Kerri Aiken prefers the open spaces of the soccer field to the tight confines of the basketball court.

But she makes the most of the indoor sport.

Aiken was a first-team All-South Jersey soccer player for Eastern. She also was named an NSCAA/Adidas all-American after leading the Vikings to a 16-6 record and a berth in the South Jersey Group 4 final.

In the winter, Aiken is a key member of South Jersey's No. 1-ranked basketball team. She's a standout guard for a Vikings team that opened the season Friday night with a 45-39 victory over No. 2 Cherokee in an Olympic American showdown.

Aiken, who also plays for Eastern's lacrosse team in the spring, has committed to attend La Salle University on a soccer scholarship.

Question: Is basketball your favorite sport in the winter or is soccer always your favorite sport?

Answer: I like them both, but I have to say soccer is my favorite. I like the wider field, there's more teammates out there with you. But I do love playing basketball.

Q: Where does lacrosse fit in your three-sport mix?

A: I just started playing lacrosse as a freshman. There's so much running I thought it would help me with soccer. I love playing it.

Q: Why La Salle?

A: It's in Philly, so my parents can come and see me play. I love the coach [Paul Royal], and I love the girls on the team. It's a good school academically. Plus, both of my parents [Joe and Debbi] went to La Salle.

Q: Do you know what you want to study?

A: Criminal justice.

Q: Where do you want to go with that?

A: I'd love to become an FBI agent. I have a lot of family members who are involved in law enforcement, and I'm really interested in that. Plus, I'd be helping people out.

Q: What's your favorite subject in school?

A: Math.

Q: Do you have a favorite TV show?

A: Criminal Minds.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to?

A: I like rap. I like Miley Cyrus, too. I listen to a lot of Lil' Wayne. I like lots of stuff. Just not country. Not good.

Q: What do you do when you're not playing or practicing for one of the three sports.

A: I like reading James Patterson books. And I go to a lot of Sixers and Flyers games. I don't think I could live without sports.

Q: Who has been the biggest influence in your athletic career?

A: Definitely my parents. I can't remember ever playing a game since I was like 7 when they weren't there for me.

Q: Eastern is No. 1 in The Inquirer Top 10. You like that spot?

A: I think it's accurate. We work hard. But we know we have a lot of tough games ahead of us.

Q: What's it like playing basketball with Genevieve Okoro, last year's player of the year?

A: It's great. When we're down in practice, Gen is one of those captains who always picks everybody up. She has a great attitude.

Q: What's the outlook for this basketball team?

A: We've got a lot of goals. We want to win the conference championship and the Group 4 state championship. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us with a tough schedule. But we've got a good mind-set going forward.

Three stars from last week


Maddie Tambussi won the 100 freestyle and swam a leg on the victorious 200 free relay as Haddonfield edged Bishop Eustace, 86-84, in a matchup of two of South Jersey's best girls' swimming teams.

2. Roman Amirrato scored three goals as St. Augustine beat Pope John, 9-1, in a Gordon Conference ice hockey game.

3. Rikki Cohen had the top game with a 246 and helped the Cherokee girls to the top team score in the Olympic Conference bowling tournament.

Three tips on this week


Cherry Hill East visits St. Augustine at 4 p.m., today in a clash of two of South Jersey's best boys' swimming teams.

2. West Deptford hosts St. Augustine at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a nonleague wrestling match between two teams with their sights set on moving into South Jersey's upper echelon.

3. Paul VI at Pennsauken at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in a clash of two boys' basketball teams that scored big wins on opening night.

Super Seven Power Rankings

The best teams in South Jersey, regardless of sport:

1. Camden Catholic wrestling (0-0): The Irish have a potent mix of accomplished veterans such as Taylor Walsh, Matt Sausman and Wayne Young and young talent eager to make an immediate mark.

2. St. Augustine swimming (3-0): With a loaded senior class led by Steve Melchiorre, the Hermits are locked and loaded for a run at their fifth Non-Public A state title in six years.

3. Cherokee boys' basketball (1-0): Senior guard Willis Nicholson had 18 points as Chiefs rolled over Eastern on opening night.

4. Gloucester Catholic ice hockey (4-0): Joe Crespo scored two goals in 9-5 win over previously unbeaten Christian Brothers Academy. As expected, the victory lifted the Rams to No. 2 in the state behind national power Delbarton in the latest rankings.

5. Eastern wrestling (0-0): The Vikings have power points galore with three reigning/former state champions in Anthony Baldosaro, Rob Deutsch and Hank Stinson, plus three-time region champion Preston Keiffer.

6. Haddonfield girls' swimming (2-0): Emma Carpenter is the top middle-lane swimmer, but the Bulldogs' real strength is their remarkable depth.

7. Eastern girls' basketball (1-0): The Vikings need to develop complementary scoring to star center Genevieve Okoro, who went for 28 in an opening-night victory over Olympic American rival Cherokee.

Under consideration: Camden Catholic boys' basketball, Paulsboro wrestling, Cherokee girls' basketball, Cherry Hill West girls' swimming.