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Daily News spotlight athletes: Serra's Max Kaminsky, Thomas Jefferson's Alexis Yanief

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Top high school sports

By Robert Stinner

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Max Kaminsky

Class: Senior

School: Serra

Sport: Basketball

Claim to fame: Kaminsky drained seven 3-pointers and amassed 27 points in a 65-57 victory over Section 3-AA rival Riverview last week. The senior added 14 more in a tough OT loss to Sewickley Academy in a nonsection game Saturday night.

“Max is a tremendous shooter,” coach Vince Gibbons said. “His defense has been much improved over the last few years and he seems to be buying into what we want to accomplish. He's a good kid and he's been a three-year starter for us, and that's saying something. He has 150 career threes. We are a good shooting team and he is definitely the catalyst. We're averaging something like eight threes a game, and he's close to 150 career threes.”

What are your goals for this season?

Individually, I just want to contribute as much as possible to the team. I don't worry about points because that will just get you into trouble. We have some really talented players, and I feel like we can go really far.

Do you practice shooting threes a lot?

That's always been the best part of my game. I've always been a good shooter, but this year I've been trying to work on driving and adding more to my game. But threes have definitely always been my strong point.

Who do you expect to be a tough opponent?

Greensburg Central Catholic is definitely the best in our section. I'd have to say Jeannette and South Allegheny are both really tough as well. Everyone is pretty good in our section, but I'd say GCC is probably No. 1.

Who is your favorite basketball player?

I'd definitely say Stephen Curry from Golden State. I just like that he's one of the best shooters I've ever seen. The way he carries himself on the court is great, and he seems like a good guy.

What do you enjoy most about the sport?

I just like the intensity because I'm kind of known as the quiet kid, but in the game I try to get intense and really get into the game. I just think it's really exciting.

What are your plans for college?

I'm looking at a couple schools for golf. I'm not 100 percent sure yet but I'm going to try and stay somewhere local. I want to study civil engineering or accounting.

Alexis Yanief

Class: Senior

School: Thomas Jefferson

Sport: Basketball

Claim to fame: Yanief scored 25 points to lead the Jaguars (3-2) to a 61-51 nonsection win over Keystone Oaks last week. The senior added 19 more in a lopsided 63-24 victory over neighboring Clairton.

“Alexis is 5-foot-8 and extremely fast,” coach Phil Shar said. “She rebounds a lot and we put her in at point guard, but she can more or less play anywhere. She loves to drive to the hoop and is extremely good at it. We're trying to get her to pull up a little more and shoot some threes. She's a pretty good shot, but she's had so much success going to the hoop she's sort of used to doing it. I always tell her that to be a complete player she's going to have to hit 15-footers and threes too. She's really improving and I'll bet that by the end of the year she will be a complete player.”

What do you think is your strongest skill on the court?

I would say just seeing the court. I think I'm good at determining when to pass or when to shoot.

What are your goals for this season?

I would like the team to make the playoffs because we haven't for a couple years. I'd like to win the section as well. Elizabeth Forward and West Mifflin are both really good and Belle Vernon as well, so we'll see.

What do you enjoy doing outside of school and basketball?

I like to hang out with my friends and I like to catch up on my sleep.

What class do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy calculus the most. I feel like it's my best subject and I'm pretty good at it.

What are your plans for college?

I'm attending Millersville University, and I'm hoping to study biology. I'm hoping to continue playing as well.

— Robert Stinner



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