Alyssa Breunig to play basketball at St. Michael’s

No one was less surprised than Trumbull High girls basketball coach Steve Tobitsch to hear that Alyssa Breunig had been invited to join the St. Michael’s College Purple Knights.

“Alyssa has always been an extremely dedicated member of the team,” Tobitsch said of his 5-10 swing guard. “She has worked very hard at improving her game to achieve her individual goals of playing at the next level.”

No one was happier than Breunig to have the recruiting process over and to have her sights set on finishing her stay at Trumbull High on top.

“I’ve worked hard with my AAU coach Steve Bethke on getting other players more involved,” said Breunig, who saw four seniors graduate from last winter’s 15-5 Eagles’ team that split a pair of Class LL state tournament games. “I’m going to look to be more aggressive with the ball to open up the wings.”

Breunig attended a showcase in Boston her sophomore year and St. Michael’s showed interest.

“They always kept in contact and that was big,” Breunig said of making her choice. “First I spoke with assistant coach Andrea Lozeau and then head coach Shannon Kynoch asked me up for a visit last April.”

St. Mike’s is located in Colchester, Vermont.

“I’ve never been to Vermont. I loved the climate, I loved the coaching staff, I loved everything about the school,” said Breunig, shaking off thoughts of colder winters. “I was nervous meeting the players at first, but they made me feel extremely comfortable, especially the seniors.

“Coach Kynoch told me she was excited about the future of the program and said she wanted me to be a part of it all. She told me: ‘I was a St. Mike’s kid.’ I told her I guess I am.”

How Breunig found out it was a done deal, minus the formality of signing a letter of intent that she did at Trumbull High on Nov. 13, came while playing for Team Connecticut in a tournament in Westport.

“After the game, my teammates came up and were giving me hugs,” Breunig said. “From the look on my face they knew I thought they were crazy. ‘Steve (Bethke) didn’t tell you; Shannon called.”

A point guard on the AAU team, Breuning is looking to play the two or three guard at St. Mike’s, where she is looking to major in journalism with a minor in business.

“Coach Kynoch told me they wanted me to handle the ball and she liked my height and my ability to post up (inside). Fortunately, they have a lot of tall girls on the team so I can still play outside.”

Breunig’s path from freshman at Trumbull to a college recruit wasn’t easy.

“Trumbull has a very good program and Steve (Coach Tobitsch) makes sure you can play defense first,” Breunig said. “As a freshman I wasn’t very mature or have a lot of basketball knowledge.

“I didn’t know where to be or how to stop anyone. I watched and learned and got better as a sophomore. That’s when I realized I could play (at the varsity level). I had to show better court vision and I did that last year. With four senior starters all of a sudden I said, ‘I’ve done this before’; it was a great feeling.”

Breunig is active. She is a vice president of the senior class and a peer leader.

“I loved being involved in school,” she said. “I like helping out and listening to the underclass and letting them know what high school is all about.”

Breunig, who took up volleyball as a second sport and earned All-FCIAC honors for her troubles, is also a student manager on the boys volleyball team.

“I liked volleyball more and more as it went on,” she said. “I love the competition. I could carry what I learned from one sport to the other (slides on defense and in the back row). Because of my height, officials were surprised to see me as a defensive specialist. I think because of my quickness from basketball I was able to get to a lot of spikes.”