Nanticokes Acker commits to St. Josephs
By Jill Snowdon Staff Writer
Without having to gush over her abilities
on the court, St. Josephs Universitys womens basketball
coach Cindy Griffin gave Nanticoke Areas Sarah Acker a tremendous
Coach Griffin actually told me that
if they got Sarah Acker, she was guaranteed a job for the next four years,
Nanticoke Area coach Jack Rentko said. That is such a great thing
for a coach to say.
If thats the case, Griffin
can keep her whistle around her neck and her office intact as Acker made
a verbal commitment to accept a full athletic scholarship to play Division
I basketball for the Hawks.
The Trojanettes 6-foot-3
senior center decided on St. Josephs over Penn State.
I went to St. Joes
on Thursday and it was my third visit, Acker said. I loved
Penn State, but there was something about St. Joes that kept pulling
me back. The people there are great, the program is great and I just felt
I would really fit in there.
Acker has been a dominating force
in the paint the past three seasons for Nanticoke Area. Shes racked
up 1,250 career points, 1,300 rebounds and 570 blocked shots.
She was also named a Class AAA
third-team all-state selection as a junior after helping the Trojanettes
to a 29-1 record.
While her size and strength under
the boards were often too much for other post players to handle in the
Wyoming Valley Conference, Acker said she is is confident going up against
Division I players with similar abilities.
Ive been getting a
lot more practice playing against girls my size, said Acker, who
plays for the Fencor AAU team during the summer. But Im comfortable
taking an outside shot, too.
Rentko has been working with Acker
on her versatility on the court and last year she proved to be a threat
inside and outside the lane.
She closed out her junior year
averaging 18.6 points per game and 15.6 rebounds.
Her dominance was obvious in Nanticoke
Areas game against Oxford in the second round of the PIAA playoffs.
Acker scored 14 of the Trojanettes
16 first-half points. The Trojanettes lost that game, 39-35, with Acker
fouling out in the fourth quarter.
For a kid her size, she has
great quickness, Rentko said. Shes the type of center
that can have the basket behind her or in front of her. We knew she could
be a power center, but she runs the floor really well and she has good
foot skills so we wanted her to get more moves to the basket. There are
times when she beats our guards with her first step.
Acker will join a St. Joes
program that competes in the Atlantic 10 and finished 21-11 in 2006, good
enough to earn a berth in the Womens National Invitational Tournament.
She had the opportunity to see
the Hawks knock off Temple, 65-64, in a league game in January and was
impressed with their tactics.
I actually think they play
a lot like (Nanticoke Areas) style of play, said the 17-year
old daughter of Lorraine and Terry Acker of Nanticoke. And the closeness
of their team is a lot like ours. Now Im hoping to find some fans
like we have...like Aly Byoricks (Trojanette teammate) grandfather
and his friends that come to all of our Nanticoke games.
Before Acker suits up for the Hawks,
she has one more year to wear her Trojanette uniform.
This season, however, may prove
a bit less stressful.
Now I can go out and play
and have fun, Acker said. But still be serious, of course.