Westmoreland athletes of the week: Yough’s Autumn Matthews, Southmoreland’s Ty Keffer

Saturday, December 9, 2023 | 7:19 PM

Autumn Matthews

School: Yough

Class: Senior

Sport: Basketball

Claim to fame: Matthews helped lead Yough (3-1) to a fast start, which included a pair of wins and a championship at the Deer Lakes tip-off tournament. She had 13 points in a 53-13 win over Valley, and chipped in eight in a 33-20 win over Deer Lakes.

She produced 16 points, seven rebounds and five steals and went 7 for 7 from the field in a 57-11 win over East Allegheny.

Matthews, who is playing point guard this season, added 19 points and 15 rebounds in a 32-28 loss to Mt. Pleasant on Thursday.

What led to Yough’s fast start?

Teamwork and hustle. We’re more in shape than we were last year.

Have you taken on a greater leadership role as a senior?

I have, yes. I know my teammates look up to me. I used to look up to Laney (Gerdich).

What has new coach Brian Znavor brought to the program?

A faster playing style, and we’re pressuring teams more.

Has your role in the offense changed from last season?

Yes. I am more of a ball handler. I am outside more, which is a big change.

Yough made the playoffs last year. Did the momentum carry over?

Our goals are the same. We want to make it past the first round. Maybe even win the section.

Are you and your brother, Austin (a senior basketball player at Yough), competitive with each other? What is an example?

We used to play one-on-one all the time. Now it’s about who gets better grades or who has more points and rebounds.

Have you ever beaten him at one-on-one?

I have. I made a lot of left-handed layups. I beat him before he was super tall.

What do you think of Yough’s new gym floor?

It’s nice. But it attracts bugs. Yuck. There were a lot of dead flies. It’s easier to see in there now. It’s not that dingy orange any more.

Do you plan to play basketball in college?

Yes. I have offers to play at Bethany, Geneva, Chatham and Pitt-Greensburg.

What do you want for Christmas?

Well, I want to say a car. But that’s not going to happen, so I’d say this pair of New Balance shoes.

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

“Home Alone.”

What gets you pumped up for a game?

Listening to music. Just knowing it is game day.

Did Yough have a powder puff football game, and did you play?

Yes, we lost. I was the QB. It was hard. I threw one touchdown pass.

Any unique hobbies or talents?

I used to play the trumpet, then I switched to the baritone (horn). I’m in chorus, and I like to sing.

Will you be singing the National Anthem at a game this year?

There is talk of me singing at senior night, but I doubt that is going to happen.

Ty Keffer

School: Southmoreland

Class: Senior

Sport: Basketball

Claim to Fame: The 6-foot-3 senior guard is a three-sport athlete for the Scotties. He also plays football and baseball. Keffer scored 56 points in two games this week, including 30 against Greensburg Salem. He’s getting inquires from Division II and III schools for football and from Pitt-Greensburg in basketball.

Are you surprised how many looks you’re getting for football?

I consider myself a basketball player. I’m kind of surprised I’m getting looks for football.

Are you surprised how well you did playing football?

For only playing football for two seasons, I was surprised how well I did.

What sport do you prefer?

I like them all. I’m competitive, and I hate to lose in anything. I like basketball the best.

Who got you started in playing basketball, and how old were you when he started?

I was probably 6 or 7. My dad (Lonnie) got me started. I come from a family who love sports.

What do you remember about basketball when you started?

I think my first shot missed everything. I think I hit the backboard.

What’s your most memorable game in football?

It has to be the six-touchdown game I had against Greensburg Salem. Someone talked trash on me during my first touchdown. After that I told my coach to throw me the ball.

How about you most memorable game in basketball?

Probably my 45-point effort against Derry last year.

What are the goals this season?

The goal is to make the playoffs. We missed out the last two seasons. We were beating Elizabeth Forward by 17 points my sophomore year and lost and missed the playoffs, and last year we lost a game to Yough that kept us out.

Do you have a favorite NBA player?

I like the way Kevin Durant plays. He talks a lot, and I like it.

Do you have a favorite college team?

Not really, but it probably is Pitt-Greensburg.

Do you talk a lot during a game?

Only of my opponent starts it first. It motivates me when they start talking trash.

Do you have a favorite restaurant?

I like Aumer’s or Carson’s. I love their Mozzarella sticks.

Sheetz or Get-Go?

Sheetz for its appetizer special.

What’s your favorite meal your mom makes?

I like her popcorn chicken bowl with mashed potatoes and corn.

Did you play travel basketball?

No. I don’t feel it helps you become a better player. I don’t think they try sometimes. I’d rather work out on my own.

What shoe do you like?

The Nike GT Cut 2.0.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere in Florida on the beach.

Is there a place you’d like to visit?

I think Colorado would be nice.

The best high school player you played against?

There are a few: Rodney Gallagher, Quinton Martin, Andre DeShields and Terek Crosby.

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and what would you talk about?

Kobe Bryant, and we’d talk about his career.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.


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