had just taken a seat on the bench when her coach Jamarra Robinson looked over.
O'Sullivan was crying. It wasn't due to the fact she had fouled out. It was because her team was going to advance in the postseason.
The Centennial (Port St. Lucie, Fla.)
hadn't won a region playoff game since 2004. The 63-51 victory over Osceola (Kissimmee) on Feb. 15, put Centennial in the 9A region semifinals.
Unfortunately, the next game Centennial had its season come to an end as Central (Fort Pierce) scored a 51-47 victory.
A big reason for Centennial's success this season was O'Sullivan, who scored 23 points in the season-ending loss.
The junior shooting guard led the Eagles in scoring (12.2) and steals (1.8) and was near the top in rebound (3.4) and assists (1.9).
O'Sullivan, 16, wrapped up her third year as starter, collecting 6.3 points per game as a freshman and 6.2 points as a sophomore.
She credits her coaches in helping her become a better shooter. But she also dedicates a lot of time in the gym. O'Sullivan can shoot off the dribble, drain a 3-pointer or create her own opportunities. Learn More: Semper Fidelis Athlete of the Month presented by the Marines
"My shot has improved a lot, especially, over this past summer," O'Sullivan said. "I have a quicker release now and my shooting percentage went up."
Robinson, who has coached O'Sullivan for two years, wasn't surprised by how well O'Sullivan played this season. She gained more confidence and become more aggressive as an all-around player.
"She's our leading scorer because most kids go home after practice and crash or do homework," Robinson said. "After she completes her homework, after all that, she gets up more shots. She's kind of like a gym rat. She's always finding ways to get better. That makes her special."
All season long, O'Sullivan came up big for Centennial. But she generally flew under the radar as a player.
"I refer to her as my silent assassin, because in the district championship game she scored 19. And, I promise you, it was probably the quietest 19 points," Robinson said. "She does it where it's a layup here, she'll get some 3s, and the next thing you know she's got 19."
The game before that, O'Sullivan scored a career-high 24 points, going 6-of-12 from 3-point range.
What makes O'Sullivan a unique player is the fact that as a shooting guard she is the team's lockdown defender. She is always assigned to guard the opponent's top scorer. At 5-foot-9, she's a lanky defender who gives good shooters fits.
She'll knock down a big shot on the offensive end and then pick up full-court, smothering defense.
"She's consistent," Robinson said. "She knows she has to score for us, but she also has to defend. She's accepted that role with no hesitation."
O'Sullivan has become a well-rounded basketball player because she plays the sport year-round. When the high school season wraps, the AAU circuit begins. O'Sullivan will be in her fifth year playing for the Florida Comets.
Last summer in addition to playing AAU ball, O'Sullivan joined her high school teams to compete in 40 summer league games and three team camps. That meant O'Sullivan played around 60 games.
Basketball has always been O'Sullivan's sport. She picked up a ball at age 5 and was hooked. When O'Sullivan was 9, she got the chance to play on the Miami Heat court for a contest. Before the Heat players had warm-ups, O'Sullivan was able to meet and give high-fives to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
"After that, I knew I wanted to be a great player like them," O'Sullivan said.
O'Sullivan is also a strong student with a 3.9 grade point average. She enjoys challenging herself in the classroom, taking all honors courses this semester.
She always makes sure to complete her schoolwork, but also leave plenty of time to dedicate to basketball.
"I prioritize everything, because I know studies have to come first," O'Sullivan said. "You have to have grades to play and grades get you to college."
O'Sullivan has been a member of National Honor Society for the past two years. She partakes in volunteer work through NHS, including raising money for leukemia, along with work through her church.
She enjoys volunteer activities with her team basketball, participating in breast cancer walks. During the holidays, she'll help at soup kitchens, serving food and cleaning up.
Despite her busy schedule, she gets out to volunteer about three times per month, usually on Sundays.
"I love it," O'Sullivan said. "It makes me happy to know I'm helping people out."
O'Sullivan is also involved at school with the National Society of High School Scholars and the Allied Health program. If O'Sullivan continues with the program next year, she'll become a certified nursing assistant. Through Allied Health, she has been able to conduct clinicals each week at hospitals and see patients. That's right up O'Sullivan's alley since she would like to be to pursue a physical therapy degree in college.
"I like helping people with their rehab," O'Sullivan said. "I think that would be cool."
O'Sullivan would also like to continue her basketball career at the next level. She would like to stay in Florida and plans on attending a number of camps this summer at the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida to try and attract interest from schools. O'Sullivan believes she's good enough to play at the Division II level. Her coach thinks she can play at the Division I mid-major level for a school such as Florida Gulf Coast.
"I think if she's playing like she's playing with us now and she carries that over to the summer playing with the Florida Comets, I think she will gain some interest from some college coaches," Robinson said.Know an incredible student-athlete who stands out in sports and in life away from competition? Click here to nominate them for a chance to be featured on MaxPreps.