Free time is rare luxury for Sarah Marakos.

The Holy Spirit High School point guard is a three-sport athlete (she also plays soccer and does track and field in the spring) who excels at each. The junior is ranked second in her class and is also involved with Student Government, Spirit Committee, Spirit Outreach and is a Student Ambassador.

"She really understands what it means to be a high school student," Spartans coach Larry DiGiovanni said.

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Marakos, who lives in Linwood, admitted that it isn't easy to keep up with her packed schedule.

"There's not much time, but you figure out how to do it all," Marakos said. "I just have to know my priorities and get all my school work done before anything else."

Marakos also has found time to become a leader for the Spartans (13-1), No. 4 in The Press' Elite 11. Marakos anchors a backcourt along with Joanna Persiano and Tenisha Mobley that has driven Holy Spirit's 12-game win streak.

DiGiovanni said Marakos is exactly what a coach wants in a point guard.

"She has a great ability in game situations to get the ball to the right people in the right spots at the right time," DiGiovanni said.

DiGiovanni also said Marakos is like an extension of the coaching staff onto the floor.

"She has a great ability to grasp what we're trying to do on the court," he said.

Marakos has proven herself a well-rounded student academically and on the court. She also proved herself a clutch player Friday, when she hit a game-winning 3-point shot at the buzzer to win over another National Conference contender, Middle Township.

"There was no way it was going in if I didn't shoot it," Marakos said of her thoughts when the ball was inbounded to her with almost no time left on the clock. "I just threw it up there."

It went in, and Marakos preserved the Spartans' win streak.

"I was just happy to win as long as somebody put it in the net," she said.

Snyder one win away

Southern Regional coach Kathy Snyder is one win away from her 500th career victory.

Snyder, who is 499-259 in her 32nd season with the Rams, could reach the milestone today when Southern travels to Toms River East for a 6:30 p.m. game.

Southern (11-5) helped Snyder get within three wins a week ago, but a loss to Middletown South on Saturday kept her one shy of 500.

OLMA, Vineland on roll

Our Lady of Mercy Academy and Vineland have emerged as contenders in their respective National and American Conferences.

OLMA (12-3) has won five of its last six games, including two pivotal wins over two conference favorites, Sacred Heart and Middle Township. The Villagers are led by Taylor Thompson, who averaged about 19 points during the streak.

Vineland (11-3) is on a seven-game win streak, most notably a huge win over Atlantic City last Tuesday.

The win streaks have put both the Villagers and the Fighting Clan at the top of their divisions.

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