A-K Valley Athletes of the Week: Leechburg’s Connor McDermott, Burrell’s Carlee Hummel

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019 | 6:58 PM


Connor McDermott

School: Leechburg

Class: Junior

Sport: Basketball

Report card: McDermott put up a game-high 17 points to help guide No. 9 seed Leechburg (13-9) to a 59-40 win over No. 8 Bishop Canevin in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs. A first-year starter for the Blue Devils, the 6-foot shooting guard has eight double-digit scoring performances this season, including a season-high 30 points against Saltsburg. McDermott also played wide receiver and cornerback on the Leechburg football team.

How long have you played basketball?

Since kindergarten. Whenever Damian Davies was coach, he held a summer camp.

How did it feel to pick up the win over Bishop Canevin last Friday?

It felt good. We spent the majority of the week before that breaking down film and their players.

How prepared were the Blue Devils going into the game against the Crusaders?

Coach Corey (Smith) breaks down literally everything they do. Our junior varsity team ran the actual defensive and offensive plays. We knew exactly what they were going to do.

How long did it take to heal from the tough overtime loss to Section 3 rival St. Joseph in the season finale?

Coach Corey said give it 24 hours because we’ve got to get back to business and playoffs.

What did this team learn in the St. Joseph loss?

Try and get better at holding leads after halftime. Take care of the ball better, come out in the third quarter stronger and with more energy.

If Leechburg and St. Joseph win Thursday, they’ll meet again in the semifinals. What are your thoughts on a “rubber match”?

That would be awesome. We have a huge task ahead of us against Vincentian.

What do you know about No. 1 seed Vincentian?

They have an athletic big guy who is like 6-foot-6. They have a pretty good guards and a lot of shooters.

What’s it going to take to beat Vincentian?

It’s going to have to be our best game all year. I don’t think there’s any other way to put it.

Vincentian had a bye. What’s your opinion on first-round byes in the playoffs?

I think they work for it, and they probably deserve it. There’s a disadvantage for them, too, because they get a week off without a game.

Three out of four Section 3-A playoff teams made it through to the quarterfinals. Do you think the section was underrated during the regular season?

The other sections have one good team at the top, and they dominate the section. We could’ve had a three-way tie at first place in ours if we would’ve won against St. Joseph.

Who is the comedian on the team?

Probably John Wagner. Him or Peyton Martinka. They’re both out there.

Who is the most underrated player on the team?

Eli Rich. You don’t expect that much skill from a freshman. He’s gonna be good. He has a future.

Do you have a favorite basketball movie?

“Semi-Pro.”

What are your favorite NBA and college teams?

The Boston Celtics, and I sound like I’m on the bandwagon but Duke.

Is there a NBA player who you model your game after?

Probably the closet one is Klay Thompson. He’s kind of a spot-up shooter.

What three words best describe you?

Hardworking. Determined. Motivated.

What three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with?

Kyrie Irving, Kendrick Lamar and Klay Thompson.

What is your favorite subject at school?

Math, calculus.

What is something interesting about you that people don’t know?

I flunked my driver’s test like four times. It was because of parallel parking.

Carlee Hummel

School: Burrell

Class: Senior

Sport: Bowling

Report card: Hummel helped lead the Bucs to a WPIBL girls team championship win over defending champion Butler last Thursday. A two-year starter, she led the Bucs with a 536 series to guide Burrell to a No. 1 seed in the final round of the WPIBL championships. Hummel was tops in the WPIBL Northeast Division in high series (719), high game (269) and average (202.8).

How did you get started bowling?

My brother used to be in a league, and so was my sister, and since you had to be 4 to start and I was only 3, they just allowed me to do the bumper bowling since I was always there.

How did it feel to avenge last year’s loss to Butler and beat the Golden Tornado for this year’s championship?

Oh man, it was great. I have friends on the Butler team. This year it was really great to be able to do that.

How exciting was the third and final game?

It was crazy. I wanted to cry.

Were there tears when Burrell clinched the win?

When Lydia Flanagan threw a strike in the ninth frame, she jumped into my arms.

What’s the one thing you learned coming out of the team championships tourney?

I leaned that no matter what, if you’re having a hard time you’re there as a team and you need to pick each other up.

Are you prepared for Thursday’s WPIBL girls singles championships at Sim’s Bowling Lanes in Beaver Falls?

I think so.

How was the “middle road” oil pattern that was laid down for the championships?

It was very different than how we practiced it.

How tough was the WPIBL Northeast division this year?

Our biggest competition was Armstrong and Kiski and there were a few close calls. Armstrong was the only team that we lost games to.

How many games a week do you bowl?

I probably bowl around 15 to 18 games a week.

Do you have any perfect games to your credit?

Only one, but it was in practice. I have had two 278s, though.

What’s the secret to bowling a strike?

Being consistent and being able to hit your mark.

What kind of ball do you use?

My favorite is the “Matrix.” I just like the reaction that it gets.

Where is your favorite place to bowl?

Nesbit Lanes. Those are the lanes I grew up at.

What’s the most difficult spare for you to pick up?

Probably the 3-6-10.

What three people would you like to have dinner with?

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (bowler), Emily Blunt.

What is your favorite subject at school?

History.

Do you have plans to bowl in college?

Yes, at Culver-Stockton (Mo.). I got a letter of intent from the college for academics. I looked it up, and they had bowling and my major (studio art).

What is something interesting about you that nobody knows?

I love creative writing, short stories and stuff. I have a folder with different short stories that I’ve written.

William Whalen is a freelance writer.

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