Valley News Dispatch spotlight athletes: Leechburg's Ben Ritchie, Burrell's Natalie Myers
Report card: Ritchie is leading the Blue Devils (4-2) in scoring this season, averaging 20.6 points per game. He had a career-high 35 points, hitting five 3-pointers, in a 67-64 win over Penns Manor.
To what do you attribute to achieving your career high?
My teammates for getting me good looks and passes. Just running the plays the coaches designed for us.
Does Leechburg have anything to prove this season knowing you almost went to District 6?
I like our decision to stay in the WPIAL. We don't have to travel as far. I think we are competing well and showing everyone that we can compete and win games in the WPIAL.
What's the deal with spoofed, “Capital Game” magazine cover your coaches created for the team?
It was something Coach Davies made up. I don't know if there's anything behind it. It was seniors, the “Fab Four.” It was the name we came up with.
Do you have college plans?
Penn State New Kensington just got in touch with me. I might visit there. I got accepted to Clarion. I'm not 100 percent sure yet. I may play basketball in college I'm not sure.
What are the team goals?
Make the playoffs. That's our biggest. I'd like to see us win the Christmas Tournament coming up. I'd like to see us win some games and maybe come out first in our section.
What's it going to take to win a section title?
We all are going to have to work together and play defense. We will have to work hard at practice. We will have to play every game like it's our last one.
Report card: A tenacious defender and active scorer and rebounder, the 5-foot-10 Myers is averaging a double-double — 15 points and 12 rebounds — for the WPIAL Class AA No. 2 Lady Bucs.
Your father, Joe, played at Burrell and Duquesne. How often does he help you with your game?
He helps with a lot. He always gives me pointers. He works me out when I have free time. He works me out all summer and when we go to the gym he's a shooting machine.
Your sister, Tess, plays for a sixth-grade boys team at Burrell. Who wins in at one-on-one when you play her?
Well I do, but she's going to be good when she gets older. I think she's already ahead of the skills I had in sixth grade.
How much has your comfort level improved from your freshman year?
It's improved. It's a lot different playing junior high basketball to high school; everything is different. I played a lot with the high school girls over the summer. I also play AAU and played against a lot of talented girls. I gained a lot of confidence.
What makes this Burrell team so special?
We all work hard. We all want to win. So you put those two things together I think that's what makes us special. We all work hard at practice, all of us.
Do you have any pregame ritual?
Before every game I need to listen to Beyonce and Whitney Houston. I don't know why, but those are the only two (singers) I listen to before games.