From staff reports
The ACIT girls basketball program is excited about the Kiss Cancer Goodbye showcase event returning to its Mays Landing campus. Last year, the RedHawks kicked off the inagural event and this year many of the same teams are returning, along with a few new ones.
The tournament was inspired by current ACIT senior Kayla Sykes and her mother, Lonniyell, who wanted to do something to honor Kayla’s aunt, Carol Small Smith, and her battle with cancer. Proceeds from Saturday’s event go to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
“We have five girls games starting at 11 a.m. It’s a great event, we raise money for St. Jude’s. We raised $1,200 last year and we’re looking to double that this year,” said ACIT coach Jason Vander Ryk. “I wouldn’t be doing justice if I didn’t give Kayla’s mom, Lonniyell, a shout out. She’s been the mastermind and the brains behind it and has done everything for the tournament this year. She gets all the credit. I set the teams up but she does everything else. She’s been going to local businesses to get the sponsors. She’s an angel, it’s hard to tell her no, and she’s done an amazing job and she gets all the credit in the world for the tournament.”
The event features some interesting matchups. Bridgeton is coming off a tough 34-30 loss to Egg Harbor Township, but the Bulldogs have some exciting young players and they’ll take on Atlantic Christian to start things off, and the second game will feature one of the best players in South Jersey in Wildwood senior Maddie McCracken. They’ll be taking on a Deptford team that as of Jan. 17 was 7-5, and the Spartans will have a quick turnaround as they have to face Williamstown on Friday night.
The third game of the day features Southern Regional, a team that is 6-6 but plays in one of the more competitive divisions in South Jersey, the Shore Conference A South, and the Rams will be going up against Cedar Creek, which features star forward Trina Deveney and some quality guards.
This year, Imhotep Charter out of Philadelphia is coming to Mays Landing and features several players who play AAU basketball with Sykes. They’ll be taking on Winslow, a team that is 7-5 and traditionally is a state playoff qualifier in South Jersey Group 3. The event finishes up with host ACIT taking on Glassboro, another team that is 7-5 and has won four of its last five games.
Schedule: Saturday, Jan. 19 at ACIT
11am: Bridgeton v. Atlantic Christian
12:30pm: Wildwood v. Deptford
2:15: Southern v. Cedar Creek
4: Imhotep Charter vs. Winslow
5:30: Glassboro vs. ACIT
Proceeds benefit St. Jude’s
Children’s Research Hospital