Kittanning's Henry, West Shamokin's Glover named Leader Times players of the year
Appropriate in light of his first name, Sterling Henry's senior-season performance will remain radiant for years to come.
The keystone of a Kittanning team that went 20-5 and won two playoff games for the first time since 1925, Henry was a star even as he actively focused more on his defense and rebounding than his scoring.
A 6-foot-4 swingman and three-year starter, Henry concluded his final season as the team leader in points (18.4), steals (3.6) and blocks (2.6) per game. He also averaged 3.5 assists, third-best among the Wildcats, and 7.2 rebounds, second-best on the team.
His career total of 1,084 points ranks second all-time in Kittanning history.
For his all-around abilities and his central role in Kittanning's memorable season, Henry is the Leader Times' Boys Player of the Year in 2013.
Henry continues to debate where he will play basketball in college. His top choices include Thiel, La Roche and Edinboro, as well as several NAIA schools located in the Dakotas.
How often have people asked you about colleges and where you plan to go?
A lot. … I kind of like it, because they are interested in where I'm going.
Were you impressed by what you were able to do? Did you think you'd be such a dominant player?
No, I figured I'd just be another basketball player coming out of Kittanning, like no one would really recognize me. But people have, mostly because we made it that far in the playoffs.
A lot of guys on the team took big steps forward this season. Who really impressed you?
Probably Alek (Schaffer). He stepped up big in the playoffs and made those four free throws (against Central Valley in the first round). I thought maybe the pressure would get to him, and he'd miss those. But he came on strong and made them all.
What would you say was the best dunk of your career?
Probably my 1,000th point one (a breakaway slam).
How far along has your dunking ability come at practice?
I can throw it off the glass and dunk it. I can throw it off the ground, off the glass and then dunk it. I did a 360.
Were you ever tempted to try a fancier dunk in a game?
If we were up big, I would've done it. But I never got a chance when we were up big.
Did you get to keep or even want the supersized cutout of your head the student section took everywhere?
No, I did not. It was all messed up. It kind of got destroyed a little bit. It didn't stay together well.
Factoring in gender, who's a better athlete, you or your girlfriend (senior softball and volleyball player Nellie Toy)?
I don't know. … If I say me, she'll beat me up.
Are you a Gatorade or a Powerade guy? And what's your favorite flavor?
Gatorade. I like the blue or purple.
What's the best place to eat in Armstrong County?
What's one sport in which you're horrible?
Golf. Every time I drive, it just doesn't go straight.
Her schools changed, and her roles on the teams shifted, but Jill Glover continued to thrive on the basketball court.
Glover, a two-year starter at West Shamokin and two-year starter at now-defunct Elderton, gave both programs an enviable weapon: A 6-foot player who knew how to operate in the paint as well as out at the perimeter.
The Wolves finished 12-11 and made their second playoff appearance in program history with considerable help from Glover, who had team-high averages in points (18.7), rebounds (9.9), blocks (2.0) and steals (2.7).
Glover, who loves basketball but will play volleyball at Edinboro, is the clear choice for the Leader Times' Girls Player of the Year in 2013.
If you had to retire one of your jerseys in an Armstrong County hall of fame, which one would you pick?
I'd probably pick my West Shamokin one. I started my varsity career there, and I also ended it there, so I think that'd be the right decision to make.
When you reflect back on your season and career now, what stands out?
I'm really happy that I got 1,000 points. It made me feel like I gave hope to the girls that they can do it, too. There weren't girls who had 1,000 points at West Shamokin. I want to leave West Shamokin with them having an even stronger team. And I like that I got to play at Elderton and West Shamokin. When you play on a different team, you have to adjust to playing with new people, so I like that I got to make new friends.
How often did you think about improving the credibility of girls basketball at your school?
I feel like everyone takes girls basketball as a joke, and that was one thing that I wanted to change. People can take us seriously. We can play just like the boys. We made it as far as the boys in playoffs. I just don't like when everyone says, “Oh, girls basketball is a joke.” I feel like with the teams I've been on and the coaches we've had, we've proven that it's not just a little girls' game.
What are the advantages of being a tall girl in high school, both in sports and outside of them?
It helps a lot for basketball, obviously, because there aren't that many big girls in our section. And for volleyball, it helped, too. I guess I got a lot of attention sometimes (outside of sports). … When I first went to West Shamokin for orientation, I was just known as “the tall girl.” Like, they'd ask, “Is the tall girl coming here?”
How long have you been “the tall girl?”
I've probably been tall compared to all the other girls since elementary school.
And how long until most guys caught up to you?
Maybe sophomore, junior year.
What are the disadvantages of being a tall girl?
Finding jeans that fit and don't look like sweat pants.
First team selections
Ford City, sr., guard
Leader of young, inexperienced team paced Sabers in scoring at 15.9 points per game. A Cager Classic selection.
Freeport, sr., guard
Multi-sport star used impressive speed to attack lanes and score 19.8 points per game and earn All-Section 1-AAA honors.
Kittanning, sr., forward
A 6-foot-6 monster in the middle of Kittanning's 2-3 zone defense, he led team with 7.6 rebounds per game and averaged 8.1 points.
Kittanning, sr., guard/forward
All-Section 1-AA selection averaged 19.2 points per game, surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career and set the school's single-game scoring record with 40 points in a win over WPIAL finalist Burrell.
Apollo-Ridge, so., guard
Do-it-all led Vikings in points (10.9), rebounds (8.5), assists (4.6), steals (2.8) and blocks (1.5) per game. Earned All-Section 1-AA honors.
Freeport, sr., guard
A steady presence in the post and an All-Section 1-AAA selection, she finished with team-highs in scoring (14.1) and rebounds (8.9).
Ford City, jr., forward
Effective in the paint, the 5-foot-10 All-Section 1-AA selection averaged 14.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Ford City, so., guard/forward
Versatile 5-foot-8 combo guard combined with Cujas for one-two punch and averaged 9.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3 assists and 3.1 steals per game.
Redbank Valley, fr., guard
Shifty 5-foot-6 playmaker earned third-team all-state honors after averaging 20.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game to fuel Redbank Valley's turnaround season.
Kittanning, jr., guard
All-Section 1-AAA selection averaged 12.1 points per game, served as a lockdown defender, and remained sturdy as injuries plagued Kittanning's lineup.
Second team selections
BoysZane Clowser, West Shamokin, jr., guard
Jake Iellimo, Leechburg, jr., forward
Josh Reynolds, Apollo-Ridge, sr., guard
Alex Schaffer, Kittanning, jr., guard
Jesse Sequeira, Ford City, jr., guard
GirlsKelly Clowser, West Shamokin, jr., guard
Ashley Emminger, Apollo-Ridge, jr., forward
Annie Hegedus, Karns City, so., guard
LeAnn Gibson, Karns City, fr., forward
Alaina Thomas, Kittanning, so., guard