Valley News Dispatch Spotlight Athletes: St. Joseph's John Arcuri, Apollo-Ridge's Ashley Emminger
School: St. Joseph
Report card: Through his first four games, the guard was averaging a local-best 29.0 points, including a season-high 31 in an 88-69 loss to Perry. He was 47 for 57 from the free-throw line entering Tuesday night's game.
Are you surprised by your proficiency this year?
“We're a young team. When the time came, I realized I had to step up a little more. There's more pressure on me now. The section games are coming up, and we'd like to get some wins, and I know teams are going to be putting more pressure on me.”
Is the role you're in one you expected?
“I knew coming into the season I was going to have to step up and be a leader. Last season, we had myself and Mike Connelly. Now that he graduated, I'm the only one left who had significant varsity time.”
Did you put in a lot of work in the offseason?
“I worked out every day with a few coaches (in the area). Ron McNabb from Knoch was one of my coaches. George Abraham and George Cameron from Butler worked me out on Sundays.”
J&S Pizza, which recently was damaged by fire, was a popular hangout for kids. Did you go there a lot?
“Every day after school we'd go there before practice. That was the hangout spot for a lot of us and kids from Highlands. I just thank God everyone got out safe and no one was hurt.”
Have you thought about a place you might meet now?
“I haven't even thought about that yet. We're off school right now. We might just hang around (the gym) since that was our main place to hang out. (J&S) treated us so well.”
Report card: The 5-foot-9 forward is averaging 18.6 points and is the leader of the 4-1 girls basketball team.
Do you have any pregame ritual?
“Before games, we dance. We play music in the locker room. For tough games, I curl my hair for good luck.”
What goes through your head when you're making all your shots and you're in the zone?
“I feel really happy and unstoppable. It makes me want to just keep pushing forward and work on something else and try something new. I like to switch it up.”
Here's the scenario: It's a last-second shot where a 2-pointer ties it or a 3-pointer wins it. Which shot do you take?
“The 2-pointer. I'm not the type to shoot 3s. I like to take it to the hoop. There's more of a possibility of it going in.”
Anything else you excel at besides basketball?
“I do enjoy school and I get good grades. I enjoy hunting and fishing.”
What are you plans after high school?
“My dream is to play basketball in college. I don't know if I can get there. I need to work a little harder and I'll get there. I want to own my business when I get out of college. I want to travel the world.”