North Xtra: Effort pays off for Deer Lakes' Babincak

High School Athlete of the Year

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For Becca Babincak, her high school athletic career has been four years of hard work and building.

But the results for this 2013 Deer Lakes High School graduate has been extremely rewarding in both basketball and softball.

For her prowess this past school year on the basketball court as well as the softball diamond, she has been selected as the Post-Gazette North Xtra Female High School Athlete of the Year.

In the approaching academic year at Point Park University, Babincak will continue to play both sports as she has accepted a dual scholarship.

"She really blossomed and grew into that 'senior' role," Deer Lakes basketball coach Dana Petruska said.

Petruska explained that Babincak will not turn 18 until next month and that sets her a year younger than many other students in her grade.

"I'm just so proud of how she has matured," Petruska said.

For the past school year, Babincak, a 5-foot-6 guard, was an All-Section 1-AA selection as well as a PG North Xtra Fabulous Five choice. She averaged 18.0 points per game while leading the Lancers to a second-place finish behind Burrell in the section standings, a WPIAL Class AA playoff berth and a 20-4 record.

She totaled 1,188 career points, and the scoring of her thousandth point was a significant experience during her senior year.

"[When she scored her 1,000th point], she realized how valuable her teammates really were," Petruska said.

Babincak achieved that milestone in a Jan. 21 victory against Ford City.

"She was very humble with scoring her thousandth point ... she had a good idea of how many points she needed going into her senior year, but she kept very team-oriented because if you don't make the playoffs you only get to play 22 games," Petruska noted.

In softball, Babincak, the Lancers' starting shortstop, was a All-Section 3-AA selection.

"Defensively, she got better as a shortstop every year," Deer Lakes softball coach Craig Taliani said.

"This year, she and [second baseman] Katie Gozzard combined to turn a couple of double plays in the playoffs ... [Babincak] had really good range and could go to her right especially well," Taliani said.

Babincak continued playing softball this summer as part of her training for Point Park University.

"I'll play fall ball for the first couple weeks, and then start basketball," Babincak explained. "Then it'll be only basketball up through playoffs or whenever we're done, and then I'll just go to softball."

Babincak explained that she'd been contacted by Point Park's softball coaches after beginning the recruiting process for a basketball scholarship. Although the dual scholarships have made schedules challenging for Point Park students in the past, both programs are ready to work with Babincak and her class schedule.

"I like to play basketball just because it's quicker [than softball]," Babincak said, noting that basketball is her favorite sport.

She pointed out, however, that she also enjoys softball because it felt very relaxed and natural to her.

Babincak said she's interested in studying business marketing at Point Park; she's considering becoming a pharmaceutical sales representative someday.

"She's a very deserving, incredible athlete," said Taliani regarding the dual scholarship. "She's very competitive; she earned that ability to play other sports in college. When she sets her mind to something, she will do very well and accomplish great things."



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