Fontbonne’s scoring tandem shares spotlight in win over St. Edmund
Last week Fontbonne defeated cross-borough rival St. Edmund Prep, 44-28. The scoring tandem of freshman Noelle Polanco (16 points) and senior captain Aaniya Telford (21 points and 7 steals) recorded a total of 37 of Fontbonne’s 44 points against the Eagles.
Just two weeks ago at home against Cathedral, varsity newcomer Polanco scored a career-best 31 points, and now stands as the team’s second-leading scorer with 72 points. Telford, the team’s leading scorer (80 points), fed the freshman with 12 assists throughout that game. Comparatively, both players are defensive equals, but differ significantly in their offensive style. While Telford intensely pounds the ball right off the dribble with a powerful shot or a hard drive to the basket, Polanco effortlessly cruises down-court for an easy floater or a slicing lay-up.
“To think that Noelle was playing against eighth-graders just a few months ago, and now she’s facing varsity competition is remarkable,” said coach Steve Oliver. “Noelle even surprises me with some of the moves she comes up with. She’s still learning a lot each game and getting better while she does.”
Telford is also Polanco’s “Senior Sister” who also started on the varsity as a freshman in 2018. After a promising freshman season, Telford tore her ACL during the off-season of her sophomore year. After rehabbing from her injury and ready to return in her junior year, COVID-19 shut down the season. Now as a senior captain, Telford is leading the team on the court and encouraging her teammates off the court as well. Besides being the team’s leading scorer, she has become a catalyst by looking to involve more of her teammates on offense.
“She’s learned that she can’t do it all herself and has allowed her teammates to flourish as a captain,” said Oliver. “Aaniya has embraced playing hard for the 32 minutes of the game and will bring that attitude to college. Oneonta, Manhattanville and St. Joseph’s College have shown interest in her to play for them. Once she makes her choice, she wants to study early education.”
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