Samantha Weiss, McGuffey
Last week: Weiss led the way for McGuffey, scoring 30 points in a 72-47 win against Burgettstown on Dec. 17. That performance came just one week after she scored 31 points, had 15 steals and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Highlanders' 75-18 win against Southmoreland.
Check this out: An average freshman is usually expected to use his or her first year to get acclimated to a new environment and learn the proverbial ropes. Weiss took a different and more active approach, averaging just less than 20 points per game leading McGuffey to an 11-11 mark, one year after it went 5-17. She was the leading scorer in all but one of the Highlanders' games last season.
• Did you expect to have the kind of immense success you did as a freshman? No, I didn't. Both seasons have been so exciting and a lot of fun for me.
• What allowed you to be so successful right off the bat? My success, our team's success, is due to the commitment and dedication of our coaches. They work us very hard; they give up a lot of their own time, and their expectations are very high.
• Is there anything in particular you worked hard on in the offseason? As a team, we worked in the weight room through the offseason. I also worked on my game being more multi-dimensional and playing AAU all summer.
• Is there anyone whom you try to model your game after? An athlete you admired the most growing up? Yes, Luke Baker. Luke Baker played for McGuffey many years ago. I went to every home game to watch him and tried to imitate his dribbling. Luke is now our boys assistant coach.
• Who's the best player you've ever played against? Erika Ford--South Fayette my freshman year. Erika taught me a few things!
• What's the best movie you've seen lately? Captain America.
Geno Thorpe, Shaler Area
Last week: Thorpe scored a career-high 45 points in an 83-62 win against McKeesport and added 40 in a 75-58 victory against Altoona. The Titans (4-2, 0-2) also lost a 64-51 Section 3-AAAA game to Seneca Valley.
Check this out: Thorpe, a 6-foot-3 senior shooting guard and Penn State recruit, is one of the top players in the WPIAL and is averaging 31 points per game. Thorpe scored 21 points per game as a junior when he led Shaler to the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals. Thorpe is the only returning starter from that team. Thorpe, who attended Shady Side Academy as a freshman, briefly transferred to West Oaks Academy in Orlando, Fla. this summer, but decided to return to Shaler.
• Do you listen to any music before a game to get you pumped up? Yeah, a lot of ASAP Rocky. I also like classics, like The Blueprint album from Jay-Z.
• Last concert you went to? I've actually never been to one.
• What do you want most for Christmas? I want the new Jordan XI's (basketball shoes).
• Do you feel like you have to carry the team this year? Not as much as people might think. We have some new guys and they're playing well. After the first couple of games, we're finding roles and learning to play with one another.
• Teammate you think is going to have a breakout season? (Junior forward) Jake Mathias.
• Best player in the WPIAL? Besides myself? Yes. I would say Devin Wilson from Montour.
• Best player you ever played against in AAU? Jabari Parker (a Chicago high school standout).
• Why Penn State? Basically because of Pat Chambers, the head coach. Even though they're struggling right now, they're building the program.
• One word to describe the tragedy at the school in Connecticut? Heartbreaking.Athlete of the Week