Classical’s Nina Karlin Is Making Winning a Habit

Nina Karlin
PHOTO COURTESY OF NINA KARLIN

CLASSICAL HIGH GIRLS’ BASKETBALL TAKES ON WEST WARWICK FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21 AT 6:00PM ON YURVIEW, COX CHANNEL 4 IN RHODE ISLAND AND STREAMING LIVE ON YURVIEW.COM

A sea of purple banners fill the Classical High School gym. There is one that hangs on the wall at mid-court, directly above the school’s mission statement. That one is a shrine for those who have scored 1,000 points or more in their high school career at the school.

A long list of boys names fill the left side of the banner. Conversely only a few names – three to be exact – are listed on the right side of the banner, which showcases the girls who have scored more than 1,000. Now, for the first time in 17 years, a new name will be added.

1,000 point banner

On Feb. 11 in the second half of a game against Prout, Classical senior point guard Nina Karlin stole the ball, drove to the basket and, when she hit the layup, the celebration began. Karlin reached a milestone and her personal goal. She had eclipsed 1,000 points in her high school career.

Karlin is just the fourth Classical girl to reach this milestone. Her name will be added right under Joanna Skiba, who was the last girl to score 1,000 wearing a Classical uniform. The year was 2003.

“It feels amazing…a dream come true,” said Karlin. “Coming in as a freshman I never thought I could do that. But working with my coach (Anthony Voccio) and my team it started to become a reality.”

“She is clearly driven. That’s a big component” said Voccio. “She puts a lot of pressure on herself. She sets goal and then she sets ‘stretch goals.’ I just tell her to go out and let things unfold. ”

One of Karlin’s “stretch goals” was to score her 1,000 on a three point shot.

“Freshman and sophomore year I drove to the basket a lot. (Since then) I’ve really worked hard to shoot the ball more. I wanted to score my 1,000 point on a three. I thought that would have been cool,” said Karlin.

Prestige

“That’s not the way it played out, “ said Voccio. “I tell her in basketball and in life that things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes you just have to let things play out. And that’s okay. (Karlin’s 1,000th point) played out great,” said Voccio.

In the second half of a lop-sided game against Prout, Karlin stole a pass, went in for the layup and was fouled on the play. When the ball floated through the net on the layup, the celebration began. Her teammates, along with members of the Classical girls junior varsity team and boys varsity team, stormed the court to congratulate Karlin on her milestone.

“It was a nice little scene of camaraderie and of spirit,” said Voccio.

Karlin reached her goal of scoring 1,000 points in her career, but insists winning games with her team is far more important than individual honors.

“It is much more important to win,” said Karlin. “If we get the wins, I knew from the start everything else would fall into place.”

She has certainly experienced her share of wins wearing a Purple uniform.

She has been a member of the Classical varsity team for four years. Last year as a junior, she helped Classical capture its first (Division II) championship in 39 years. The road to the title was amazing. The fourth seeded Purple knocked off No. 1 Scituate in the semifinals and advanced to the finals where they went on to upset No. 2 Westerly to capture the championship.

Karlin, who earned second team All-State honors, returned to the court this year as a senior and is helping Classical in what could prove to be another banner year. Classical is currently 15-1 in Division II. The Purple’s sole loss this season was a 45-43 point loss to Scituate in a battle of unbeatens on Feb. 13.

“It was a tough loss,” said Karlin. “We had a few injuries and just couldn’t get over the hump in that game.”

Under the banner that serves as home to Classical’s 1,000 point scorers is the school’s mission statement. A portion reads: “Classical encourages students to pursue academic, athletic , artistic and personal growth so that they will experience success in college and universities…”

Karlin has certainly done that. A three-sport athlete who is not only the starting point guard for the basketball team, but also starting goaltender for the Classical soccer team which reached the semifinals. As soon as the basketball season concludes, she will change her sneakers to cleats and head to the softball field where she is the team’s shortstop.

Nina Karlin and team
PHOTO COURTESY OF NINA KARLIN

“I’ve had tons of coaches. I think that’s really helped me with my exposure and experience,” she said. “Also with playing so many sports I can learn how to be coachable and versatile so I am not just a one-sport athlete which has really helped me turn into the player I am.”

She will continue her athletic and academic career next fall at Division I Bryant University. Karlin envisioned playing basketball at the Division II or III level in college, but with assistance from her AAU coaches, combined with participation at Bryant’s summer basketball camps, she is heading to Smithfield in the fall instead. She is following in her older brother’s footsteps by continuing her career at the highest collegiate level. Her older brother Daniel is a Division I athlete who plays football at Duke University.

She plans to study business at Bryant. It’s a perfect fit for Karlin, who has owned her own business for the last eight years.

“I am excited to go to Bryant,” she said. “I want to study entrepreneurship and marketing. “I’ve had my own business for the last eight years – dog walking and boarding. I love dogs. I don’t have any. That’s why I started it.”

Basketball and business are not her only areas of focus. She also has a strong interest in her religion.

“I am Jewish. Being Jewish is very important to me,” she said “Bryant has a Hillel. It’s another thing I wanted in college. I want to have my basketball friends, my Jewish friends….I want many different outlets so I can thrive through college.”

But before heading to Bryant, she has a few more goals to reach at Classical. She has her mind currently set one on thing:

“We want to win the championship,” said Karlin . That’s what’s next for me…for our whole team.”

CLASSICAL HIGH GIRLS’ BASKETBALL TAKES ON WEST WARWICK FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21 AT 6:00PM ON YURVIEW, COX CHANNEL 4 IN RHODE ISLAND AND STREAMING LIVE ON YURVIEW.COM