Leadership Throttles Success of Lady Crusaders

The Lady Crusaders of Wildwood Catholic High School celebrated winning the Boardwalk Basketball Classic’s girls bracket Dec. 30, 2019.

The confidence that girls basketball coach Steve Dipatri, of Wildwood Catholic High School, has in team captains Alyia Gray, Marianna Papazoglou and Gabby Turco can be seen when he discusses their success this season.

Turco, a senior, and Gray and Papazoglou, who are juniors, continually demonstrate proper conduct, both on and off the court.

“Captains are chosen by how they exhibit comprehensive leadership qualities throughout our organized and unorganized team activities,’’ said DiPatri. “They must exhibit loyalty at all times, as they are extensions of the coaching staff, and must be role models to their teammates and future Lady Crusaders.’’

Each captain has shown personal improvements, in their own way, along with seeking ways to be a better teammate.

“Alyia is our point guard and sets up our offense,’’ said DiPatri. “Marianna has already eclipsed 1,000 points for her career, having done so as a sophomore. Gabby reached the 1,000 point milestone Feb. 1, versus Atlantic City, and is a top defensive player.

“Their ability to help the team prepare for important games by reminding everyone of the importance of their roles, this promotes team buy-in and a positive culture.’’

Gray, Papazoglou and Turco all lead the way in the classroom, as well. “Each of them are outstanding student-athletes,’’ said DiPatri. “Each is a member of the National Honor Society. Gabby has received a full scholarship to attend Saint Anselm's College.

"Alyia leads by example, Marianna by involving everyone and Gabby by her drive. Each also fully supports our coaching staff.’’

The Lady Crusaders are in the midst of a powerful season, with a 16-2 record through Feb. 5. Wildwood Catholic will travel to play Our Lady of Mercy in a Cape Atlantic League United Division game Feb. 13. The opening rounds of the NJSIAA Sectional Tournaments get underway across New Jersey during the first week of March.

“Each player has contributed in many ways, our team culture is paramount,’’ said DiPatri. “We coach the sport and its fundamentals along with the character and social, emotional and spiritual development of our players."