Ms. Big Shot

St. Hubert seni­or Ei­re­ann Ana­stasi, an All-Cath­ol­ic for­ward, is lead­ing her team in scor­ing this sea­son with 15 points per game.

(L to R) Naz­areth Academy’s Marissa Sylvester de­fends Saint Hubert seni­or Ei­re­ann Ana­stasi dur­ing the first an­nu­al ÒHoly WarsÓ tour­na­ment on Sunday, Decem­ber 18. Kev­in Cook / for the Times

St. Hubert High School faced Naz­areth Academy in the first-ever “Holy Wars” bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment on Sunday af­ter­noon. The show­case was de­signed to match hoops teams from the Phil­adelphia Cath­ol­ic League against those in the Cath­ol­ic Academies League in a fun yet com­pet­it­ive game.

Mis­sion ac­com­plished. 

Swarms of fans packed St. Hubert’s gym­nas­i­um on Sunday for the show­case. The Bam­bies got off to a stel­lar start, net­ting 16 points in the first quarter while hold­ing Naz­areth to just five. By half­time, Hubert had a 27-19 lead. 

But Naz­areth dom­in­ated the second half of game ac­tion — es­pe­cially the fi­nal quarter, when they ral­lied for 25 points and a 58-48 vic­tory. 

“It’s something that we’ve talked about over the last couple of years. This was the first year we ac­tu­ally got every­body sched­uled,” Saint Hubert coach Bri­an Kuzmick said of the Holy Wars tour­na­ment. “Our ori­gin­al thought was to have something that show­cased the North­east teams. We thought it would be good for the area and also good for the leagues.” 

Naz­areth seni­or for­ward Dani­elle Gasperi led the Pan­das in scor­ing with 21 points. Seni­or guard Brid­get So­bon and ju­ni­or for­ward Nicole Dom­browski each had 12 points.

St. Hubert seni­or Ei­re­ann Ana­stasi led her squad with 16 points. Ju­ni­or for­ward Char­lotte Ku­cowski ad­ded nine. 

“I like the tour­na­ment. A lot of those girls (Naz­areth play­ers) are ac­tu­ally team­mates of mine from the Rock­ers,” ex­plained Ana­stasi, re­fer­ring to the North­east Rock­ers AAU team. “There was def­in­itely some trash-talk­ing be­fore the game. It was a lot of fun. I love the com­pet­it­ive­ness. It’s fun and I love play­ing.” 

Ana­stasi — an All-Cath­ol­ic se­lec­tion and four-year varsity starter for the Bam­bies — has em­braced her lead­er­ship role this sea­son. She leads her squad in scor­ing thus far av­er­aging 15 points per game.

The Bam­bies have four re­turn­ing play­ers this sea­son. Seni­or Ash­ley Bieringer, a cen­ter, earned ample varsity ex­per­i­ence last sea­son and will again have a start­ing role. Ju­ni­or Char­lotte Ku­cowski and sopho­more Biff Jones are also ex­pec­ted to con­trib­ute greatly this winter.  

“We’re com­ing to­geth­er. We want to fin­ish bet­ter than when we star­ted … just keep work­ing hard and im­prov­ing ourselves,” said Ana­stasi. “Our quick­ness and work­ing to­geth­er are def­in­itely our strengths. We al­ways put out a lot of ef­fort. We nev­er give up and we work well to­geth­er.”

Over the past four years, Ana­stasi has be­come a corner­stone of the Bam­bies’ bas­ket­ball pro­gram. The guard has helped her squad reach post­season play throughout that time. 

“I think she stepped in­to the start­ing lineup three or four games in­to her fresh­man sea­son and she’s been go­ing ever since,” re­called Kuzmick. “The kid has un­be­liev­able tal­ent.”

A reg­u­lar on the courts “as long as she can re­mem­ber,” Ana­stasi teamed up with the Crispin Gar­dens, St. Jerome’s and the North­east Rock­ers be­fore com­pet­ing at the high school level. 

Also a soc­cer play­er, Ana­stasi played loc­ally for the Light­house Soc­cer Club; for the past four sea­sons, she has been part of St. Hubert’s team. 

“Bas­ket­ball is my fa­vor­ite … def­in­itely,” said Ana­stasi, 17. “That’s what I want to fo­cus on next year at col­lege.”

Ana­stasi, an hon­or stu­dent in the classroom, has nar­rowed her col­lege choices to East­ern Uni­versity and Cab­rini Col­lege. She wants to ma­jor in busi­ness or psy­cho­logy. 

“I haven’t really de­cided yet,” she said. “I’ve al­ways liked work­ing with num­bers and ac­count­ing, but this year I took a psy­cho­logy class and loved it. It was really in­ter­est­ing.”

In the mean­time, Ana­stasi is do­ing all she can to en­sure that her last high school bas­ket­ball sea­son is a suc­cess­ful one. 

The Bam­bies have a gruel­ing sched­ule ahead, in­clud­ing bouts with power­houses like Arch­bish­op Ry­an, Arch­bish­op Wood and Lans­dale Cath­ol­ic. St. Hubert also will travel to At­lanta, Ga., from Dec. 26-29 to com­pete in an an­nu­al hol­i­day hoops tour­na­ment. 

“I’m really ex­cited,” said Ana­stasi. “In pre­vi­ous years we’ve gone to Read­ing, Pa., and Wash­ing­ton, D.C., but this is our first big trip.

“We should have a good sea­son,” she ad­ded. “I think we have a tal­en­ted team. I’m com­fort­able and con­fid­ent out there.” ••

Ed­it­or Melissa Yerkov can be reached at my­

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