By Marc Raimondi
Tears filled White's eyes and before long she was at the Grogan family's house in Bayside mourning with Kaitlyn's friends and family.All of a sudden, basketball – something that has been an enormous part of White's life since birth – became trivial. Returning to the court has been difficult for the Stanners' senior leader, but she's getting through.”It's an eye-opener. It makes you realize that you can't take anything for granted,” said the Manhattan College-bound White, whose father, Kevin, and both siblings, Kevin Jr. and Erin, played college basketball. “I still want to keep the team going. It's hard to keep the team going when sometimes I don't even feel like going anymore.”Grogan's death represents the absolute rock bottom of emotion for White, a quiet, soft-spoken girl with a smooth jumper and unparalleled fundamentals on the court. It'll be the scarring memory that's forever etched on her psyche.But there was a peak to this Grand Canyon-sized valley earlier this season. On Feb. 9, Molloy became the first CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens team in eight seasons to defeat perennial national powerhouse Christ the King. White had 14 points in that game after sitting out the entire second half in the teams' first meeting Jan. 12. Then-coach John McGlynn said he wanted to go with a “faster lineup” at the time.”That was ridiculous,” sophomore Kelly Guerriero said. “I don't know why she didn't play.”Four days later, McGlynn resigned under pressure from team parents, who were unhappy about Molloy's direction. For one day, White and her teammates thought their once-promising season would be canceled. They were crushed. But JV coach Dom Cecala offered to take over the varsity and head both teams the rest of the year.Since then, Molloy has been successful. A win Wednesday against Mary Louis would have given the Stanners the No. 2 seed and a bye in next week's Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan playoffs. White's composure in the face of adversity is one of the biggest reasons why.”If there's a kid that can get through it, Kerri White's the kid,” Cecala said. “I would take 12 Kerri Whites every year. Those are the type of kids that you want.”Added Guerriero: “She's such a good leader and captain of our team. She's the voice of us. I love playing with her…Kerri, I don't know how she does it. She just stays strong.”In Molloy's first game since Grogan's death, White had 13 points against Bishop Ford Monday. After a moment of silence, the team honored their classmates' memory by each wearing an armband and socks that read “Katy #33″ on it. Senior Molly Dreyer was also a close friend of Grogan's.”A couple of the girls knew her,” White said. “But in my eyes and in Molly's eyes, we want to win for Katy.”Next up is the Diocesan playoffs, a chance at the CHSAA state tournament and the hopes for a place at the state Federation tourney in Glens Falls.”In the beginning (of the year), we weren't together at all,” White said. “Now we're starting to really come together. But then the death of Katy and everything – it's a little rough. But the team's been very supportive through everything. I think that it could help us come even closer together.”Ever the optimist.Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.