Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: North Allegheny's Sean Hennigan, South Park's Allison McGrath
School: North Allegheny
Claim to fame: Hennigan scored a game-high 22 points to help the Tigers recover from a 23-5 first-quarter deficit and beat State College, 84-76, in the first round of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs at Altoona on Saturday. Hennigan scored 13 points for North Allegheny in its 66-62 loss to Hampton in the WPIAL semifinals on Feb. 27.
“Sean is a very athletic kid that shoots it well and gets to the basket,” coach Dave DeGregorio said. “He's a tough kid to guard because he can score so many different ways.”
What was the mindset when you guys were down in the first quarter against State College?
We just knew that things weren't quite clicking. We never panicked.
Did you feel gratified to be one of the catalysts of that comeback?
It's obviously special. I take a huge responsibility on my team. I never want to try and do too much because I just want to go out and play for my team every single game.
How were you guys able to regroup after the loss in the WPIAL semifinals?
We just had that mindset where we don't dwell on the past. We knew we would make a state run. We knew it was a hard loss and we were looking forward to playing some more basketball. Hopefully, we can get a win over New Castle (on Wednesday).
Have you decided where you'll attend college?
I have not. I'm looking at Washington & Jefferson, Penn State Behrend and Bethany.
School: South Park
Claim to fame: McGrath scored 22 points to lead the Eagles past Hickory, 71-44, in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs at Baldwin on Saturday. McGrath paced South Park with 13 points in a 50-32 win over Elizabeth Forward in the WPIAL championship game at Palumbo Center on March 2.
“She's been like a veteran, like she's been here before,” coach Reggie Wells said. “These moments aren't fazing her.
“From day one, she's been grabbing the bull by the horns and just improving each time she goes out on the floor.”
Did you expect to perform at this level in the postseason?
I didn't know what to expect when I got to high school. I've just gone out and tried to play my best each game.
Have you felt any pressure throughout the playoffs?
No. I honestly don't feel any pressure because I know my team is there to back me up. I just go out and play and don't feel any pressure.
Have you picked up any pointers from teammate Shelby Lindsay this season?
Her leadership is amazing. She took me under her wing and taught me how to be a great player. Same with Halie Torris. She's helped me a lot, too.
How do you prepare yourself mentally heading into these games?
Honestly, I just think about what I have to do to help my team win. I just think about going to the hoop and getting my shots in when I can.
— Brian Graham