Westmoreland H.S. athletes of the week: Monessen’s Lorenzo Gardner and Southmoreland’s Gracie Spadaro

Saturday, January 22, 2022 | 5:17 PM

Lorenzo Gardner

School: Monessen

Sport: Basketball

Year: Sophomore

Claim to fame: Gardner scored a game-high 25 points to lead Monessen (9-4, 4-0) to an 81-68 win over East Allegheny in nonsection play Friday. Earlier in the week, Gardner led all scorers with 19 points in a 66-35 win over Frazier in Section 4-2A action Tuesday.

“I feel we’re going to be good this season as long as we keep working,” Gardner said.

What did the team learn or change after losing the first three games to start the season?

We got our point guard back, and we started running our sets.

What would it mean to lead Monessen to their first section title since 2018-19?

It’s only going to be the start of things. I think it’s going to lead to bigger things.

What’s the biggest goal you set for yourself heading into this season, and how do you think you’re progressing with that goal?

I wanted to come in and start. I wanted to be better all-around and help win games. Last year, I didn’t get to play much, and I wanted to put my school’s name where it needs to be.

How would you describe your style of play on the court?

I can play all-around. I can score and rebound.

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

Basketball. I will always like football, though. I feel like I’m better at basketball, but there’s always room for improvement.

Gracie Spadaro

School: Southmoreland

Sport: Basketball

Year: Senior

Claim to fame: Spadaro, an IUP commit, finished with 13 points to lead Southmoreland (11-2, 5-1) to a 47-13 win over Yough in Section 3-4A win Wednesday. With her performance, Spadaro eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in her career. Spadaro scored 19 points to lead Southmoreland to a 43-40 nonsection win over McKeesport in nonsection play Jan. 15. Spadaro then added 15 points in a 50-26 win over Mt. Pleasant in section play Saturday.

“Going into McKeesport, I wanted to just win the game, and the points didn’t matter to me. I knew I was two points away before the Yough game. I wanted to get it out of the way, and I took the first shot and it went in,” Spadaro said.

What made you decide to commit to IUP?

I fell in love with the coaching staff and felt at home. I want to go for nursing, and they have a well-established nursing program.

What did it feel like to reach the 1,000-point mark with your mom on the coaching staff?

It means a lot. Words can’t describe it. I always have looked up to her, but I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and teammates.

How does it feel that both of you reached the 1,000-point mark for Southmoreland in your careers?

She always has trained me. It has always been something I wanted to do. It was special to share the moment with her.

What did the team learn from the semifinal loss to Quaker Valley in the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs last year?

We have to keep up the intensity and keep up the defense. Whenever shots aren’t falling, we have to get to the rim. We can’t give up and continue to fight.

How do you think this year’s team is different from previous seasons?

We all have a little more experience and chemistry with all of us returning from last year. I feel like we are a little quicker than last year.

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