Alle-Kiski Valley spotlight athletes: Plum's Austin Dedert, St. Joseph's Mallory Heinle
Report card: As a returning starter and team captain, the 6-foot-6, 200-pound Dedert averages 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Mustangs, who are off to a 5-0 start.
Your 3-point shooting has been somewhat of a surprise. What have you done to improve that aspect of your game?
Nothing much. I went through the drills we did in the summer. I just practiced and developed it over time.
How often do you slam dunk?
When I have the opportunity. It's not what I think about, but if it's open I'll do it. If it's a two-point game I'm not going to try and dunk. If my teammates give me a good pass, and I have a nice lane to the hoop, I'll go ahead and put one down.
Do you practice doing crazy dunks at practice?
Yeah, but it's not my main focus of my game. My main focus is going out there and winning the game.
Do you think Plum can make a deep playoff run?
It's definitely a possibility. If we keep working hard there's no doubt we can. We are a good team and we keep getting better.
Any college plans yet?
No not yet. I'm looking into various Division II schools.
School: St. Joseph
Report card: Heinle found her way into the St. Joseph history books last week when she scored her 1,000th career point, becoming just the third player in school history to accomplish the feat. The versatile 6-1 senior, who is a Slippery Rock recruit, is averaging 23 points.
How did it feel to score your 1,000th point?
It was very exciting. My team was kind of pushing me along the whole way and reminding me on how many more points I needed. It was fun. I did a lot of hard work and it was exciting to have that reward.
What's left to accomplish in your basketball career at St. Joseph?
We would like to win some games. We always have successful seasons, but I think we have the team this year to go as far as we ever have. I've gotten everything I want personally and I'm ready for the team to be successful. I think were going to have a good year. We would like to go farther in the postseason.
Is there any professional basketball player you like to mold your game after?
I don't really watch too much pro basketball. I'm more of a college fan, but I don't really have a favorite. My dad and I will record games, and watch them over again and see what we like. I take bits and pieces from the games we watch.
Why did you choose Slippery Rock?
Outside of basketball, it was the perfect school for me. It's big enough without being somewhere where I'd get lost and its perfect for my major (special education/elementary education). It's close to home, and I love the atmosphere and basketball fell into place.
How much pressure do you feel late in a game when you're about to take the potential game-winning shot?
I try not to think about it in situations like that. I think you have to play level headed the whole time and not think about the pressure side and play your game.
— D.J. Vasil