Cousins combine talents in Cager Classic
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Always on opposite teams, senior forwards Jessica Aulicino and Sara Pilarski have dueled in driveways at family functions and jostled for position in the paint during Section 1-AAA games.
But they'll be playing for the same side this weekend.
Aulicino, of Freeport, and Pilarski, of Hampton, are first cousins. They will play for the West team in the 17th annual Cager Classic all-star game Saturday night at Highlands.
Tip-off for the girls game is slated for 6 p.m.
“Sara and I went to (the Cager) last year together to watch her brother (Mark) play,” said Aulicino, a 6-foot forward who averaged 15 points this season. “When we were watching the game, we were thinking, ‘Wow, that could be us next year.' ”
Freeport (8-13) moved up to Class AAA this season and knew Hampton (18-7) would be one of the top teams it would face in Section 1. Hampton beat the Yellowjackets twice.
Pilarski was a key contributor, averaging 16.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks.
“Both of our families are really competitive,” Pilarski said. “We go to family dinners and pool parties. We play some sport, and everyone gets involved. Of course, my side of the family always wins.”
Both teams made the playoffs. Freeport lost in the first round, while Hampton reached the WPIAL quarterfinals and suffered an opening-round loss in the PIAA playoffs.
“We used to be the same height, but in the last year, she passed me up, but not by much,” Aulicino said. “We've never played on the same organized team. I'm sure our families will take up a good part of the bleachers.”
Pilarski had her first career triple-double against Freeport. She said she often faced Aulicino in man-to-man situations.
“We had an eye out for each other,” Pilarski said.
Aulicino suffered a concussion against Hampton in the team's first meeting.
“I kind of got pushed out of bounds and hit my head,” she said. “Me and Sara matched up a couple of times.”
Both players hope to play in college. Aulicino has Division III interest. Pilarski said Indiana (Pa.), Clarion, Pitt Johnstown and Seton Hill, among others, are recruiting her.
Aulicino attended Highlands until sixth grade. A former classmate, Highlands' Nikki Misejka, also will play for the West.
Pilarski already has talked with her West coach, who happens to be her accounting teacher. Tony Howard is the coach of the Mars girls.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.