Westmoreland athletes of the week: Yough’s Gamal Marballie and Greensburg Salem’s Abby Mankins

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019 | 7:38 PM


Gamal Marballie

School: Yough

Sport: Basketball

Year: Junior

Claim to fame: Marballie scored 22 points to lead Yough (2-0) to a 48-44 win over Brownsville in the Brownsville Tournament on Dec. 6. Marballie led Yough with 16 points in a 48-45 win over Chartiers-Houston on Dec. 7.

“It means a lot. We worked really hard during the offseason. I hope it all pays off at the end. It means a lot to me and the team to come out and win games,” Marballie said.

What were you working on to get yourself ready for the basketball season?

Lifting weights, getting my shots up and building a bond with my teammates. I’ve been trying to make sure I stayed in shape with my conditioning.

What are your goals for this season?

I want to end the playoff drought and show what we can do as a team. I think we have a lot talent, and we can get it done.

What would it mean to lead Yough to the WPIAL playoffs?

It would mean a lot. It’s been a little bit since we made it to the playoffs. It would be nice to see all the hard work pay off by making the playoffs.

What’s your favorite sport, football or basketball, and why?

I like them equally for a lot different reasons. I like the hitting in football. Both build brotherhood, but football is harder work with a lot passion behind it. With basketball, you have to stay in shape.

How is everything this year in the second year of the second stint for coach Jim Nesser?

We’re all really comfortable with coach. We’re like a second family. We can go to him for anything.

•••

Abby Mankins

School: Greensburg Salem

Sport: Basketball

Year: Sophomore

Claim to fame: Mankins finished with 21 points, five rebounds, five assists and seven steals to lead Greensburg Salem (2-0) to a 62-31 win over Ligonier Valley in the Greensburg Salem Tournament on Dec. 6. She had 26 points, six rebounds, four assists and five steals in the 41-37 win over Derry on Dec. 7.

“I played good. We’re young this year and hoping to surprise some teams. We are going to need to outwork and shock some teams to have a good season,” Mankins said.

What did the team learn from the first-round loss to McKeesport in the WPIAL playoffs last season?

That was a tough loss. It was heartbreaking. It was a good learning experience that some things aren’t going to go your way. We learned to play through it, to keep battling and fighting, and we grew stronger from it.

What did you learn after making key contributions during your freshman year?

Last year, the seniors were really encouraging to me. They were telling me to not be afraid to shoot out there. A lot of us have to step up this year and be a leader for the younger ones.

What were you working on to get yourself for the basketball season?

A lot of ball-handling. I was working on my shot a lot to get it off quicker and down more. Also, I was working on my leadership and being more confident because the younger ones will be looking at me and the rest of the sophomores for guidance.

Your coach says you’re highly competitive and unselfish. Where do you get that mentality?

My parents have taught me to not be afraid to take my shots, but also they taught me that one person can’t do it all by themselves. I guess it runs in the family. It’s how I’ve been taught.

Who’s your favorite athlete and why?

Klay Thompson. He does it all. He’s a great teammate. He can dribble, shoot, rebound and is a great defender.

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