Sewickley Academy athlete of the week: John DelVecchio

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 | 7:33 AM

John DelVecchio

School: Sewickley Academy

Sports: Basketball

Class: Senior

Claim to fame: Nate Ridgeway and Isiah Warfield usually combine to make the biggest headlines for No. 2-ranked Sewickley Academy boys basketball, but players like John DelVecchio have recently stepped into larger roles for the team.

DelVecchio scored 13 points in a win over Mohawk, which improved the Panthers’ record to 6-1 in its section.

What worked well for the team in its last game that four players scored in the double digits?

Overall, we’re sharing and shooting the ball really well. That’s what Coach (Win) Palmer has said, too, that we need more scoring from players aside from Isiah and Nate, so the rest of us have to step up. The game against Mohawk was our opportunity, and it ended up working out. It was a really good game for us to develop and try new things that worked for us.

Who is stepping up a lot more as the season progresses?

Nate and Isiah are obviously powerhouses. Donald Belt is a phenomenal shooter, too, and his brother Max Belt can run the offense well. Rees Blalock is hurt right now, but he’s a beast down low. Us guys on the bench have had to step up after Rees’ injury, and I think we’re all gaining chemistry to have a great year.

When Rees comes back, do you think the team will be more well-rounded due to other guys filling in for him?

Of course. It’s a shame Rees is hurt. The chance for guys to come off the bench will help them develop and get the whole team ready for playoffs. We’re all playing hard, but we all want Rees to get better and to come back soon.

How can you make the team better?

I took the year off last year. I came back knowing I had to work hard off the bench. My goal is to just play hard, be it hustling or scoring and just have the mindset that I have to keep playing better for the team to be better.

Why’d you return to the team?

Last year, I was more focused on school, preparing for college and baseball. I was just bummed out that I didn’t play, so I’m happy to be back. I’m having a great time, because we’re all buddies.

If you could go up against one NBA player and stop him from scoring, who would it be?

The biggest challenge would be James Harden. The guy is on a tear right now. I’d have to play good defense and maybe lay off a little bit and not get too close. If he shoots it, he shoots it and you never know. I think it’s more about not letting him get to the hoop and force him to take a jump shot.

Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer.