Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Lincoln Park's Elijah Minnie, Vincentian's Brenna Wise
School: Lincoln Park
Claim to fame: Minnie had a triple-double with 26 points, 13 blocked shots and 10 rebounds in a 99-58 win over Wilkinsburg in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals on Friday. He had 24 points and 10 rebounds in a 95-37 first-round win over Mapletown on Feb. 19. Minnie, a Monessen native, has played only about half the season for the Leopards after he was ruled ineligible by the WPIAL following his transfer from Summit Academy. He won an appeal to the PIAA in January.
How happy are you with how you've played in the limited time on the court?
I think I really fit well here at Lincoln Park. I can either play the four or the five. The numbers all are because of my team. Without them I can't play this way. All the credit goes to them.
What's it like to be past the eligibility issues?
It feels pretty good. At first, I was upset that I couldn't play. We fought to the end to get me eligible. I knew I had to prove people wrong and a lot to show everyone.
Do you feel any added pressure being the top seed?
Personally, I've always been on a team that other teams wanted to beat. I don't feel any pressure. I take it as people want to beat you so we're doing something right.
How good can Lincoln Park be next year?
Basically, coming in midway through the year, we had to build chemistry. Next year will be amazing. We're gonna lose some seniors, but this team's going to work hard and win with the five on the court.
Claim to fame: Wise scored a team-high 24 points and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in her young career to lead the Royals to 76-59 a win over Winchester Thurston in the Class A quarterfinals Saturday. Wise scored 18 in a 59-15 win over West Greene in the first round Feb. 20.
“She's a great teammate and she plays the game with a lot of intensity in practice and games,” coach Roan Moncrief said. “She brings that heart and she pushes her teammates to get better as well.”
How did it feel to top the 1,000-point mark in the playoffs?
It was something special. I didn't think I could do it. I have so much thanks to give to Coach Moncrief and my team. I'm so blessed.
Is the reality of a WPIAL title creeping into your head?
I believe any team can beat any team on any given night. I don't want to be that team that gets beat. So we have to keep playing our game and play up-tempo and I think we'll go far.
Playing such a big role, what would you tell younger girls in a similar position?
I'd just let them know that everyone has a role on the team. Hopefully, I found mine. It's about taking it one day at a time and making the most of it.
What aspect of your game do you hope to improve?
I'd like to be more of a threat from the perimeter. My handles need to improve if I want to play at the next level.
What's something people may not know about you?
I sleep a lot. I try to get 12 hours a night.