BY RYAN COBB Sports writer
RUNNING THE OFFENSE — Rome Catholic School senior Megan Melioris makes a move to the basket past Hamilton’s Katie Weeks, left, and Lauren Weeks, 10, during a Center State Conference crossover game earlier this season. Melioris, the team captain for the Lady Redwings, has made 343 points, 333 rebounds, 82 steals and 126 assists during her career at RCS (Sentinel file photo by Stefan Matwijec)
Every team in every sport wants to have an athlete who goes out and gives it their all.
Those players usually bring a leadership presence with them, whether it be vocal or by leading by example.
For the Rome Catholic girls basketball team, senior Megan Melioris does her talking on the basketball court, and her fellow Lady Redwings take note of what she does.
The three-year starter comes from a line of athletes in her family tree, with her father being Rome Catholic athletic director and the baseball coach Joe Melioris Sr. and her brother being RCS graduate Joe Melioris Jr., who led the Redwings baseball team on the mound to a state final appearance in 2008 and is a current member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s minor league organization, the Orem Owlz.
Megan certainly has the athletic drive that runs in her family, being a solid athlete for Rome Catholic in not only basketball but also as a three-year veteran in both soccer as a defender and in softball at the first base position.
"I’d have to give credit for all of it to my dad," she said. "He got me started with athletics, and I just have the drive for it. I just like being a part of the team, and contribute as best I can."
In basketball, Megan has been the quiet threat that most teams have to look out for because she tries to give her teammates every opportunity to score before she does by contributing with lots of assists and pulling in several rebounds. In fact, it wasn’t until this season when she reached a career-high in scoring with 20 points.
During her tenure at RCS, Melioris has grabbed a total of 333 rebounds and has made 82 steals and 126 assists while putting in 343 points and is ranked 29th all-time for the school in scoring.
"She does an excellent job. She’s a smart kid and a smart basketball player," said longtime RCS girls basketball coach Nick D’Argenio. "She does all of the little things well. This year, she’s picked her scoring up and she’s helped a lot. She’s moved to point guard, which is not her natural position, but she’s adjusted because we need more veterans at guard. She’s accepted that role very well," he added.
Melioris, who is the team’s only captain, said she will do whatever is best for the team and was quick to say that everything does not center around her on the court.
"It doesn’t evolve around one person. It takes all five of us," she said. "We have good team chemistry. I’ve been working on getting used to my position. It’s just about confidence. I’d rather be a two-guard because I like to watch other people do things. I don’t pay attention to statistics. Winning as a team is more important."
D’Argenio said Melioris has gotten stronger over the years and has put all of her skills together this season.
"Her skill set has always been there," he said. "She’s just been lacking strength, and she’s lacked confidence over the years. This year, she’s kind of put it all together. She’s got some confidence. She’s got some strength to go ahead and take that skill set, which is one of the best skill sets fundamentally that girls have had coming through this program, and to put it all together."
What has most impressed D’Argenio about her this season has been her leadership role. He said she’s also proven to be a recruiter within the school, convincing at least one classmate to try out for the team so that it could have eight players.
"She’s taken those four freshmen under her wing and made sure they’re not nervous in the game," he said. "She tries to give them the ball in spots where they can do things with it, so they’re not nervous — Kind of been like a big sister to the four of them.
"She’s shouldered a lot of burden with that, convincing Gabby (Domenico) to play so that we could have eight people. That was probably her during soccer season, saying, ‘Come on, you got to play," he added.
When it is all said and done for Melioris at Rome Catholic following graduation, she will look to attend Mohawk Valley Community College in the fall. She has yet to choose a major but said she is leaning toward physical therapy. She added that she has not determined if she will continue to play sports or not because she wants to focus more on her studies.
When her time at Rome Catholic concludes, she does have a message to all that will come after her.
"You can pretty much do anything you set your heart to," she said. "Everyone has their strong points, especially in a team. If each have their strong points, the whole team can be successful."