Sophomore Selena Santiago leads Egg Harbor Township over Oakcrest - pressofAtlanticCity.com: Sports

Sophomore Selena Santiago leads Egg Harbor Township over Oakcrest - pressofAtlanticCity.com: Sports

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Sophomore Selena Santiago leads Egg Harbor Township over Oakcrest

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Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 12:01 am | Updated: 1:09 am, Thu Dec 23, 2010.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Selena Santiago always seems to be on the move.

She doesn't stop moving when she's on the basketball court for Egg Harbor Township High School. She's constantly shifting her feet and putting her hands in opponents' faces.

Off the court, she's running past her friends as she shouts to them.

No matter where she is, the sophomore usually leads the way for the Eagles.

She's in front of fast breaks, finishing plays or finding her teammates with no-look passes. Santiago displayed all of these skills in Tuesday's 62-23 win over Oakcrest (0-2).

She finished with 17 points, eight steals, seven rebounds and six assists.

"We move the way she moves," EHT coach Karen Shutz said. "She gets us going."

Santiago started basketball when she was 3 when her father Ervin Santiago took her to her first clinic in Williamstown. He's taken her to clinics and tournaments ever since to help the 15-year-old get better.

Santiago said it doesn't matter how much the clinics cost, she was there.

"I love basketball," said Santiago, 15, who also plays AAU in the summer. "It's my life."

Santiago doesn't feel out of place as the only underclassmen in the starting five for EHT.

She's earned the right to be there.

"I think it's a privilege. It shows that I work hard," Santiago said. "If I didn't or I messed up, (Shutz) would take me out."

Santiago has looked up to senior Gina DiDomenico since she arrived at Egg Harbor Township. The two grew close quickly and consider each other best friends now.

Santiago watched DiDomenico on the court as she led the offense last year. Santiago is this year's starting point guard and gets to find her friend open.

In Tuesday's win over Oakcrest, Santiago led the team with 17 points and DiDomenico had seven. Their roles were reversed in the season opener where DiDomenico had 17 and Santiago had three points.

"I am pretty sure we're going to work well together as a team," DiDomenico said. "We're really good friends, have really good chemistry. That will lead to most of our success."

Their experience and talent has the Eagles feeling they are in for a greater season than last year when they lost in the first round of the South Jersey Group IV playoffs.

EHT has four seniors and one sophomore, all returning starters.

Santiago and DiDomenico lead the guards with their solid ball handling and grasp of where their teammates are on the floor.

Karen Chikezie provides good post play. She's averaging 11 rebounds a game through the first two games.

Rachael Scheiter and Laura Phillips complement the team well. Scheiter is a swing player who provides balance on the court. They added 13 and seven points against Oakcrest, respectively.

"We were together all summer and outside of basketball, they are together 24/7," Shutz said. "Having so many seniors who grew up together and know each other so well will only help us."

EHT's (2-0) balance showed in the season opener. Even though Santiago wasn't dropping buckets, the rest of the team rallied around it. Phillips hit a basket late in the fourth quarter to tie Atlantic City and eventually beat the Vikings 43-39 in overtime.

"Even though we might feel weary, we can still pull it out in the end," DiDomenico said. "We're still a good team even if one person might not be contributing. We can still pull it together."

As Santiago chased down the hall after her friends on Tuesday evening, the rest of her teammates only laughed. This was Santiago all the time.

She's constantly moving, constantly talking and always on the go.

"She acts like a sophomore," Shutz said. "But she doesn't play like one."

Her attitude is about as high as she is quick.

"I think we're going to go all the way this year," Santiago said.

Contact Susan Lulgjuraj:

609-272-7187

slulgjuraj@pressofac.com

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