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Valley News Dispatch Spotlight Athletes: Kiski Area's Mike Simmons, Plum's Courtney Zezza

| Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, 12:06 a.m.
Kiski Area's Mike Simmons
Plum's Courtney Zezza

Mike Simmons

Class: Junior

School: Kiski Area

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Simmons, a 6-foot-2 guard who is becoming one of the area's top 3-point shooters, scored a career-high 36 points in a victory over Latrobe. He also scored 33 in a win over Keystone Oaks. Simmons is averaging 21 points for the Cavaliers.

How often do you practice shooting 3-pointers?

Every day. I'll get out the shooting machine and sometimes shoot for hours, and sometimes only a little bit depending on the day and how I feel.

Have you ever dunked before, and do you practice dunking?

I have dunked before but not in a game. It's one of those things that you have to get better at. I can get up there, but I struggle sometimes getting it down.

Since you specialize in shooting 3's, would you rather win the game with a 3 or tie it with a 2-pointer?

I would go for the win. Who doesn't like to win? Sometimes you have to risk it to get it.

What aspect of your game do you want to improve on the most?

Definitely get better at driving to the hole and seeing the court when I drive to the hole.

Courtney Zezza

Class: Junior

School: Plum

Sport: Basketball

Report card: A 6-foot-4 center, Zezza averaged 22.5 points in the Westland Holiday Tournament in Ohio. She scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a win over Westland and tallied a career-high 28 points in Plum's win over Delaware Christian.

Do you feel that you can top the 28-point mark later in the season?

Yes. I just have to play really hard every game.

Can you dunk?

No, I can't dunk. I don't practice it.

Plum took a road trip to Columbus for the holiday tournament. What was the trip like?

It was nice because I got to be with the girls, and it was a good experience to bond with them and be away from my family a little bit.

Do you play any other sports?

I play volleyball. I started playing in the 10th grade. I start at middle hitter.

Do you play pick-up games with the boys team because of your height?

No, I don't. I used to play down the street with my neighbor, but I haven't done too much of that lately.

— D.J. Vasil

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