A “Rebuilding Year” for the Lady Red Hawks

With Strong Leadership, ACIT Girls Basketball Shoots for a Season of Growth

The Lady Red Hawks return after a COVID affected 2021 season. The 2021 season was their first losing season since 2013 with a 4-10 record. Like many other sports teams, COVID-19 took a toll on the girls basketball team. Coach Jackie Siscone, entering her third year of coaching the girls varsity basketball team, says that the team unity is at its strongest this year. One key player that leads the team is senior Grace Speer who will be making her college basketball debut next year at Florida Institute of Technology.

“I can’t say enough about Grace Speer, she is a natural leader… She’s almost functioning as a coach as well as a player… helping the younger, less experienced kids throughout practice… Grace has really been patient and she leads by example,” says Coach Siscone.
Speer is a two-year captain for the team. She has set a lot of high expectations for herself to prepare for playing at the collegiate level.
“I think my main goal for the season is to prepare myself for college and I know the best way for me to do that is to increase my ball pressure and my defense this year. I know that I am going to be playing a lot of faster girls when I go to college, and I feel like there are a lot of girls in the CAL that will put me up to that pressure,” says Speer.
Speer has been the starter on the ACIT girls basketball team since her freshman year, and is coming into her senior year with plenty of experience that she can pass on to her teammates.
“Veronica Rodriguez, who is a co-captain, has been a great vocal leader… both of them are extremely hard workers so they lead by example,” says Coach Siscone.

Matthew Cirigliano and Spencer Partridge

Veronica Rodriguez is a junior entering her third year on varsity. Veronica and Grace have formed a great bond and have developed being the two leaders of the girls basketball team.
“I feel like Grace demonstrates how to be supportive and encouraging… She’s a good example of what to do,” says Veronica.
Although there is talent on the team, Coach Siscone considers this year a rebuilding year.
“We’ve kind of gone back to basics. This is a giant rebuilding year for us. Two years ago we had a very successful team and we lost some impact players,” says Siscone. “We have some freshmen and underclassmen that I think will fill those roles eventually… I don’t think necessarily some of us are ready for the speed and physicality of the varsity games yet, that’s going to come with time.”
The hope is that this year is a build up to many successful seasons to come. Coach Siscone quoted 76ers’ slogan “Trust the Process” as the motto for the season.
The Lady Red Hawks fell short in their first two games of the season against Vineland and Mainland Regional. The team matched up against Philadelphia school MAST Community Charter at the Wildwood Boardwalk Basketball Classic. They narrowly lost 44-48. Their next game is on Thursday, January 6 against Cape May Tech.