Summer Crilley jokes that she was forced to pick up a basketball.

Her three older brothers gave her no choice.

Crilley, a Holy Spirit High School senior, comes from a basketball family. Her brothers – Jimmy, 31, Tim, 27, and Brian, 24 - all played the sport.

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"I grew up watching them," she said. "They taught me a lot. I always get told I shoot and play like a boy. I guess that's a compliment. I got that from them."

Crilley, 17, is one of the Cape-Atlantic League's top players. She is averaging 17.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.7 steals.

The Spartans are the defending CAL champion. Despite having graduated several players from last season's team, Spirit is 7-1 and again a CAL contender.

The Spartans will play Cherry Hill East at 11 a.m. Saturday and Holy Cross at 7 p.m. Sunday in the 97.3 ESPN Girls Basketball Shootout at Holy Spirit. The showcase event will feature several of New Jersey's top girls teams.

Crilley lives in Absecon. She hopes to play basketball in college. She has not yet made a choice but is considering several schools, including West Chester University and Albright College in Pennsylvania.

In a telephone interview Tuesday night, Crilley spoke about a number of topics, including the origin of her first name.

On being the youngest in her family and growing up with three older brothers: It was interesting. I like having brothers.

It was crazy and loud, to say the least. Once I got into high school, we got really close. They're my biggest fans.

On her ability to score points in basketball: I always liked offense better, so I really worked on that. I hated defense until last year (laughs). Scoring is more fun.

On the Spartans' success despite having lost several players from last year's team: I knew this year would be more difficult because we lost so many talented players. But my team has stepped up a lot. We're a whole new team, but it's like we're just as talented as we were last year. It's been pretty fun.

On her school: I love Holy Spirit. I'm its biggest fan. I preach it. It's a close community. Everyone there is like a family. Everyone there is friends.

It's a great environment.

On what she does to relax from basketball and school: I'm usually sleeping or napping. I like to sleep (laughs). I'm involved a lot with my school - prom committee, spirit committee.

On her first name: I love my name. I don't like always getting asked, 'Is that your real name?' People don't believe me.

I was born in August of '96 and Summer Sanders was winning in the swimming Olympics. My mom was a big fan, and I was born in the summer, so it worked out.

On the career she wants to pursue: I've thought about that forever. I want to be a special education teacher or anything teacher. When I was in the eighth grade at (Emma C. Attales Middle School in Absecon), I broke my hand during basketball season.

I couldn't do gym class, so I got to help with the special-needs kids during my gym class.

I really loved being an advocate for them.

Contact Michael McGarry:




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