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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Thomas Jefferson's Alexis Yanief, OLSH's Cameron Johnson

submitted photo - Thomas Jefferson's Alexis Yanief
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>submitted photo</em></div>Thomas Jefferson's Alexis Yanief
Submitted - OLSH's Cameron Johnson
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Submitted</em></div>OLSH's Cameron Johnson

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Brian Graham
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

Alexis Yanief

School: Thomas Jefferson

Year: Senior

Sport: Basketball

Claim to fame: Yanief scored 26 points and went over 1,000 points for her career in a 41-38 loss against Belle Vernon in Section 4-AAA on Jan. 30. She also scored 25 points in the Jaguars' upset win over Elizabeth Forward, 49-30, on Jan. 23. Entering the week, Yanief, who averages 15.5 points per game, had 1,013 career points.

How special was it to finally go over the 1,000-point mark?

It was pretty special. It was a tough game, so I wasn't thinking about it, but I was excited at the end to finally reach it.

Have you decided where you want to go to college?

I'm going to Millersville. I'm going to play basketball. I liked the campus and the coach. I liked the school overall.

Has the Millersville coaching staff told you what your role will be next season?

They are losing one of their seniors that drives the ball to the basket. I think that's kind of what they're hoping I can do for them.

What are you going to work on this offseason to prepare yourself for college?

I want to just get ready for the physicality. I don't know how to really prepare for that. But I know I'm going to work out a lot this summer.

What major do you have in mind?

I was thinking biology. I wanted to go in the pre-med direction, so that's the start of it.

Cameron Johnson

School: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Year: Senior

Sport: Basketball

Claim to fame: Johnson scored 26 points, including a pair of late free throws, to give the Chargers a 58-56 victory over Union in Section 1-A on Jan. 29. He also netted 19 points in the Chargers' 82-49 loss to top-ranked Lincoln Park on Jan. 31. Heading into the week, the 6-foot-6 point guard was near the top of the WPIAL scorers, averaging just under 28 points per game.

Have you made a college choice yet?

Not yet. It's pretty open right now. I have some Ivy League offers from Penn and Columbia. I've heard from Wright State and Toledo. I'm getting some interest from Virginia, Boston College and Stanford.

What are you looking for in a college?

I'm just looking for a coach I want to play for and a school with good academics and obviously good athletically. Basically somewhere I fit best.

When do you think you'll make your decision?

I don't have a strict time table right now, but it'll probably be after the season some time.

What are your team goals the rest of the way?

We really hope to win a WPIAL championship and get a shot at a state championship. We have a few games left, so we just have to handle our business and go from there.

Can you talk about why you're having such success in a position where you generally see smaller players?

I've always been on the shorter end. I always played up in AAU. I was never really tall for my age. Freshman year I was 5-8. I knew I was going to grow so I just focused on developing my skills. I feel comfortable with the ball in my hand.

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