Back when she was a freshman during the 2003-04 season, Samantha Cramer got a chance to play alongside Memmie Lindemann, and loved watching the senior run the offense and provide the bulk of the scoring for the Akiba Hebrew Academy girl's basketball team. Lindemann went on to score the most points in school history. But once she graduated, the job fell to Cramer to score big.
"I thought she was great — she had an amazing three [point] shot, she had a great crossover," said Cramer, now a 5-feet, 4-inch senior point guard, of her former teammate. Cramer has become a serious scorer in her own right, often putting up more than 30 points per game.
In a Jan. 4 game against West-Mont Christian Academy, the 18-year-old scored her 1,568th point, surpassing Lindemann's school record.
"They stopped the game, and I thought I'd be a little more excited but … I didn't go really crazy — my coaches did," said Cramer. "I was just focused on the game."
As in previous seasons, the Lady Cougars are a perennial powerhouse in both the Penn-Jersey League and the Tri-County Independent School League. The team won both championships in each of the last three seasons. This year, according to coach Jen Rico, Akiba is 3-0 in the Penn-Jersey League, and 6-1 in Tri-County play.
"I hope that we have two championships [again], but it's going to be hard," said Cramer, noting that this season is tougher to predict since Akiba and its rivals lost key players to graduation. "But I think we can do it."
Cramer, who's been team captain for the last two seasons, said that she loves playing for a school with such supportive students.
"At big games," she noted, "everyone comes. It's really good; there's a lot of school spirit, especially for girls basketball because we do much better than the boys, usually."
A quick glance at some of this season's statistics proves just how much the team relies on this teenager for offense. In a Jan. 8 victory against St. Mary's High School, Cramer scored 26 of Akiba's 35 total points. The next highest scorer had four points.
"It hasn't been like that during past years, but we graduated our other starters, so we're looking to everyone else for other aspects — I'm kind of relied upon to put points on the board," she said.
Is she content with being the main scorer, or would she be happier spreading the ball around?
"I just want to win," she answered. "That's my main goal, so I'll do what I have to do. And if I see that my players can't put it in the basket one night, then I'm willing to do the whole '30 thing' if I can. But I'd love to see them score more."
But when push comes to shove, Akiba delivers: The team was able to win a Dec. 14 game against the Woodlynde School even after Cramer left the game early with an injured ankle.
Off the court, Cramer is student council president, and has already eased a ban on student cell-phone use during school.
Her athletic success begs the question of college recruitment, but Cramer said that academics come first and basketball second. Hoping to major in sports broadcasting, she's applying to 11 institutions — and, of course, wants to play ball.