Daily News Spotlight Athletes: East Allegheny's Joel Randolph, Norwin's Alayna Gribble
School: East Allegheny
Claim to fame: Randolph drained 28 points to help East Allegheny pile up 80 points in a 42-point blowout of Yough in nonsection play Jan. 24. The 6-foot-3 senior leads the Wildcats (8-9, 3-5) in scoring with 12.3 points per game.
“Joel is right where we expected him to be,” coach Vernon Benson said. “He had knee surgery his sophomore year and missed the whole season. He played some AAU in the summer and is still working to get better and stronger. He's a long kid, and rebounding is really his biggest strength. He's a pretty good shot blocker as well. We don't keep track, but I'll bet he averages two or three a game.”
What was the worst part of missing your sophomore season?
It was tough. I missed being with and playing with my team. It was bad. We were coming together in ninth grade, and I missed out on a lot of that chemistry.
How did you stay focused while you weren't able to play?
I just watched as much as I could. I watched half the season, but once I had the surgery I couldn't anymore. I had to stay at home afterward to rest. I didn't want to do that, but I had to. It wasn't fun.
How long have you been playing basketball?
I've been playing since I was 10 years old. I got into it because of my cousin, Kevin Price. I always wanted to be like him when I was a kid. He's a role model.
If you could play anyone one-on-one, who would it be and why?
I'd play Kobe Bryant because I've always looked up to him. I've always wanted to be like him, and that always made me try to work harder as I got older.
Claim to fame: Gribble scored 21 points in a 65-33 victory over Section 1-AAAA foe Latrobe last week and collected another 15 in a 56-49 defeat of Kiski Area earlier this month. The freshman is one of Class AAAA's leading scorers at 15.5 points per game.
“She is the complete package,” coach Brian Brozeski said. “She can shoot from the outside, penetrate and finish, and she's not afraid to post her defender up. She can take a dribble and step back and shoot as well. She has a good arsenal and has grown a lot just this year. She really has progressed.”
Your coach described you as possessing the complete package on offense. What do you like to do most on the offensive end?
I like shooting or driving to the hoop. I try to do one of those. I just love to shoot, and I like to beat the defender off the dribble.
What did you expect to accomplish in your freshman year?
I wanted to play varsity and try to start. I have done both, so I consider this season to have been a success so far. Now, I want our team to grow together and to bond so we can stay strong and be able to compete as a team.
Do you feel more pressure because you're a freshman?
Not really because I do well under pressure, and I'm just used to it.
Do you find playing on the offensive or defensive side of the court more enjoyable?
I really couldn't say. They're both important to the game. One is not more important than the other.
What's your favorite movie?
I like the “Devil Wears Prada.”
How do you prepare for a tough opponent?
I don't approach all opponents the same. I prepare myself mentally and just think of who we are playing and how I can prepare to do my best and play my hardest.
What do you like to do outside of school and basketball?
In my free time I like to play volleyball. I am going to try out for the freshman volleyball team in the spring. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends.
— Robert Stinner