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Senior guard Audrey Wilson has taken over leadership role for Holy Spirit girls basketball team

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By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher It seems as though the Holy Spirit High School girls basketball team spent the majority of the first half of this season searching for a new leader. Summer Crilley, a 1,000-point scorer and the heart of the Spartans last year, graduated last spring and now is playing basketball at Rowan University. Head coach Dennis Smith wasn’t worried about who would fill that void. He knew he had the right person all along, it just took a while for everyone to figure it out. Audrey Wilson, an 18-year-old senior from Absecon, is the perfect player — and person — to fill the void left by one of Holy Spirit’s all-time greats. She’s a top-notch student, a team player, humble and intense. And being a player who can score 15 to 20 points on any given night, and shoot around 90 percent from the free-throw line, doesn’t hurt either. Wilson would never take all the credit, as she’s quick to point to fellow seniors Amanda Reale and Cass Gallagher as key players who help share that leadership role. Wilson tries to drive past Egg Harbor Township's Haley Drinks during a recent matchup with the Eagles. Wilson has become much more of a focal point of the Spartans' offense as the season has progressed. Wilson tries to drive past Egg Harbor Township’s Haley Drinks during a recent matchup with the Eagles. Wilson has become much more of a focal point of the Spartans’ offense as the season has progressed. “After those two heartbreaking losses we’ve really stepped it up as a team. We don’t want anything like that to happen again. We’re excited. We’re hitting a good stride and hopefully that will continue,” Wilson said. “Last year, when Summer was there, we would all stand around and wait for Summer to do what she does. And for the most part it worked for us, but there were times when teams would take her out and you’re looking around for somebody else to step up. This year, they figured it out pretty early. I said, ‘there’s no Summer here to bail you guys out, so you guys have to figure it out amongst yourselves. Everyone has to contribute.’ They figured it out, she’s figured it out and she’s really stepped into that role for us,” Smith said. “There was a six-game span there where she was absolutely on fire. After we lost to Middle Township and Atlantic City, we all had to go back and look at ourselves, and coming out of that Atlantic City game she absolutely rededicated herself to becoming the best player and leader that she could be. That was so enjoyable to watch, and I think the other girls really fed off of that.” Wilson, who plans to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., next fall, said she takes her role as a team leader seriously, and wants to leave a good impression on the program for the underclassmen. “It’s something that I’ve taken into a lot of consideration,” Wilson said. “Now that I’m a senior, people automatically look up to me, but I also hope to lead them to be good sports and hopefully I’m an influence with my work ethic at practice. Hopefully that inspires them to work just as hard.” Smith said the example Wilson is setting is sure to make the intended impression. “The girls we have in our program are awesome and they are always looking out for each other. That’s the one thing that makes it so much fun. We are a family, and Audrey leads that charge, not only with her faith but with the things that she does. She leads by example and that’s the big key. Some teams pay lip service when they say they are a family, but she makes sure that we are a family on a daily basis,” Smith said. “Audrey is one of those types of kids who is a special kid. I’ve only said this about four or five other players that I’ve coached in my 16 years, if my daughters emulated what she did I would be beyond proud. Audrey falls into that category for me.” Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays [adsense]

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