By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
Folks who went to high school in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s — you know, before the internet was invented — will appreciate the approach Holy Spirit senior forward Regina Lamcken brings to the court, and her studies.
Students at Holy Spirit, much like in many other schools these days, are given iPads when they are freshmen to help them with their studies. Lamcken said she rarely uses hers. She prefers the good, old-fashioned notepad and highlighter. You get the same from her on the basketball court — nothing fancy, no shortcuts, just grinding every day, defense and team coming first and foremost. Just the kind of player first-year coach Jackie Siscone needs as she takes over the Spartans’ program from Dennis Smith.
“Regina is in advanced classes and has about a 3.4 GPA. She’s just a very hard-working kid, both inside and outside the classroom. She has an innate ability to be a leader. She’s a very vocal leader on the court, and I am positive that transfers into the classroom,” Siscone said. “She does not like to settle for anything less than 100 percent, so she brings that work ethic into the classroom, and that’s going to follow her throughout her life and help her be successful in whatever she decides to do.”
Siscone said she knew Lamcken was talented, but didn’t realize how tough a player she was until she started coaching her on a daily basis.
“She impressed me with her toughness. She’s very physical, and you don’t expect that from her when you first meet her. The first time I met her, she was kind of giggly, and maybe a little shy. I would never have said that kid would be one who would rip your head off for a rebound, but she will. The moment for me with Regina was, she was pretty sick with bronchitis at the start of the season, and I told her she didn’t need to come to practice, that I’d rather her go home and get healthy. She said, ‘no, I’ll be there,’” Siscone said. “She also had a death in the family the week we played Middle Township, and she went to her grandmother’s funeral and texted me and said, ‘coach, I’m 20 minutes from the gym, if I come, can I play?’ I said, ‘absolutely!’ That just personifies her leadership. She’s our vocal leader and she leads by example. She might not light up the scoreboard with points, but she will do all the little things — get rebounds, go after loose balls, play great defense. She does it all for us, and she’s that leader academically as well. She makes sure the younger kids follow her example, and that’s important.”
“As a freshman, I played a lot of defense and proved I was able to play at the varsity level. I started sometimes sophomore year, but it was mainly junior year and senior year (that I became a starter). I’m still improving. Every day at practice I see myself getting better, whether it’s my shot or my footwork on defense. I like where I’m at right now. This season, I wanted to be more offensive-minded. Defense has been my strength, so I wanted to work on taking more shots and having more assists, and I think I’ve improved in those areas,” Lamcken said. “There’s only me and one other senior, so we have to take on that leadership role at practice, help everyone out. And we have a new coach, also, so it’s all fresh, which I like. It was a change, but I like our new coach and I think the rest of the team does, too.”
Like many standout student-athletes, Lamcken takes advantage of free time whenever it presents itself, whether it is before school, during lunch, or even on bus rides home from games. That’s what it takes to compete in the classroom and impress colleges.
“I mostly try to get all my homework and studying done during lunch, or during a study hall, and then as soon as I come home from practice I do homework. I usually hand-write all my notes, and I take my notebook everywhere. I’ll look over my notes on the bus to and from games until I get a chance to fully study everything when I get home. Mostly we’ll be focusing on the game on the way to away games, but since I hand-write my notes, I don’t have to be looking up everything, I just read them over. Everyone tries to get notes from me,” she said. “We’re given iPads, but I rarely use mine, unless it’s an app that we use in class or something interactive like that. I feel that if I write out my notes I remember them better, and you also learn the material. And, you can find your information easily. I’m always highlighting things.”
It shouldn’t be surprising how competitive Lamcken is, as she’s the youngest of four siblings — Matt, Max and Rachel being the others — who all were high school athletes in various sports. Regina had to be competitive just to keep up.
“She gets the rest of the girls going,” Siscone said. “She’s hungry to win, and she doesn’t back down from anybody, and I love that about her.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDsullysays