“Awesome” moment for Bristol Central senior Brianna Hamel

Bristol Central senior tri-captain Brianna Hamel gets a hug from assistant coach Monica Hayes after getting back on the court.

It has been a rough year for Bristol Central girls basketball.
The same can certainly be said for Ram senior tri-captain Brianna Hamel. Just four games into the season, Central was without its most dynamic player when Hamel blew out her knee. Another surgery awaits for Hamel, but first, she had a special moment on Monday night against Bristol Central.
In a great gesture of sportsmanship, Bristol Eastern head coach Tony Floyd came over to the Central bench before the game and said he wanted to get Hamel into the game.
Hamel not only got in, she started and got to run through the two lines of teammates that all starters run through during pregame introductions.
Hamel walked to a spot underneath the basket. Senior Ravan Rodriguez won the tap, sending the ball to Brianna’s sister, senior tri-captain Meghan Hamel. Meghan passed the ball to Brianna, who laid the ball off the glass and into the basket.
“That was awesome,” Brianna said after the game, a huge smile on her face. “I didn’t know that was going to happen.”

Hamel waits under the basket before the opening tip.

Brianna’s biggest thought when she got the ball, naturally, was don’t miss.
“I was like oh my gosh, don’t miss this,” Brianna said with a laugh.
Brianna Hamel didn’t miss, and Central’s team, coaches and fans rejoiced. Eastern senior tri-captain Diana Wnuk scored the equalizer, then Brianna Hamel exited the game.
“A lot goes to Tony Floyd to allow her to do that,” Central head coach Steve Gaudet said.
Gaudet was thrilled for Brianna Hamel, who was definitely missed.
“She’s a special kid,” Gaudet said.
Brianna Hamel was all over the floor when she played, and Gaudet said she covered up a lot of deficiencies with her athleticism. Brianna didn’t stop contributing to her team after she left the lineup. She also encouraged her teammates from the bench, as could be easily seen during Monday’s game.
“She’s just such a great captain,” Gaudet said.
Brianna Hamel said she was told she can start running again in July. Here’s to a speedy recovery.