Daily News Spotlight Athletes: Steel Valley’s Dom Keyes, South Allegheny’s Jaylee Patterson
School: Steel Valley
Claim to fame: Keyes had a career night against Belle Vernon to help the Ironmen (11-6, 5-4) to a 86-37 Section 4-AAA victory last week. Keyes scored 26 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, as Steel Valley moved ahead of East Allegheny in the hunt for a playoff spot.
“This is Dom’s first year playing varsity, so we were a little unsure what to expect from him,” coach Shawn McCallister said. “He has done really well this season. He’s played a lot of JV and has really progressed a lot. The game against Belle Vernon was his first varsity start. And he played really well. He’s a great kid and is really coachable. He pays attention and has gotten better as the season has progressed.”
What made you join the basketball team as a junior?
I noticed that I got bigger over the summer and I practiced a lot, so I figured that this would be a good time to try out. I grew 3 inches over the summer and now that I’m 6-foot-5, I feel like I can use my height to my advantage.
How have you been able to improve this season?
I improved my rebounding and my jumping ability. All I’ve done is practice hard at school and on my own. I’ll go to the gym at the Homestead Library and practice rebounding.
What is one thing people might not know about you?
Well, one thing is that I love to read books. My favorite book is called ‘Lord Loss’ by Darren Shan. I like it because it’s based on chess moves. That’s something else people might not know about me — I really like chess.
What got you into chess?
I was taught how to play in kindergarten, and ever since then I’ve played here and there. I’ve played in some tournaments with the gifted program at school. I like it because it takes a lot of thinking and you always have to plan ahead on what the person is going to do next.
— Robert Stinner
School: South Allegheny
Claim to fame: Patterson hit five 3-pointers and scored 15 points in a 48-37 loss to Section 3-AA rival Riverview last week. In the process, the senior recorded her 1,000th career point.
“She is definitely our leader on the court. She gets things going and is always looking to score, which has helped us out big time,” coach Ashleigh Hays said. “She’s one of our go-to girls, especially in a clutch situation. Her leadership and her 3-point shot have helped us out so much. It doesn’t matter what situation we’re in, she’s found ways to score, and that has helped us out a great deal this season. “
How does it feel to have scored 1,000 career points?
It felt good. I’ve been working really hard to get there. I knew I was close. It was great having a good team go out with a lot of wins and to hit 1,000 points.
What are your plans for next year?
As of right now I’m undecided as to where I want to go to school. I’d like to go to school for nursing. I’d like to continue to play, but I don’t know if that’s going to work out.
What will you miss most about high school basketball?
I’m going to miss my teammates and just playing. I’m going to miss how hard they work and how they are always there for me and how they’ve supported me through everything. I’ll always remember when I hit 1,000 and how they were there for me. We’ve been working so hard for four years, and I hope they keep it up for next year.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
That I work harder than a lot of people think I do, and that I’m only 5-4.
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would probably say Hawaii just because it’s a beautiful place, and it’s not snowing there.
— Robert Stinner