A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
Sarah Karpell is a leader. The floor general leads by example every game with via her workmanlike approach to the game. No matter the situation, Sarah plays under control offensively. Defensively, she’s relentless. She smothers her opponent throughout the game. You can tell she takes that side of the floor serious and personal.
Like a virus, her approach to the game infected her teammates in the best way possible. They defend at an elite level across the board. The offense runs like a 1972 Gran Torino. They are smooth. It all starts at point at St. John’s Vianney.
Recently we sat down with Karpell to discuss what makes St. John Vianney click, her commitment to Fordham, playing alongside Tori Hyduke in the spring and more. - By Christian Mordi / @thedribbledrop
TheDribbleDrop: Let’s talk about this off season. This spring you played for the Jersey Shore Elite, which is ran by Mary Beth Chambers. Tell me about your experience.
Sarah Karpell: In the off season I played for Mary Beth. We worked a lot on my offensive game. We worked a lot of my perimeter shooting. I also continued to build on my game defensively. Working with Mary Beth is good because it allows me to hear a different voice than my mom as my coach.
She says a lot of things my mom says but in a different way. Sometimes hearing things twice but in a different way makes things easier to understand.
TheDribbleDrop: One of your teammates was Rumson-Fair Haven guard Tori Hyduke. How was it sharing the backcourt with her?
Sarah Karpell: Tori is one of my best friends on and off the court. Playing with her this summer I learned a lot. She’s such a good offensive player. I picked up a lot things through observation. I’m sure that has gone both ways.
TheDribbleDrop:Your freshman year you won a state title. Last year you guys made a deep run as well. What did you learn from your experiences the past two years that have allowed this team to get off to this hot start?
Sarah Karpell: My freshmen year we won everything. We lost only like one game. I didn’t know what it was like to lose until my sophomore year. I went into my sophomore year expecting it to be the same and it wasn’t. It was pretty upsetting at times. This year I have a different mindset. I took what I learned from last year and bought it into this year.
TheDribbleDrop: How would you describe St. John’s Vianney basketball?
Sarah Karpell: Defense. That is what we coach up everyday in practice. It’s cliche, but “offense wins games but defense wins championships.”
TheDribbleDrop: So you play for one of the best coaches in the state in Dawn Karpell. For many, the challenge of playing for their mom would be overwhelming, but it looks like you handle it just fine. Tell me what it’s like playing for one of the best coaches in the state.
Sarah Karpell: I really like it a lot. It’s not something a lot of people get to experience. I have learned a lot from her and we are really close because of this. Sometimes it can be a bit hard to come off the court and look at your mom but she’s the coach. I have learned to keep those things separate.
Best piece of advice she gave me was to learn how to play through mistakes. To just play. It’s always another play in basketball.
TheDribbleDrop: I recently interviewed your coach and talked about the contrasting styles between your first year here and your second year here. As a player, which style or tempo did you prefer?
Sarah Karpell: My freshman year we had Kimi, so we played a slower pace. This year we have a lot of really good athletes across the board so we try to take advantage of that. I prefer the style we play now on both sides of the ball.
TheDribbleDrop: If you were to highlight one facet of your game that makes you stand out, what would it be and why?
Sarah Karpell: Probably my defense. I take a lot of pride in that. I work hard to stop the other team player I’m against. It’s what we coach up here and that’s what I work hard to do every game.
TheDribbleDrop: Today you played in the Coaches Choice USA showcase against St. Anthony’s (PA). Describe the pace of the game.
Sarah Karpell: It was a crazy game. It was pretty hot in the gym but we pushed through it. We wanted to come out and prove to people that we are number one in the state for a reason.
TheDribbleDrop: You recently committed to Fordham. Tell us the deciding factors to continue your career there.
Sarah Karpell: I love the coaching staff there. I love the school and the academics. It was a great for me. I didn’t want to wait I just wanted to move forward.
TheDribbleDrop: What’s a personal and team goal for your junior year?
Sarah Karpell: A personal goal for me is to be a great point guard. To do whatever coach asks me to do to help us get better each day and continue to win. A team goal is to win Shore and to win T.O.C.