Greensburg Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Indiana's Riley Stapleton, California's Kylie Huffman

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Riley Stapleton

School: Indiana

Sport: Basketball

Year: Junior

Claim to fame: Stapleton, who is averaging around 14.6 ppg, scored 17 points to lead Indian (19-2, 10-2) to a 65-51 win over Freeport in Section 1-AAA action on Feb. 4. Stapleton followed that with 16 points in a 75-50 section win over Kittanning on Feb. 7.

“Well, our team has come to play this year. I think we are playing up to our potential,” Stapleton said. “We have been surprising teams with how we are playing. I'm looking forward to the playoffs and showing people what we can do.”

How do you think you will do in the WPIAL playoffs?

I think we have a good chance with the way we have been playing, except for that close loss to Mars. We did lose our team captain. In our minds we can be WPIAL champions. Let's see what we can do.

What will it take for you to be successful?

I think because of our heart to be honest. At the beginning of the season, we were talking about winning the section and making it to the playoffs. We come out playing each game like it's our last game. Everyone wants to win for the team and the community. It's nice to see the team fulfill some of those expectations.

Where do you get your competitive streak?

I have three brothers, where two (Derek and Dylan) are on the team. We have been very competitive just every day. In practice we don't have an off practice. We are focused on winning games and getting to the playoffs.

What are you doing during your free time?

Usually, I'm on the court all the time. I just like shooting in the gym or throwing the football around. I like to stay active and like watching sports on ESPN.

What Olympic event are you the most interested in watching?

I'm watching women's and men's downhill. They are going so fast and it's just so interesting to watch.

Kylie Huffman

School: California

Sport: Basketball

Year: Freshman

Claim to fame: Huffman, who is averaging 16.8 ppg, 12 rpg and 6 blocks per game, recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead California (17-3, 10-0) to a 58-16 win over Mapletown in Section 3-A action Feb. 4. Huffman scored 13 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in a 47-43 win over Avella on Feb. 7.

“As a freshman, I thought I have done pretty well,” Huffman said. “Playing against older kids is kind of difficult but my work in the offseason made it a little easier.”

Did you think you would have this big of an impact during your freshman year?

Surely, I didn't think I would do the things I'm doing. For being a freshman, it's hard to face older kids but I'm happy with how the season's turned out.”

How have you handled the workload this season?

I have great teammates. It's not too hard to do well with them on your side. Playing against bigger, stronger and older kids is difficult, but it wasn't hard handling it.

How are your keeping yourself motivated?

Coming from a small school, I want to make an impact in WPIALs. I want to represent our school well.

What do you need to do as a team to make a deep run in the WPIAL playoffs?

I think just playing as a team is the most important thing and having extra practices. Playing well together will lead to our success.

If you had the chance to go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would like to go to a third-world country and try to make an impact. I would want to help the people over there and share the things that we have here.

— Andrew John

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