Briana Audet is a soccer player, first and foremost. While at Lawrence Middle School she was just hanging around, minding her own business in gym class, with basketball never on her mind. The problem was, Audet was too good to ignore.
In 7th grade her gym teacher, Jaime Land, was also the girls’ basketball coach. After watching Audet play in class, she encouraged her to go out for her team.
Land also told assistant coach Lisa Quarry (now the head coach) about her discovery, and Quarry would see Audet in the hallways and encourage her.
In effect, she became one of Lawrence’s most intensely recruited girls’ basketball players to have never played organized ball.
“I never played before that,” she said.
Audet injured herself during soccer, however, and was in a boot for four months, killing any chance at hoops that year. Land and Quarry persisted and encouraged her to at least try out in eighth grade to see what she thought.
“They reached out again, and my best friend was on the team and she was like ‘C’mon, you gotta play,’” Audet recalled. “I ended up trying it and I loved it. It was a sport I had wanted to try and I ended up kind of being decent at it. I stuck with it and I actually fell in love with the game. I love getting out on the court with everyone and just playing.”
The best part of the story is that she plays well, and will be an integral part of the Lawrence High varsity in this, her senior year.
Audet has led the Cardinals in 3-pointers each of her three varsity seasons, hitting 26 as a freshman, 27 as a junior and 31 last year.
She was also the team’s leading scorer as a freshman and junior, and averaged around 9 points per game last year.
“I would say it probably started my freshman year,” Audet said of her 3-point prowess. “I learned about myself in eighth grade; how I was capable of shooting. I started working at it in the off-season. I would go to a gym with my friends and just shoot around for a couple hours, I started to become comfortable and really working at it. I know three-pointers are probably my strong suit. That’s what a lot of teams lock me down on.”
Coach Antonio Stapleton is well aware of that, and realizes Audet needs to expand her game this year.
“I saw she had some potential, her shots were consistent as a freshman because no one was really focusing on her, per say, at that time,” Stapleton said. “Now she has to mature, she’s the focal point. How can she manage to get her shot off or get her teammates involved?”
According to Audet, the coach began working on that aspect last year. Stapleton would teach the guard how to play more in the paint to keep opposing defenders honest, and also encouraged her to move more without the ball in order to free herself up for an open look.
The player has continued to work on that this year, noting that “teams know my game.”
“Last year I was kind of part of the point guard situation and I had the ball in my hands a lot more,” Audet said. “But we have another girl, Sanaa Patterson, who’s really good on the ball and with the ball handling.”
“I’m gonna look to give her the ball more so I can get on the outside, and maybe even get in the paint a little just to try and use a post move and bring assets of the game I haven’t used before,” she said.
Stapleton, who did not see Audet in the preseason until Jan. 19 when LHS began practice, hopes that she continues her steady progress.
“In the three years I had her she’s matured a lot,” the coach said. “She is more under control at this point. She was a little frustrated at the defensive attention last year, but she just adapted and figured things out. She’s more of a spot up shooter, but I will definitely help her along in terms of creating her own shot this year.”
Although her main focus in the summer was on soccer, Audet still logged some basketball hours.
“I have a friend that lives right down the street, we would go up to the park a couple times a week, shoot around, play one on one sometimes,” she said. “We didn’t have much else to do. With everything going on there wasn’t really a lot of places to go. So it was nice doing that. But a lot of my time was spent getting ready for soccer.”
No one can blame her for that. Audet decided to continue her soccer career at Maryland’s McDaniel College last March. It allowed her to attain a lifetime goal.
“Ever since I was little I always kind of looked up to those girls and it was always kind of a dream of mine to play college soccer,” she said. “I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to go or anything. I really just wanted to play and I always knew that growing up.”
Briana chose McDaniel for both soccer and athletics, as she plans on majoring in kinesiology with thoughts of going into physical therapy.
For now, Audet is happy to get back to playing basketball one last time. Despite the fact there will be no fans in the stands this winter; she looks forward to the campaign. Especially after Lawrence’s soccer season got cut short due to Covid.
“I’m just geared up for the season, I’m ready and I’m excited,” she said. “Our mindset this year is play every game like it’s gonna be your last because you never know. I learned from soccer you have to get out there and play every game like it’s your last because it can end any minute. And for us, it did.”
Fortunately, Audet has one more high school season to play, thanks to a couple of determined middle school coaches.
It would not be a surprising career path, considering everything Audet has had to deal with over the years.
“I’ve had so many injuries,” she said. “I’ve learned to never back down after an injury. A lot of times after I have an injury my mindset is to always just get better after it.”
When asked if she was injury prone, Audet laughed.
“I wouldn’t say that,” she said. “But, I’ve had my fair share. I’ve had ankle injuries, knee injuries, elbow injuries, concussions, I’ve had everything.”
Everything but major surgery, thankfully. Her most serious injury came as a freshman, when she suffered a medial collateral ligament injury during club soccer. It was during rehabilitation that the PT light went on.
“I just loved their attention to the injury and their main goal was to always help you get back on the field,” Audet said. “They took time to know you personally and see what you could do and what you couldn’t. They worked with you day in and day out, one-on-one, and they put in a lot of time and effort with everyone who comes in.
“After I saw what they could do I really fell in love with everything in that field. I really just want to help others get back to what they want to do, and help with their recovery.”