Vivica Bretton an ultimate leader for Lourdes girls basketball team

Vivica Bretton has emerged this season as one of the top girls basketball players in southeastern Minnesota. The Lourdes senior has shown an all-around game on a team that has also excelled.

Lourdes vs. Farmington Girls Basketball Rotary Holiday Classic
Lourdes' Vivica Bretton (22) pulls up for a shot during a Rotary Holiday Classic girls basketball game against Farmington on Dec. 30, 2022, at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo

ROCHESTER — Todd Greguson considers there to be three pillars to this year’s Rochester Lourdes girls basketball team.

They are guard Emily Bowron, forward Vivica Bretton and center Ella Hopkins. All are seniors, all are talented, all are top-notch leaders and all will play college basketball next year.

Bowron is headed to Division III Gustavus Adolphus College, Bretton to Division II Winona State University and Hopkins to Division I Gonzaga University.

But when first-year Eagles head coach Greguson considers who’s most kept this season humming — Lourdes with a 22-4 record and one of the favorites to win the Section 1AA title — he points immediately to Bretton.

“Vivica is the glue to this team; she really is,” Greguson said. “She leads us in so many different ways. She leads by example and she is vocal. Plus, the little kids look up to her like crazy. Vivica is always the first one over to slap them high fives. It’s cute to see.”


Like Bowron and Hopkins, it’s been known for a long time that Bretton has special talent. All three were getting playing time as freshmen and doing it that season on a team that was ranked No. 1 in the state and led by current University of North Carolina star Alyssa Ustby.

Bretton was regarded then as an excellent defender whose offensive game had a ways to go.

In fact, the same was true of her as a sophomore and a junior.

But after last season, with All-State point guard CJ Adamson graduating and taking her 19 points per game and elite ball handling with her to Augustana University (Sioux Falls, S.D.), Bretton knew that there was going to be major slack to pick up.

So, the 5-foot-8 strong and quick forward went to work.

“I knew I was going to have to take on a bigger role,” said Bretton, who averaged 10 points and six rebounds per game last season. “Coach said that I was going to need to work on my offense. So, every day last summer, I worked on it, learning how I could create shots for myself and getting a lot of shots up.”

There was also a big investment in ball handling. The family driveway was a favorite place to set up camp, Bretton placing cones a few feet away from each other, then continually weaving around them with ball-handling drills.

That went on all summer and into the fall. Also mixed in were steady trips to the Rochester Athletic Club to get up more shots, as well as Bretton playing AAU basketball.


After many months in her basketball “labs,” what has emerged is one of the more complete players in southeastern Minnesota.

Bretton heads into this week’s Section 1AA playoffs averaging 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. No. 2-seeded Lourdes hosts No. 15 Lewiston-Altura at 7 p.m. Thursday in a first-round game.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Lourdes girls basketball
Lourdes’ Vivica Bretton runs through a line of teammates as they finish warm-ups before a girls basketball game against Zumbrota-Mazeppa on Jan. 23, 2023, at Zumbrota-Mazeppa Schools in Zumbrota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Bretton isn’t just scoring more, she’s doing it incredibly efficiently. A once suspect shooter, Bretton is now as dependable as they come, hitting a rare 55% of her field-goals tries, including an impressive 39% on 3-pointers.

As for all of the work she put into her ball handling, that has also richly paid off. Bretton and Bowron, who is fast and skilled, have assumed the bulk of the press-breaking duties and have made Lourdes difficult to bother.

“I feel like Emily and I work really well together,” Bretton said. “Emily is the primary point guard ball handler. But when I get a rebound, I can take the ball up the court, get to the hoop strong and feel confident. It’s fun to see all of the work I’ve put in come into use.”

As much as Greguson appreciates Bretton’s basketball skills and her lights-out defense and rebounding, what he’s most fond of is her personality and character.

This has been a magical first season for the coach, and that’s thanks especially to his seniors — Bretton, Bowron, Hopkins and defensive menace Grace Skinner.

Bretton has been as vital a piece to that magic as anyone.

Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or
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