Holy Spirit's Jesse Frazier is like the game of basketball at its best: intense, passionate, with high energy and lots of fun.

That's why the 17-year-old guard/forward dropped all of the other sports in which she participated since kindergarten and held onto a basketball as a high school freshman.

And that decision seems to have paid off for her and the Spartans, who haven't lost a game in the Cape-Atlantic League National Division 1 in the last eight years.

Frazier enters the season with 793 points in the bank and an excellent chance to be a 1,000-point scorer.

"Cool," she said when she heard the news. "I always had that in the back of my head, to cap four years on a great note.

"And this year we will be running all over the place. We have speed. We're looking to push the ball up court and drive. We're quick on defense, and it will be havoc on offenses with our traps and steals and running the floor."

Listening to the senior's upbeat talk about her goal and the team's ability, a bystander might think that it's been a smooth ride for the 5-foot-10 Margate resident.

However, there have been obstacles.

The summer before her sophomore year, Frazier started having stomach pains, uncommon thirst and headaches. Her blood work showed diabetes Type 1.

When the happy honors student studied the illness, the gravity of the situation took hold. There would be daily insulin injections. Dietary habits would change for life.

"A lot of kids would have asked, 'Why me?' " Holy Spirit coach Larry DiGiovanni said. "She accepted it and moved on. If a lot of teens would take that [example], it would be good."

Actually, the Ivy League aspirant did experience a self-pity phase, but it didn't last longer than a couple of bad games.

"It's no fun being mad all of the time," said Frazier, in whom Seton Hall, Fordham and Hofstra are interested. "You have to roll with the punches.

"I like to laugh stuff off if I can. I realize how much more effective you can be that way rather than flustered."

So when Frazier tore the ACL in her left knee during her first practice with the Lady Rebels AAU team last March, the injury was just another hurdle to overcome.

About a month following surgery, Frazier hobbled to courts outside and in and worked on her three-point shooting and foul shots. And while shooting she saw the big picture.

"I would visualize things that I could do to help the team step up," said the student with a 3.75 grade point average and a desire to study medicine. "I visualized my need to become more aggressive, how I could help younger kids improve by speaking out more on the court."

Spirit's sophomore guards, Taneshia Mobley and Sarah Marakos, could benefit from Frazier's experience and positive attitude. They'll be going this season against the best guard in South Jersey, Sacred Heart's Ashley Durham, who last year led the area in scoring.

Frazier and senior Kristen Polisano will be taking on other talented tall girls such as Sacred Heart's Tyesha Simmons, Nicole Conroy and Leah Braidi (arguably the best frontcourt in the National Conference), as well as Middle Township's Jessie Mooers and Our Lady of Mercy Academy's Taylor Thompson.

Contact staff writer Bill Iezzi
at 856-779-3826 or biezzi@phillynews.com.