AK Valley High School Athletes of the Week: Week ending December 18, 2021


Saturday, December 18, 2021 | 6:19 p.m.

Ryan lang

Class: Senior

School: Knoch

Sport: Basketball

Report Card: Lang topped 1,000 career points with a 39-point effort in a 66-52 victory over Latrobe. He averaged 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists last year and was a Valley News Dispatch First Team All-Star.

How did you feel about going over 1000 points for your career?

It was a big step for me to take. I was proud of myself to have reached this point, because only six people, including me, reached (1000 points). It’s a great honor to be listed up there with them.

What did the team learn from playing tough competitions, such as defending Class 5A State Champion Cathedral Prep, Latrobe and Hampton?

We wanted to play better teams, so that we could improve and understand the obstacles before reaching the section where we really need to step up and freeze as a team. It gave us some adversity to overcome and we are making progress to be a better basketball team.

Do you have university projects?

I want to major in business with a minor in biology, but I don’t know where I want to go yet. I’m still working on it.

Who would win a team-wide knockout match?

We certainly have some good shooters this year, but I would win. I wouldn’t want to let my teammates win because we are a fairly competitive group. Yet it would be close.

Do you have pre-game routines or superstitions?

I used to eat a packet of mustard for the cramps, but I stopped doing it. One game, I put my basketball bag down, I kept the mustard sachets in it and someone stepped on it. You can imagine what a mess it was. It wasn’t fun to clean up.

What gift do you want the most for Christmas?

I haven’t thought about it too much but probably new clothes or shoes. I like to collect shoes. (Nike) Air Max are probably my favorite shoes.

What is your favorite school subject?

Right now, I really like the story. Mr. King teaches it, and he’s a pretty cool guy. I like him very much as a teacher.

What are your hobbies outside of basketball?

I like going out with friends, fishing, lifting and watching TV.

Elsie Smith

Class: Junior

School: Fox Chapel

Sport: Basketball

Bulletin: Smith scored 30 points to help Fox Chapel pass Shaler, 56-53, in double overtime. She made four 3-pointers and converted 16 of 20 free throws to the win. Smith is the Foxes’ only returning starter this season.

How did you feel about helping the team win a tight double overtime game at the start of the season?

It was really nerve-racking and intense, but I’m glad we finished ahead because Shaler is a Big 6A school and a good team. They have very good players, and the fact that we won really shows our ability.

How did it go with a younger team after losing some key players following graduation?

It has been a learning experience as two of our newbies are first year students and two are second year students. Freshmen aren’t used to playing at the college level, but the Shaler game showed them how intense and fun it is to play in those close matches and come out on top. I have the impression that it will give them more confidence for the future.

Where do you think your natural ability to be a vocal leader comes from?

I think I’ve always had it, but when I played AAU (for Slaam basketball) in grades five through ninth, my coach (Jamal Woodson) was a very vocal person. He taught us not to be shy about being loud on the court and that it is better to be loud than quiet.

Who would win a team-wide knockout match?

I would give it to Brooke Fenton, one of our early years. She’s a really good shooter and she knows very well where her rebounds are going, so with a knockout she would still be where the ball is. She is very competitive.

Do you have pre-game routines or superstitions?

I always wear a collar during warm-ups and before every game I give it to our assistant coach Britta (Emberg) to wear. When she’s not wearing it, we don’t normally win, so I always do my best to make sure I give it to her.

What gift do you want the most for Christmas?

I just asked for clothes, but if I could have anything it would be a Keurig because I’m a coffee addict.

What is your favorite school subject?

Any math or science. I’m more of a math and science girl than an English or history person.

What are your hobbies outside of basketball?

I love going out with my friends, and every Sunday my family gets together to watch the Steelers games. We’re big Steelers fans back home.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

Tags: Kiski Area, Knoch

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