NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -- Kaitlyn Cumiskey has built a career on being a prolific scorer on the lacrosse field.
Her role on the basketball court is quite different, but no less integral to the success of this winter's New Providence girls' basketball team.
Cumiskey, a senior guard, went scoreless for three quarters, but then came through with eight points down the stretch last Saturday as New Providence rallied from a 16-point deficit to remain undefeated with a 41-40 victory over Oak Knoll. This all happened after New Providence went scoreless in falling behind, 14-0, after the first quarter.
Cumiskey, whose value in basketball as a defender, passer and rebounder is just as vital as her ability to score when needed, is the Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week.
"Kaitlyn is a great leader by example," New Providence girls basketball coach Cap Pazdera said. "She works very hard in practice and gives her all in everything she does. She is much happier giving the credit to her teammates rather than taking all the glory for herself. She is one of the fiercest competitors I have coached. She might not say she wants to beat you, but you better believe that once you step on the court with her, she is going to do everything in her power to win."
Three weeks before the basketball season began, Cumiskey signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Pennsylvania to continue her lacrosse career. In three seasons on New Providence's girls lacrosse team, she has amassed 301 career goals.
But after she signed with Penn, her winter attention turned to the hardwood, where the Pioneers have the opportunity to accomplish some special things before lacrosse season starts later in March.
Cumiskey answered some questions posed to her this week by TAPinto New Providence.
Q: What's been your most memorable basketball game to date?
A: My most memorable game is the game last week against Oak Knoll. I don’t think we have ever been shut out in the first quarter in my four years. We did not give up and we worked together as a team along with our coaches to compete in that game all the way to the end. I’m so happy for the team to be able to come back and win that game. I think we proved we can compete and pick each other up.
Q: You are going to continue your lacrosse career at Penn. Can you talk about your commitment to basketball this winter? Did you come into this basketball season thinking you'd be just as engaged in basketball as your are for lacrosse?
A: I love playing basketball and I came into the season very excited. I did not change anything since I committed to play lacrosse at UPenn. I still work very hard during practices and games and want to be the best teammate I can be.
Q: Your role is so much different in basketball. In lacrosse, you are a scorer, but in basketball, you do a little bit of everything. How much of a different mentality is it in basketball, where you are part of a very balanced team?
A: I’ve been very fortunate to play with great teammates in both sports. My mentality is always the same, which is to work hard, be a great teammate and do whatever it takes to help my team win.
Q: How is your senior year going in school? Everything you hoped it would be so far?
A: I’m having a fun senior year, it is everything I hoped for and more. We won the Group 1 Cross Country State Championship in the fall and got the opportunity to run in Meet of Champs. We’re having a lot of success so far this basketball season. I hope we can continue this success into the Union County Tournament and into the state tournament, as well.
Q: How have you seen you basketball game change since you began in the program?
A: When I came in as a freshman, I was part of a really talented senior-led team. Being able to practice and watch such talented players made me learn and gain experience that has helped me over the last few seasons. I feel like I grew into a player that can be a leader and help the team on both sides of the floor.
Q: What are your goals as a basketball team this winter? The team is still undefeated? Is the sky the limit here?
A: Our goal is to continue to get better and compete for a county and state championship. The coaches are preparing us each game and putting us in position to be successful. We just have to continue working hard and finish the season strong.
The Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors located at 64 Main Street in Chatham. Joe is a 25 year New Providence resident who is an active member of the New Providence community. Contact Joe anytime, whether it's to get started on helping you realize your real estate goals and dreams, or just to ask a question about the local market. Joe can be reached at email@example.com or call 908-868-4800.