20 QUESTIONS: St. John Paul II’s Olivia Bengtson just does it all
By Mike Richard firstname.lastname@example.org
As the years have progressed, so too have the roles senior co-captain Olivia Bengtson has played on the St. John Paul II girls basketball team.
Early on she was a guard, then as graduation eliminated some of the players with more height she was moved under the hoop. However, no matter where she’s found on the basketball court, she has been a continual standout.
“She’s just one of those kids we ask to do a lot,” said third-year varsity coach Mike Tierney. “She’s become that player who has the versatility to be asked to do many things. She can handle the ball, she can shoot the ball and she’s now playing down low for us.”
Versatile is a good word to use to describe Bengtson, who is a center-striker and captain of the Lions soccer team in the fall, and then plays attack/midfield on the lacrosse team in the spring.
However, basketball is the sport which seems to consume most of her time and attention.
“I’ve been playing spring AAU and fall AAU, so it’s pretty much basketball year-round,” said Bengtson, who first got to know Tierney when she played under him with the AAU program beginning when she was a fifth grader.
Tierney’s daughter Jess, also a senior co-captain, has played together with Bengtson for a long time, and the two have proven to be a nice combination on the floor for the Lions.
“They work well with each other,” said the coach. “(Olivia’s) a quiet leader so we don’t get a lot of rah-rah, but she just goes out and does it. She just does everything right.”
Bengtson, who lives in Forestdale, has a sophomore sister, Emily, who is also a member of the Lions squad.
During her freshman and sophomore seasons playing with the St. John Paul II varsity she found herself in the guard position. However, her versatility has moved her around the court wherever she is needed.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing defense,” she said. “I’m not the tallest one out there, so it’s been hard. We don’t have a lot of height this year, so I really think I’ve found my spot playing defense.”
However, when it comes to taking a shot, Bengtson is not shy about that.
In fact, she once nearly brought down the house while playing in a travel game at Duxbury when she was in the eighth grade. A half-court shot that she launched at the buzzer went in for a scintillating game-winner.
“I just chucked it up there and amazingly it went in,” she laughed. “I’ve never worked at it, I just threw it up there thinking it might help us.”
Although she doesn’t regularly show off that long distance shot, she simply goes out and does what’s required for the good of the team.
“She doesn’t complain, she doesn’t ask why,” said Tierney. “She is just a pleasure to coach.”
20 Questions with Olivia Bengtson 1. Favorite subject: Chemistry 2. Favorite book: “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins 3. Favorite food: Buffalo chicken 4. Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans” 5. Favorite TV show: “Hawaii Five-O” 6. Favorite Cape restaurant: The Chart Room 7. Favorite Cape hangout: Sandy Neck Beach in Sandwich 8. Favorite sports team: New England Patriots 9. Favorite athlete: Tom Brady 10. Favorite ‘pump-up” music: “Stronger” by Kanye West 11. Best advice I’ve received: “Always make sure the sports I played were fun. I always want to keep practices and games fun and enjoyable, and never worry too much about a big game.”
12. Person I’d most like to meet: Breanna Stewart, former UConn standout 13. Hobbies and interests: Sports, shopping, painting, cooking 14. Own greatest sports moment: In eighth grade I hit a half-court shot to win the game.
15. Most inspirational person: My dad has always shown me how to work hard and he has been a great example of that for me.
16. Pregame rituals / superstitions: I always have to be wearing a headband when I’m playing.
17. Bucket list place to visit: Bora Bora 18. Biggest sports setback or obstacle: Last basketball season I had mono in the middle of the season. It was really hard for me, but I was able to come back for playoffs.
19. College plans / major: I plan to attend a pre-pharmacy program and eventually earn my doctorate in pharmacy.
20. Advice to young athletes: “It’s not always about how much talent you have, it is about how much effort you put in.”