AK Valley Athletes of the Week: Gage Johnston of Apollo-Ridge, Kalleigh Nerone of the Highlands



Saturday 25 December 2021 | 5:32 p.m.

Gage Johnston

To classify: Junior

The school: the crest of apollo

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Johnston scored 30 points, including 21 in the first half, to lead Apollo-Ridge to a 58-46 victory over Steel Valley on Tuesday to move up to 2-0 in Section 3-3A. He hit a half dozen from 3 points in the win. Johnston was the leading return scorer with four points per game for a Vikings team that had four graduate starters.

How did you feel to lead the team to a great sectional victory in the home opener?

It was good. We needed a win before the break. That’s a great thing, because we’re going to get into the break with some momentum ahead of our Christmas tournament next week.

How does a goalscorer feel when you step into a groove like you did on Tuesday?

The best way for me to explain it is that I feel like every photo I take is going to come in. Everyone around me gets excited when I shoot, because they have a feeling it’s going to come in too.

How was the chemistry established within the team after losing the majority of starting lineup last year upon graduation?

It was awesome. Training is a main part of it, especially on Saturday mornings because nobody really wants to be there, but we go there and we fight together to improve. After school practices are great too, because of the competitiveness. This is when everyone wants to be there, and they want to go.

Who would win a team-wide knockout match?

I’m not sure, but I know it will be competitive and fun to watch.

Do you have any pre-game routines or superstitions?

I make sure to put on my shooting shirt first and my shoes last. I’ve been doing this since grade seven and I’ve played pretty well, so I try to never change that routine. I also like to take a pre-game nap.

What gift do you want the most for Christmas?

Either Yeezy or Human Race Adidas shoes.

What is your favorite school subject?

I would say math would be best for me, because I feel like I’m really good with numbers. It’s really easy for me. I can pick things out and put them in the right place to solve the problem.

What are your hobbies outside of basketball?

I love spending time with my family most importantly. Everyone needs to spend time with their family because you wouldn’t be where you are without your family.

Kalleigh Nero

To classify: Second year

The school: Highlands

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Nerone scored the team’s best 15 points and helped Highlands move away from Derry in the fourth quarter in a 50-32 victory. She is one of four returning starters from a team that is off to a 6-0 start after winning nine games last season.

How did you feel about contributing to a big section victory before the holidays?

It was great. I felt like we performed well. We had a bit of a slow start at the start of the game, but we got the better of it towards the end.

What was the key to the team’s good start?

The chemistry of our team plays a huge role. Defensively, we are improving with every game. Everyone has so much heart and are very dedicated.

How did it go with new coach Jason Kerr?

It has definitely gained momentum. He works us and coaches us very well. He conditions us really well. He launches new offenses and makes us watch a movie. It prepares us for success.

Who would win a team-wide knockout match?

I’ll say Kate Myers. She’s our best shot, and she’s definitely the most competitive.

Do you have any pre-game routines or superstitions?

Before every game, I have to drink a Pepsi. It’s funny, because during the pre-game Coach Kerr says, “Are you serious, Kalleigh? “. But I have to drink a Pepsi. If I don’t have it, I’m not going to have a good game.

What gift do you want the most for Christmas?

I’ll say some Jordan 1 shoes. I want some pairs of shoes. I like the shoes.

What is your favorite school subject?

I am really into marketing and retail. This is my favorite class at the moment.

What are your hobbies outside of basketball?

I live in the gym. I like going out with my friends and we always play basketball. It’s pretty much our lives right now.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

Tags: Apollo-Ridge, Highlands


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