By GIUSEPPE UNGARO
Cassidy Gallagher is a coach’s kind of player. She’s unselfish; a team-first, defense-first basketball player. The type who wants to guard the opponent’s best player. On offense, her goal is to set up her teammates more than looking for her own shot.
The recent Holy Spirit graduate lettered all four years for the Spartans’ basketball team, keeping the program among the best in the Cape-Atlantic League. The Spartans have been known to have standout guards throughout the years, and Gallagher is among them.
She also played three years of field hockey, which she thought was her main sport before starting at Holy Spirit. Although she had three outstanding years of field hockey at Holy Spirit, Gallagher’s love for basketball grew in high school.
“It was a family atmosphere and I wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere else,” said the 18-year-old Margate resident. “It was very close-knit. Anytime I needed something I could go to my coaches or teammates. We were always there for each other. It means a lot.”
When she first entered the doors of the Absecon school, Gallagher bided her time on the Spartans’ bench, watching and learning from the older girls such as Summer Crilley. During practice she matched up against the varsity’s best, including Val Garafalo. Crilley and Garafalo are both standout players now at Rowan University.
It was during those practices that Gallagher developed her passion for defense.
“I like to play defense. That is my favorite. I always like to turn defense into offense,” Gallagher said. “My way of looking at it is, play hard defense and you will get easy offense. Instead of setting up offense and running plays, why not play defense really hard and get a score easily?”
Gallagher also credits basketball battles with her younger brother, Drew, outside her home for making her a better player. Drew will be a junior this fall and plays varsity basketball and baseball at Holy Spirit.
“We have made each other better. We played 1-on-1 when we were little. We would always play each other. We played a lot together,” Cassidy said.
Who wins these sibling contests?
“I think he beats me now, but before, I beat him,” Gallagher said with a laugh.
Gallagher may have won a few 1-on-1 matchups, but prefers the team game.
When asked what her favorite moment from playing basketball at Holy Spirit was, Gallagher doesn’t recall a big individual performance such as scoring 20 points against rival Atlantic City this past season. In fact, it wasn’t even a moment when she played a starring role.
“My freshman year, I wasn’t playing a lot, but we won the CAL (Championship) at (Richard Stockton University). Even though I didn’t play and it wasn’t my team, it was cool to see that,” she said.
Gallagher plans to continue her academic and basketball career at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa., this fall.
“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” Gallaher said. “I got to talk to the coach, visited the college and went to one of their basketball games. I felt like it was a perfect fit.”
Contact Giuseppe Ungaro: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDgisepu
By GIUSEPPE UNGARO