Daily News spotlight athletes: Thomas Jefferson's Zach Talley, Serra's Leslie Hoye

| Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 5:45 p.m.

Zach Talley

Year: Senior

School: Thomas Jefferson

Sport: Basketball

Claim to fame: Talley scored 20 points, including three 3-pointers, in a 59-58 victory over St. Stephen's Episcopal (Texas) in the KSA Classic in Orlando, Fla.

“Zach's a great kid,” coach Dom DeCicco said. “He's a two-year starter with a lot of experience and knows what we're trying to do. He's been a real leader for us. He's been hitting key shots and has been shooting better than I've ever seen him. He's really been working on his defense and as he gets better I think he's going to be one of the better players in our section.”

What are your goals for this season?

As a team, we set some goals before the season. We want to repeat what we did last year (go undefeated in Section 4-AAA). Personally, I want to make all-section and as a point guard just lead the team.

If you could play any basketball player one-on-one, who would you pick and why?

I think Michael Jordan because everyone knows he's the best player to ever play the game. I mean it's Michael Jordan, who wouldn't want to play him? He had great fundamentals. He wasn't just a great athlete, he was very fundamental as well.

Are you more comfortable running an offense or playing defense?

I would say, normally, I'm more comfortable running an offense just because I like pressure. I'd rather play against a full-court pressure team than just sit in the back. I've just always felt more comfortable running an offense. I feel more comfortable knowing what's going to happen.

Who has been the toughestteam you've played this year?

I'd say it was probably Fleetwood. They're from Pa., and we played them down in Disney. They had really good guards, and they were really tall.

What are your plans for next year?

Right now, I'm not positive but I'm really trying to play basketball somewhere. I've talked to Mt. Union about football, but I'd rather play basketball.

Leslie Hoye

Year: Senior

School: Serra Catholic

Sport: Basketball

Claim to fame: Hoye scored a game-high 21 points to help the Eagles cruise past Carrick last week in a huge 84-41 win over Carrick.

“Leslie is a very talented athlete,” coach Bill Cleary said. “She has a very good skill set in that she is quick and has really improved her ball-handling. She has become a force on both sides of the floor. She anticipates well and can get into the passing lanes and helps us get down the court well. She is a gym rat and puts in a lot of work.”

Are you satisfied with how the team has played?

I feel like we are a strong team and that we will pull back from the loss to Vincentian. We just have to work together like we always do and we'll be good.

How do you prepare for games?

Personally, I shoot for like an hour before the game. I come early, and just shoot and I listen to music and watch the JV team.

What kind of music do you like to listen to?

I like Usher and R. Kelly. I listen to “Ignition” because that's the song for our team.

What do you like to do outside of school and basketball?

I like to hang out with the team mostly. I like team bonding and hanging out with my family and boyfriend.

What are your plans for college?

As of right now, my plans aren't really set in stone, but I plan to play in college. I'm going to go in undecided.

— Robert Stinner

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