Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Chartiers Valley's Matty McConnell, Blackhawk's Halle Denman
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School: Chartiers Valley
Claim to fame: McConnell went over the 1,000-point mark in his career and recorded a rare quadruple-double in the Colts' 110-86 victory over South Park on Feb. 4. McConnell scored a career-high 46 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, had 10 assists and 10 steals in the game. The 6-foot, 180-pound junior scored 32 points, had 13 rebounds, six assists and five steals in a 65-55 win over Section 3-AAA foe Montour on Jan. 28.
Talk about the magnitude of your performance in that game.
Going into it, I knew I needed 40 to score 1,000. South Park played tough defense against us at our place. So going into it, I didn't think I'd have that type of game. Once I was hitting shots, my teammates just kept feeding me the ball.
How can you improve this year and when you become a senior?
I'm just going to try to improve anything I can. I'm going to get in the gym every day in the summer and work on my game as much as possible.
What do the Colts have to do to make the WPIAL finals and avoid losing this year?
If we can stay healthy and play like we're capable of playing, I don't think anyone in Triple-A can beat us.
What's the biggest difference between you and your brother, TJ, a point guard for Arizona?
My dad said that I'm a bigger kid and I'm stronger than he was his junior year. His junior year, he was more of a spot shooter. I'm more of an in-the-post rebounder, still a shooter, but I think I'm a better rebounder.
Who wins in a game of one-on-one?
It'd be a good game, but I'd probably have to give it to him.
Claim to fame: Denman scored 21 points and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in her career in the Cougars' 77-51 Section 2-AAA win over Central Valley on Feb. 3. Denman also had 12 points in a 71-40 win over New Castle in Section 2 on Feb. 6 and had 10 in a 64-46 loss to Seton-La Salle on Jan. 29.
How special was it to go over 1,000 points?
It was very special because it was my last senior night, my last time playing CV. It was just an exciting night to beat them and get my 1,000th point.
What's it like playing with a player like Chassidy Omogrosso?
I've been playing with her for a long time because we're cousins. She's one of the best shooters I've ever played with. She gets a lot of points and helps us win.
How much did losing in the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs last year motivate Blackhawk this year?
We knew we should have won those games. They were big let downs. It really made us come back this year and work harder to win because we don't want that to happen again.
What are your plans after high school?
Next year, I'm going to IUP to continue playing basketball.
What are you going to work on this offseason?
I'm going to work on my shot because I still haven't really mastered that yet. I'm just going to continue to get stronger and faster and work hard.
— Brian Graham
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