Lauren Cannatelli understands there are times she has to be awake until 11 p.m. during the week to complete her homework.
Of course, the Lakota West girls’ basketball standout also has to carve out time after Saturday afternoon games for her studies too.
How much free time remains during the week? Not much.
“I would suppose she is not always getting the amount of sleep everybody else is getting,” Lakota West coach Andy Fishman said. “Her academic load is just off the chart.”
The reasons for Cannatelli’s discipline and time investment becomes clear when one realizes her priorities are of utmost importance. And that includes keeping a promise she made to herself as a freshman to finish in the top 25 of her senior class.
Cannatelli is ranked No. 18 in a class of 540 and she has a 4.4 grade-point average, according to guidance counselor Judy Williams.
Cannatelli, who signed to play basketball at the University of Dayton in November, has four Advanced Placement classes and one honors class.
“Lauren has a great desire to improve herself,” said her Senior Advanced Composition teacher Ian Avery. “She expects the best of herself – whether the venue be on the basketball court or the classroom.”
Not only has Cannatelli excelled in the classroom but she joined elite company in the Lakota West girls’ basketball program last week when she became just the third member of the 1,000 career points club.
Cannatelli, 17, made a 3-pointer in the third quarter against Oak Hills Dec. 3 to raise her scoring total to 20 points for the night and 1,001 for her career. Cannatelli knew she was two points away to start the second half, but wanted to surpass the one-thousand mark.
She came off a double screen and received a pass from junior guard Nia Staples to make the trey at the top of the key. The game stopped and she was presented the game ball which now sits on her desk at home.
“I was just extremely happy and thankful that I had this team to celebrate this with,” Cannatelli said. “I couldn’t wait to take the ball up to my family.”
Cannatelli is also thankful for the support Fishman and the assistant coaches gave throughout her career. Fishman told Cannatelli that same day she was going to get the milestone.
“It was an awesome moment,” Fishman said. “I’m so happy I had an opportunity to be a small part of it.”
Cannatelli joined former Lakota West standouts Amber Gray (1,931 points) and Alexis Rogers (1,025 points) as the only players to reach 1,000 career points since the program started in the 1997-98 season.
Fishman, who has been the Firebirds’ coach since the start of the program, is continuously impressed by Cannatelli’s academic ability and her success on the court. In fact, he says he hasn’t had another player in his coaching career with a combination of such significant academic and athletic success.
Williams said Cannatelli is “one of our finest” students at Lakota West and she has been a leader in the building with helping others.
“I just can’t say enough good things about her,” Williams said.
Fishman said Cannatelli also holds herself to a high character standard and she is a model example for others.
“Probably her greatest accomplishment is she is a really good person,” Fishman said.