Bethlehem basketball’s Maren Louridas wants a title before fulfilling future plans

DELMAR – Maren Louridas pushed herself to become a basketball player worthy of a Division I opportunity. During the process of deciding where to go, Louridas realized she wanted to challenge herself far beyond excelling on the hardwood.

Louridas, a 6-foot senior guard at Bethlehem, decided two days shy of her 17th birthday in July the best landing spot for her was playing for coach Tim Taylor at Navy of the Patriot League. Taylor is in his second season with the Midshipmen after previously serving as an assistant at North Carolina.

“It was kind of the intangibles that brought me there. I felt like that is where I needed to be,” Louridas said. “I felt a kindred (spirit) with the people there. The coaching staff is amazing and coach Taylor is great. The girls are amazing on the team. We developed a good relationship. Unfortunately because of COVID, they could not see me play in person. “

Once the staff did see Louridas competing with the Albany City Rocks, they made the offer. In addition to considering several Ivy League schools, Louridas also considered competing for Army.

“Maren has always been a hard worker. She never stops going,” Bethlehem coach Kim Wise said. “She is always working out and playing. She always wanted to play Division I basketball and it has worked out for her. That’s a great thing.”

“I have so much to learn. I’m so excited,” Louridas said.

Louridas has been accepted at Navy, where she plans to study computer science. She carries a 100 average in the classroom and is class president. The senior knows attending a service academy requires showing leadership skills, something she believes have been added to her skills as a basketball player.

“I think the biggest thing for her as a senior is her ability to see other players and help other players,” Wise said. “As a freshman and sophomore, it was more her learning how to go to the basket and put all the pieces together. She is now doing that. She sees her teammates well and creates well.”

“I think I have become the player I needed when I was a freshman,” Louridas said. “When I am interacting with the freshmen now, I think that was me. I am just trying to be the best I can be for them.

“Before, I only really knew how to get open shots for myself. Now I can go to the hoop more and my passing is better. I see the floor more and can help set up my teammates. It is so much more fun to play that way. “

Louridas, in her fourth year with the varsity, is the lead component for a squad currently ranked No. 28 in the latest Class AA state poll. The senior is averaging 15.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.5 steals for the Eagles (10-2 overall).

She says her game has grown over the past couple of years and points to her experience competing for Albany City Rocks coach Tom Huerter on a squad that featured daughters Meghan and Jillian Huerter, Liv Olsen, Natasha Chudy (Saratoga Springs), Michelina Lombardi (Averill Park) and Payton Graber (Schalmont).

“Thankfully throughout the COVID time, I was able to work out with coach Huerter,” Louridas said. “Playing on the team was so valuable. Coach Huerter has such a great mind for the game.”

“She was on a team with some of the best around in the Suburban Council. Getting to play with them all summer definitely helped,” Wise said. “She has gotten a lot stronger herself and improved her game overall.”

Beyond her own improvements, Louridas realizes her value as a leader on a roster filled with younger players is something that can not be quantified. Wise has been impressed with the way the senior has embraced the role.

“Maren is an exceptional captain and a great leader,” Wise said. “She’s very positive with her teammates, but she also shows by example. She has really put all the pieces together for her senior year.”

With a month to go before the start of sectionals, Louridas understands her scholastic career is quickly drawing to a close. Before heading to Navy after graduation, she wants to lead the Eagles to a Section II Class AA championship.

“We are going to do our best and come out to play with the top teams,” Wise said. “Hopefully, we can give them a run.”

“It just makes every single moment that much more intense,” Louridas said. “I really want that sectional title.”

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