A-K Valley athletes of the week: Burrell’s Riley Sterlitz, Fox Chapel’s Eli Yofan

Saturday, February 12, 2022 | 5:57 PM

Riley Sterlitz

Class: Junior

School: Burrell

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Sterlitz helped Burrell close the season strong with three section wins in one week. She had a team-high 23 points to help Burrell upend Derry, 51-43, on Monday and 11 points in a 60-16 win over Valley on Wednesday. The Bucs topped Valley, 59-30, in a rematch Thursday.

How did it feel to help the team earn three section wins in four days?

It felt really good. I feel like our team is starting to click, and those were some big team wins for us. Unfortunately the season is coming to an end right when we’re starting to jell, but I think it will impact us next year.

What can you take from those last few games with you into next season?

We’ve been focusing on rebounding, and we’ve really stepped up our game with boxing out. We’ve been cutting down our turnovers, which is a big factor in winning.

What was it like working with new coach Shaun Reddick this season?

I really like playing for him. He brings a lot of energy to our team in practices and games. He has an aggressive style of defense, which has helped us. He pushes us to up our level and encourages us to get there.

Do you have a favorite basketball player that you look up to?

My favorite basketball player has always been Michael Jordan. Watching the old games and videos, you see that he was an overall great team player.

Do you have any pregame routines or superstitions?

I always have to eat a GoGo Squeez applesauce, and I just listen to music to get into game mode. I don’t like to eat a lot before games, so I just decided to eat applesauce.

What are your hobbies outside of basketball?

I play on an AAU team called Team Hustle, so that keeps me busy. I like to hang out with friends, work out and I enjoy going on vacation. My favorite place I’ve visited so far is Los Angeles.

Eli Yofan

Class: Senior

School: Fox Chapel

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Yofan broke the school record for career points and scored 17 in a 71-34 win over Norwin on Tuesday. He has 1,449 points, topping the previous mark set by Matt D’Amico in 2014. He also helped the Foxes clinch the Section 3-6A title with 21 points in a 75-65 win over Central Catholic.

Yofan played on the Fox Chapel golf team in the fall, finishing tied for second at WPIALs and tied for fourth at the Class 3A PIAA championship.

How did it feel become Fox Chapel’s all-time leading scorer?

It’s pretty cool. I didn’t know what the record was until about 10 games ago. Our stat keeper, Gabe Skrinjar, told me what it was. When I found out, I knew I could get close if not break it. I just took the approach that if happens, it happens, but more importantly we just want to win. For it to happen on our home floor and win our ninth section game was pretty cool. Matt D’Amico was at the game, so that was cool, too.

What did you do to celebrate the accomplishment?

We had a celebration at my buddy’s house, who is on the team. All my family was there, and the five seniors on the team were there.

What part of your game has improved the most since freshman year?

Definitely shooting, for sure. It was just countless days and hours just shooting, perfecting my form and all the muscle memory that goes with it. It was a lot of practice and repetition.

What makes Fox Chapel a consistent contender?

I’ve been playing basketball with Jake (DeMotte), Russell (Fenton) and J.P. (Dockey) since third grade. We’ve been doing it for so long that the chemistry has been there. Ever since freshman year, all of our success has been predicated on our defense. We take a lot of pride in that and having discipline. Those are the keys to success.

Do you have any pregame routines or superstitions?

The only thing I do is take a nap before every game.

What are your hobbies outside of basketball and playing on the golf team?

I played on the volleyball team. That was a good time. I like to play Xbox and hang out with friends. I also enjoy going to Pitt basketball games.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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