By: CNB Staff Writer
GLOUCESTER CITY N.J.--Looking at HS Girls Basketball in the sports pages and you can not miss, "Velez beats Haddon Twp." ," Velez nets 36 in win over Wildwood", '"Velez Sets SJ Invitational Record" or "Velez Tops 1,000 points". Nice reading but you need to know it took Senior Guard Nikki Velez hours of hardwork as youth before this success.
Velez moved from New York to the SJ area with her mother Natalie and older sister Kathy (a recent Lions standout) and younger sister Allison (a seventh grader leading the Brooklawn girls to the 2016 Championship) . ALL the girls, mother included who while a NY high schooler netted over 100 career 3 point shots had raw basketball talent. This young talent did not go unnoticed in the South Jersey area. The young girls caught the eye of the late Tom Mac Adams.
Mac Adams in 1996 built a full basketball court in his backyard dedicated to youth girls basketball. Mac Adams along with his daughter Erin a 2009 GHS grad and 1,000 point scorer before earning the 2009 SJ Player of the Year Honor, taught the basics to not only the Velez family but anyone who was willing to work hard.
Mac Adams who most credit as reason for the Lady Lion's recent success lobbied to have the "Shoprite of Brooklawn" gym built, once opened, Mac Adams practiced the Velez girls, Cooper girls and many future Lion's stars. Here the hard work by Velez was slowly showing future stardom. Velez's work led to a steady improvement, as a freshman she averaged 4.5 points, Sophomore 7.3 points and Junior 11.5 points before the breakout Senior year where currently she is averaging 19.7 and over 500 points this season.
Velez who will attend Penn State in the fall of 2016 is a humble young lady who also leads the successful Lion's Softball. As the season winds down Velez hopes to continue the girls winning ways on the hardwood. The last 10 games has Velez averaging over 22 points per game and is hoping that along with her teammates she can continue this trend into Monday nights match-up in the SJ Group I Championship Game in Gloucester against Haddon Hts, who recently defeated the Lions.
Every game now is lose and go home. Unfortunately in sports there is only one winner. If any player gives 100% as Nikki does a win or loss is not decided by the score but by the EFFORT!