Terando Is Hopedale High’s All-Purpose Point Guard

KEN HAMWEY Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
February, 2019
Article Body: 

Gabe Terando is the kind of point guard that basketball coaches would love to have directing their offenses.
The Hopedale High senior co-captain isn’t a prolific scorer but he provides the spark that drives the Blue Raiders’ engine. And, he’s acutely aware that an assist is just as valuable as a field goal and that rebounds and steals matter, too. Last year, he averaged 5 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds per game; led Hopedale in steals; and was second in rebounding. This year, he’s averaging 7.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game.
Coach Tony Cordani is effusive in his praise of Terando, often referring to him as “a great leader’’ and “a player who’s an extension of the coaching staff.’’
A three-sport athlete, Terando was a Dual Valley Conference all-star in soccer and tennis. But, on a hardwood floor, the Hopedale native isn’t afraid to take a back seat and get his hands dirty doing the nitty-gritty chores, like rebounding, getting steals and deflections and diving for a loose ball.
“I like being involved in the extra-effort plays,’’ Terando said. “I focus on a team-first mentality, always striving to pass to an open man when driving to the hoop or to get a steal or a rebound on defense.’’
So far, the Blue Raiders are benefitting from Terando’s efficient style. They’ve got a 10-1 record and have qualified for a tourney berth, which eluded them last year.
“My goals this season are to win the district title, then aim for success in the States,’’ Terando said. “As for my individual objectives, I just want to keep improving and be the best captain I possibly can be.’’
When the Blue Raiders lost their last game of the season last year to Whitinsville Christian by two points, that setback cost them a date in the districts. “That left a bitter taste,’’ Terando noted. “And, it left a chip on our shoulder. We vowed to work hard during the off-season to get back to post-season play.’’
Terando’s style and his on-court strengths are playing a role in his team’s desire to bounce back.
“Gabe is a smart player with excellent court awareness,’’ Cordani said. “He’s a leader on defense, always battling for a loose ball. A solid passer, he’s very good in transition and has become an improved shooter.’’
An aggressive guard who prefers an up-tempo pace, Terando has other strengths that include quickness, athleticism, a coachable nature, and a high basketball IQ. “I’m still working to improve my three-point shot,’’ he noted. “So, I keep focusing on mechanics in practice.’’
That focus paid off handsomely in Hopdale’s game against Sutton in early January. Terando scored 19 points, the most he’s had in a single game. “It was a good achievement for me but I was more interested in our team winning a big game against one of our top rivals,’’ he emphasized.
Terando admires a strong work ethic and he sees that quality in his coach and teammates. “Coach Cordani puts in lots of extra hours so we’re prepared,’’ Terando said. “He’s calm and steady on the sidelines and he’s a terrific motivator. Players like Robbie Siefring (guard) and forwards Dan Liberatore and Sam Morelli are strong competitors. Robbie is a captain who’s tough and hard-working; Dan is a natural scorer who creates open shots for others; and Sam is a great rebounder who can also drive to the basket effectively.’’
As a co-captain, Terando has led by example and by being vocal. “I like to communicate,’’ he said. “And, hustling on the court is a way to lead by example. Being supportive of a teammate is another way to help us to be successful.’’
A National Honor Society student, Terando is leaning towards attending either Worcester Polytech or Renselaer Polytech (Troy, N.Y.) where he’ll major in engineering. “I’d like to play soccer at either of those Division 3 schools,’’ he said.
Terando played four varsity seasons of soccer at Hopedale and alternated at striker and midfielder. He started all four years and was a two-time DVC all-star. Last year, he scored 20 goals and had 13 assists, and for three of his four seasons, the Blue Raiders played in the districts.
A two-year doubles player in tennis, Terando was part of Blue Raider squads that won a pair of district titles but lost in the State finals twice to Weston.
“I started playing soccer and tennis at age five,’’ Terando recalled. “I like the quick pace of soccer and how much endurance is needed. It’s a sport that tests one’s ability to be instinctive and to think ahead.’’
Terando’s ability to anticipate basketball plays was evident in a game he calls his best — the loss to Whitinsville Christian last year. “I was entrusted to lead our offense and I felt I really found my groove in that game,’’ he noted. “I was comfortable controlling the tempo and running the break.’’
Calling his parents (Brian and Michele) role models for their support and encouragement, Terando relies on a competitive philosophy that stresses winning, reaching one’s potential and having fun. “I play hard to win but it’s important to have fun and enjoyment while you’re striving to improve,’’ he emphasized.
Realizing that life lessons can be learned in athletics, Terando points to four that have helped him in his development. “Sports help to teach leadership, how to manage one’s time, to work hard and to overcome adversity,’’ he said. “I’ve worked to overcome my height disadvantage by focusing on rebounding.’’
Terando’s choice as his favorite pro athlete speaks volumes about his approach to basketball. He admires the Celtics’ Marcus Smart. “He doesn’t focus on scoring and he’s a true hustle player,’’ Terando said. “He helps his team in so many ways.’’
So does Gabe Terando.
That’s evident when he talks about his top thrill as a basketball player. “Playing at Draper Gym as a starter and being in a leadership role are what’s memorable,’’ he said.