern said. “It’s really hard to imagine high school basketball without her.
“When I look at the things we’ve accomplished and just so many items we’ve wanted to do as a team and we’ve had goals for so long – they occurred when she was on the roster. It’s not a coincidence.”