Westmoreland High School Athletes of the Week: Week ending Dec. 18, 2021

Saturday, December 18, 2021 | 6:11 PM

Matthew Marinchak

School: Ligonier Valley

Sport: Basketball

Year: Senior

Claim to fame: Marinchak scored 36 points, including his 1,000th career point, hit four 3-pointers and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Ligonier Valley (2-3) to a 78-72 win over Valley in double overtime Dec. 11 in the consolation game of the Plum Tournament. Marinchak finished with game-high 19 points in a 74-44 loss to Greensburg Central Catholic in a nonsection game Dec. 14. Marinchak scored 33 points, including seven 3-pointers, and grabbed eight rebounds in an 81-57 win over Greensburg Salem on Dec. 18 at the WCCA Showcase at Hempfied.

“Started off a little slower than expected. We had two starters get hurt in the tournament, and other guys are stepping up in their absence. We won today, so I hope it boosts our confidence for Tuesday,” Marinchak said.

What are your college plans for next season and why?

I want to go play somewhere. There are a couple schools looking at me like Pitt-Greensburg, Waynesburg and Allegheny. I want to do what’s best for me and my family. I want to go somewhere with my major. I want to major in either early childhood education or criminal justice.

What does it mean to reach 1,000 points in your career?

It’s such an honor. We have a big banner at school, and I think I’m the 13th person to get it. I’m glad we won the game, which is the most important.

What’s it like to have you and Michael be the last two players at Ligonier Valley to reach 1,000 points?

It means a lot and shows how much work we put in during the offseason and the season. It got us far, so I hope it keeps going.

What did you work on during the offseason to get yourself ready for this year?

The first thing I did was work on little drills, like I set up a chair and did a couple moves. I would work on all the shots I take In the game. I watch what the pros do on YouTube, and I try to do it myself.

What are your personal goals for this season and why?

I want to win a ring and district title. My eighth-grade year, my brother won one. Now in the WPIAL, it would be a good honor to have.

Abby Mankins

School: Greensburg Salem

Sport: Basketball

Year: Senior

Claim to fame: Mankins scored 15 points, topping 1,000 for her career, to lead Greensburg Salem (6-0) to a 48-35 win over South Park on Dec. 16 at the KSA Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. Mankins scored 14 points in a 37-19 win over Mazie, Okla., on Dec. 18. Mankins scored 23 points for the Golden Lions in a 45-31 win over Connellsville in nonsection play Dec. 13. Mankins, a Seton Hill recruit, scored 21 points in a 48-30 win over Greensburg Central Catholic at the Greensburg Salem Tip-Off Tournament on Dec. 11.

“Our team is down in Orlando. I thought we played well and really hard. We went 3-0 in the tournament. We are making our shots and supporting each other,” she said.

What made you decide to commit to Seton Hill?

The coaching staff has always been very supportive and welcoming. As soon as I stepped on campus, it felt like home. I want to go into nursing. They were supportive of me doing that as well.

What does it mean to reach 1,000 points in your career?

It felt like a nice accomplishment. I felt happy that all the hard work you put in came to use. It’s hard to put into words.

What did you work on during the offseason to get yourself ready for this year?

I worked on a lot of ball-handling and shooting. I was working on mentally being excited and giving it my all. It’s my last year. I’m going to be playing for the last time with people I’ve played with since the third grade. I have nothing to lose, so I want to go out and play hard every game.

What has been your favorite moment throughout your high school career and why?

One of my favorite moments is when we get a big win against someone and we are celebrating in the locker room with Coach K (Rick Klimchock) and my teammates.

What are your personal goals for this season and why?

I want to make the playoffs. I think our section is tough, but every game is winnable. We want to make a playoff run and leave it all on the floor this year.

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