Courtney Carsillo knows a thing or two about what being a successful basketball player entails. She watched her two cousins dominate the game when she was younger. A little later, she got the opportunity to watch her two older brothers do the same.
Now it’s her turn.
Carsillo is one of the captains of the Collingswood High School girls basketball team, and one of the big reasons the team has been one of the best in the Colonial Conference.
At 13-4, the Panthers have positioned themselves to make a serious run in the Group 2 playoffs, something that doesn’t come as a surprise to Carsillo.
“When I was a freshman and sophomore, we had a group of us who knew that we were young then, but when we were seniors we would have a good year,” she said after Collingswood's 43-16 win over West Deptford on Tuesday.
“It’s been a really good season.”
Carsillo has been with the varsity team throughout her four-year career. She has a great knowledge of the game, which is no surprise given her basketball pedigree.
Her older cousin, Megan Mason (nee Light), was one of the most prolific scorers in South Jersey girls basketball history. As a member of the Gloucester Lions, Light reached the 1,000-point mark by her sophomore year, and graduated just 73 points shy of the all-time scoring record. Mason netted more than 2,400 points and shot over 50 percent from behind the three-point arc.
Carsillo remembered watching in awe as her cousin tore her way through the New Jersey record books.
“It was cool to see how well she played and that I was her cousin and could potentially be that good,” Carsillo said. “She’s taught me a lot.”
Her other cousin, Molly Anne, was a quality player in her own right. Molly Anne and Megan—who is now teaching in the Collingswood School District—continued their careers at Fairfield University.
Then there are Courtney’s brothers, Harrison and Mitch Carsillo. Each succeeded on the court for the Panthers and went on to play at Rosemont College (Mitch is currently in his junior year).
“My whole family basically has played basketball," Courtney Carsillo said.
That's given her an opportunity to absorb the knowledge of her family members while also forming her own identity as a player. She knows it is not her job to lead her team in scoring every night, but she is expected to be a mentor on and off the court.
“I’m a senior captain and there are a lot of younger players who follow what I do,” Courtney Carsillo said. “You have to talk on defense, help them through the offenses and answer any questions at practice. You want them to accept you so they feel like they can always come to talk to you if they need any help.
"You just have to have a positive attitude.”