Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Fox Chapel's Matt D'Amico, Woodland Hills' Desiree Garland
School: Fox Chapel
Claim to fame: D'Amico, one of the top scorers in the WPIAL, scored 18 points for the Foxes (10-3, 5-1) in their 40-38 loss to Gateway on Jan. 8. D'Amico scored 36 points — his third 30-plus point performance in four games — in a 73-59 victory against Penn Hills on Jan. 4. A three-year starter, D'Amico has scored at least 20 points in all but three games this season.
“He brings a strong work ethic in from the summer and into the fall and has been a good leader for us,” coach Zach Skrinjar said. “Offensively, he can shoot on the move, shoot off the dribble, knock down the three. ... When you put that combination down, that's what separates the good ones from great ones.”
What are you doing to have all this success?
It basically all started in the offseason. I've been going to the gym every day, lifting and conditioning.
Coach Skrinjar said your work ethic has played a huge part in your success. Would you agree?
For sure. In the offseason it's definitely tough. You're working every day. You just want to get better. So that helps in the season. You can definitely tell which player puts in the extra work and which one just does the minimum.
What can we expect to see when you've had another summer to improve?
Definitely my defense. It isn't one of my strengths now, but that will be great if I can improve on that for next season.
What will Fox Chapel have to do to maintain its current position in the section?
The first time around in the section is tough, but the second time is tougher. We're going to have to keep playing the way we're playing. You're definitely going to have to step it up because teams start to know your plays and strengths and weaknesses.
School: Woodland Hills
Claim to fame: Garland scored 14 points and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career in the Wolverines' 58-46 loss to Franklin Regional on Jan. 11. Garland, averaging 17 points per game heading into the week, scored 12 points in the Wolverines?? 49-48 win over Norwin on Jan. 9 and had 15 in a 63-33 win over McKeesport on Jan. 4.
How special was it to reach the 1,000-point mark?
It's very special. I didn't even know that I was close until a week before that. My coach didn't want to tell me because she didn't want me to think about it too much.
What are your plans after high school?
I'm debating between running track and field or playing basketball. I'm not sure yet. I'll know in February. Pitt is the main school that I've heard from for track. That's where I want to go. I also heard from Seton Hill, Cal. U., and IUP.
Why are you opting for track over basketball?
Last year was the first time I ran track. I did really well. It just fits me better than basketball. I've gotten more letters from track and field, so it just seems like the better thing to do in the long run.
When you reflect on your four years at Woodland Hills, what moment will stand out?
When I played with my sister when I was a freshman and she was a senior. It was more fun to me because my sister was there. She helped me a lot. I don't think I would have been as good if she wasn't there my first year.
What do you have to do as a team to turn the season around?
We just need to come together as a team and work harder and support each other more.