Basketball is a family affair for Erin Gallela.
The Worcester State University freshman plays for the Lancers along with two of her sisters.
Her older sister Karalyn Gallela is a senior at the school, while her twin sister Lizzy is of course a freshman as well.
The twins have played together since the first grade.
“We grew up watching both our older sisters Olivia and Karalyn play,” Erin Gallela said. “I think my sisters and parents inspired me to pick it up and then I just loved it.”
The two played together all the way to High School, where they dawned Tewksbury Redmen jerseys.
During that time, the two played all four years on Varsity. Lizzy Gallela was a two-time All-Star and a one-time All-Conference selection, while Erin Gallela was a Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star. The two also shared the title of Player of the Year in their senior season.
And to top things off, they led the Redmen to their farthest run since the early 1980s by reaching the MIAA North Sectional Finals.
“Playing with Erin when we were kids was awesome, but playing in high school was probably the best moments with her,” Lizzy Gallela said. “We made history in our town and I couldn’t picture sharing that moment with anyone else.”
“Playing for Tewksbury was special. It was a great experience being on the team and getting to play with some of my best friends,” Erin Gallela said. “I’ll always look back on my times of playing basketball at Tewksbury as some of my favorite moments.”
The two made plans to attend separate colleges, with Erin Gallela thinking Fitchburg State and Lizzy Gallela considering Framingham State. But after considering how close to home Worcester State is, the decision was obvious.
“It’s close enough to home for my parents and grandmother to always be able to make it to the games,” Erin Gallela said. “Which is perfect because they’re our biggest fans.”
Both of the Gallela’s were recruited to play for the Lancers by Worcester’s women’s basketball coach Karen Tessmer.
“We were familiar with the Gallela family. I also knew their AAU coach who always had good things to say,” Tessmer said. “I watched them play and felt like they would be a great match for the team.”
Erin Gallela went on to break into the staring lineup as the team’s point guard in just the second game of the season after dropping 17 points off the bench in the opening game.
“It’s not easy as a freshman to play point guard, but from when we started on Oct. 15, through the end of February, she improved her on-court leadership and presence,” Tessmer said. “She adapted well and could take it to the basket and look for an outside shot. She added her offensive point production to everything we expect out of a point guard.”
The guard led the Lancers to a 19-9 record, and an 8-4 MASCAC Conference record that took them all the way to the MASCAC Championship where they fell to No.1 seed Framingham State.
At the end of her freshman campaign, the Tewksbury product was named to the New England Women’s Basketball Association All-Region All-Rookie second team after a season that included being a two-time Worcester Area College Basketball Association Rookie of the Week and a one-time MASCAC Rookie of the Week selection.
“I am so beyond proud of everything she has done this year and I’m so happy I got to watch it all go down. She really stepped into her role as starting point guard so quickly and you would have never known she was only freshman,” Lizzy Gallela said. “Whether it was watching from the bench or being on the court with her, I was just happy to see all her accomplishments. She has worked so hard and deserves everything she has gotten. I can’t even imagine what she is gonna accomplish in the next three years.”
But the most important takeaway from her first year was that she got to play with her twin sister again and a final time with her older sister Karalyn. Erin Gallela averaged 27.1 minutes per game with 6.9 points scored per game, while Lizzy took the court for 14.4 and dumped in 5.5 points per game.
“I love playing with Lizzy. We’ve been playing together literally since we started and have practiced and improved together,” Erin Gallela said. “Being on the court together is just a great experience. I’m glad we both chose Worcester State because I can not imagine playing against her.”
“We’re happy to have the Gallela family here at Worcester State,” Tessmer said. “I expect both of them to be contributors for the rest of their careers.”