BETHESDA – Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School guard Caroline Orza is only a sophomore, but she has already amassed a high school career that many players aspire to achieve.
Orza, who averaged 15.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this past season, helped lead the Barons to the state semifinals at Towson University two years in a row.
The sophmore first started playing basketball at home around the age of four, and then started playing on a recreational team in second grade. She played in the recreational league all throughout elementary school and middle school before coming to B-CC and joining the Amateur Athletic Union in high school.
Ryan Ingalls, Orza’s head coach, said that her work ethic is the key to her success.
“She’s very hard working, she always goes 150 percent. That’s not something you ever have to worry about,” said Ingalls. “That is just so important to have a player that goes that hard and kind of sets the tone every game. She does so in practice, in games, even in her schoolwork. She’s pretty much the definition of a student-athlete.”
Her work ethic and determination is apparent just by watching Orza on the court. Ingalls calls her a “multi-faceted” player, someone who can drive to the hoop and hit the big shots from outside.
That dual-threat capability proved invaluable for the Barons in the postseason as B-CC tore through most of its opponents by double-digit margins of victory. Even in B-CC’s state semi-finals matchup against Old Mill High School from Anne Arundel County, Orza registered 21 points and nine rebounds in a losing effort.
Orza said her proudest moment of the season came against Walt Whitman High School in the playoffs. The Vikings entered the postseason as a higher seed than the Barons, but B-CC came away with the resounding 56-35 victory. Orza recorded a double-double with 24 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.
“The first and second time we played Whitman, we lost to them and I feel like they did a good job in defending our team and me in particular,” said Orza. “But then in the playoffs when we played them, I felt like they couldn’t stop our team. I think we just wanted it so much more and I don’t think they were ready for that.”
Ingalls said the Barons rely on Orza to step up and make plays in big games, especially against teams like Old Mill and Churchill. Churchill had entered the playoffs as the number one seed, but the Barons hung on to beat the Bulldogs by one point in an overtime thriller in the 4A West Regional semifinals.
“She’s really showing how much her game has developed and the type of dual-threat that she is,” said Ingalls. “She still hasn’t reached her potential, which is so exciting. We’re excited for the future of the program and what both (Caroline) and the team can do next season. It’s a bright future for the program.”
For Orza, one thing is certain. She will work hard on her craft to continue improving as a player.
“I try to never take any plays off. I always want to be the best person on the court,” said Orza. “I’ve worked really hard to get where I am and I want to keep getting better. When I play basketball and the ball is in my hands, I feel like I can do anything and I love that feeling.”