Daily News spotlight athletes: Thomas Jefferson's Jason Horan, Elizabeth Forward's Olivia Barkley
School: Thomas Jefferson
Claim to fame: Horan scored 14 points in a 72-66 victory over Erie East in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs Friday. The senior forward helped lead the Jaguars (23-3) against Central Valley Tuesday during the PIAA second round in a rematch of the WPIAL semifinals.
“Jason has really been playing well as of late,” coach Dom DeCicco said. “He's a three-year starter and has been solid for us throughout his career. He's been an unsung hero and does a lot of things that usually go unnoticed. He gets a ton of rebounds for us. He has worked hard his entire career, and I am very proud of him.”
What do you think has played the biggest role in the team's success this season?
I would say the main thing is that we've all been playing together for many years. We play as a team and not as individuals. That's what has made us successful.
What basketball player would you most like to play with or against?
I would say Michael Jordan because he's a legend. It would be awesome to play with someone like that and learn a few things from him.
What do you feel you bring to each game?
I feel I bring a motivation to the team. I work hard in everything I do and try to bring up the tempo of the game and make sure everyone plays the way we know how to play.
What will you remember most about your years of playing basketball at Thomas Jefferson?
I will remember all of my friends and all of the goals we've worked hard to reach, such as winning the section.
If you were only allowed to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
That's a tough question. I like a lot of food. I'd have to go with pizza. I really like Italian food, and pizza is a good Italian food.
School: Elizabeth Forward Sport: Basketball
Claim to fame: Barkley scored 15 points to help the Warriors (21-4) to a 52-30 victory over Bradford in the opening round of the PIAA tournament Saturday. “Olivia has such a big heart,” coach Sam Kosanovich said. “She has such a desire to compete. She's 5-9 but plays like she's 6-foot. She comes to practice every day with that blue-collar attitude and sets a good tone for our team. She rebounds the ball and posts up for us really well but also has the versatility to shoot a jumper or drive to the net. She is willing to do whatever we ask of her.”
What were your goals coming into this season?
Well, we wanted to make it back to Palumbo for the WPIAL championships, but we fell short. We were able to repeat as section champs, which is something we wanted to do. Now our main goal is to get to Hershey.
Do you feel like you have achieved them?
Not completely. It was a letdown to not beat South Park and not get back to Palumbo, but we can make up for that partially by getting to Hershey.
What do you enjoy doing outside of basketball?
I mostly just hang out with my friends and boyfriend. We watch television and go out to eat and to the movies.
Your coach described you as versatile. Do you prefer posting up inside or shooting and driving to the hoop?
I prefer driving to the hoop to posting up. I'm a little bit smaller so I'm not as comfortable posting up. I've had a little more success driving to the hoop and getting fouled.
What class do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy math a lot. It comes easy to me, and I just perform the best in that class. I'd like to pursue a career in a math-related field.
— Robert Stinner