It’s basketball season, and Maureen Hill is on the move.

This year is her first as head varsity coach for the regional high school girls’ basketball team, but she’s still coaching the middle school girls’ travel team that last year went 23-2 and made the state tournament finals. Afternoons are packed with basketball practices as she zips back and forth between the high school and the middle schools for drills and scrimmages.

Though Hill has been involved with the travel program for years, the varsity job is the newest stage in her storied hoops career, which began almost on a whim.

Hill grew up in Winthrop, Mass., and in seventh grade, she and her best friend decided to try out for their junior high team, figuring that because they were “kind of tall,” (Hill is six feet tall), they might have a shot.

“We got to the tryouts, and [the coaches] said, okay, everyone do layups, and we thought, oh my God, we have no idea what a layup is,” she recalled. “Needless to say, both of us got cut.”

She and her friend spent the next year training and playing as much as they could, in the process learning what a layup was. The next year, they made the team. By 10th grade Hill was hooked on the game, and was set to play for Winthrop High’s junior varsity team before Steven Tyler intervened. The night before Winthrop’s annual rivalry game against Revere High School, the team’s starting center went to an Aerosmith concert and missed practice. The coach benched his starter for missing practice. Hill started varsity, scored 11 points to lead the team to victory, and kept the starting spot for the rest of her high school career. By her senior year, she had scored more than 1,000 points and led the Lady Vikings to a 23-1 season and an Eastern Massachusetts championship title. The Boston Globe named her division two player of the year.

As a senior she was recruited heavily by college programs, and had her sights set on Brown University. Her athletic skills and grades were on par with Bruin standards, but her SAT scores were borderline, so making the team wasn’t a given. The day before Brown was set to make its final recruiting announcements, the team’s assistant coach called Hill and said that after talking with the admissions department, she wasn’t going to make it. Hill called the one school that had kept in touch after she had said she was focusing on Brown: Lafayette University, a division one school in Pennsylvania, and she committed to the Leopards.

The Brown head coach called the next day with an offer — there had been a mistake in the recruiting office. But Hill was already on track for Lafayette.

“It ended up being the best team for me,” Hill said. “Things work out for the best.” She still holds Lafayette’s career record for scoring (1,813), as well as the points season record (626). Lafayette won back-to-back league titles while she was on the team.

After college, Hill played for two years in Helsinki, Finland, for the Pussihukat basketball club.

“It was similar to what European basketball is now, a lot of outside shooters,” she said. “They don’t play an aggressive, physical style. It’s like hockey over there, with more finesse.” At the time, the Finnish clubs were allowed to have just one foreign player (larger clubs in Italy and Spain were allowed more imports). Hill’s American-bred style of play again put her at the top of the pack for scoring.

While in Finland, Hill got an initial taste of coaching, organizing clinics and running drills with the younger clubs that are part of Pussihukat. After returning to the U.S., she spent time at Emerson College as a coach, but then found her way to the Vineyard and the basketball community here.

Women’s basketball these days is “definitely more physical than when I played,” she said. “The skill level has really improved a lot; it’s a lot faster.”

Both of Hill’s daughters also play basketball, although they came to the sport on their own.

“We always said we’re not going to force it on them,” Hill said of her and husband Brad’s decision. But one day several years ago at the West Tisbury town playground, older daughter Erin spotted a lone basketball and started playing with it. Erin made varsity as a freshman last year and was a league all-star. Younger sister Devin, now in seventh grade, accompanied her mother to travel games as a kindergartner and began playing soon after.

The varsity team this year is a mix of veterans and newcomers representing all grades. Hill is joined by assistant Asil Cash, and the duo are hoping to “make some noise in the basketball community on the Vineyard.”

The Vineyarders are 5-1, fresh off wins in the annual holiday Stripes Tournament on Cape Cod, where they defeated Mashpee and Barnstable. The Vineyard held off a late Barnstable rally to lock up their final victory and an overall tournament title.

League play, typically the most challenging part of the varsity schedule, begins in January.

“No matter who you play, it’s always hard,” Hill said.