Heintz reaches 1,000-point plateau

Published Jan 15, 2013 at 10:05 am (Updated Jan 18, 2013 at 3:29 pm)

When Angela Heintz’s free throw clinked off the rim, the girls seated on the Seton-La Salle bench groaned. “It was so strange,” said the senior guard. “I thought, ‘hey, it’s just a foul shot’ but I was determined to make the second one.”

When Heintz buried the next shot from the charity stripe, the Rebels roared. They unraveled a congratulatory sign and the game was halted to celebrate the 1,000th point registered in her basketball career.

“Actually I had no idea I was anywhere close,” said the 18-year-old daughter of Mary Beth and Richard Heintz of Bethel Park. “Every body kept it a secret from me.

“Scoring 1,000 points is a huge accomplishment. Definitely exciting,” she continued. “Such a blessing.”

Many have been bestowed upon Heintz during a scholastic athletic career that has spanned four years and three sports. In addition to basketball, she has dabbled in volleyball and lacrosse. Most memorable have been the roundball moments.

Heintz has been a member of back-to-back WPIAL championship teams as well as last year’s undefeated PIAA state winner. Plus, she earned a Division I scholarship from Duquesne University.

“It’s surreal to think that this is it. Crazy actually,” she said. “These years have been so amazing and they’re finally nearing a completion. But there’s so much left to accomplish.”

Repeating last year’s run was the No. 1 priority on Heintz’s list.

However, Centerville dashed the dreams for another undefeated season. After Heintz cleared the 1,000-point plateau in a 75-55 win over Northland, the Rebels dropped a 66-63 decision to Centerville in the Pickerington North Tournament held over the holidays in Ohio.

“If you are going to lose a game, the best place to do it is in a Christmas tournament,” explained Heintz. “It doesn’t affect your section standing.”

In losing there are lessons says Heintz, who stands at 1,054 points after the 66-35 win over rival Bishop Canevin Jan. 14. Foremost is the feeling.

“It’s been a while and we’ve forgotten how bad the feeling is because we’ve been so used to winning. We got behind and we handled it poorly.

“You can’t go back and change it. If I could, I would,” Heintz quickly added. “We’ve learned from it.

“The pressure is off. Now we can focus on winning as opposed to focusing on not losing. There’s pressure to keep winning and it may seem crazy, but in our efforts to keep it going, we’ve forgotten all the hard work that got us there. We need to refocus on goals, keep in mind that we are not invincible and not get outworked.

“It’d be great to win states again, but we have to try to get better and work harder.”

While expectations are for the Rebels to repeat as champions at the district as well as the state level, people must remember the team is not the same club that racked up 31 consecutive wins last winter. Dennis Squeglia is no longer the skipper and Emily Wahl graduated.

“When you lose a coach who was Coach of the Year, it’s definitely different,” Heintz said, “and even though we lost only one player, we are a completely different team. The chemistry is different. Emily was a terrific defender. Girls who scored 30 or 20 points, she’d keep them from scoring. That didn’t happen when we had her. We need someone to take that place, fill that role.”

Not only does Heintz provide leadership as a captain, she fills the role of playmaker on the club. She leads the team in assists with five per game. Along with that aspect of the game, she supplies 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds as well as nearly two steals per game.

Numbers drew the attention of major recruiters during her sophomore season. While Delaware, St. Francis, Kent State, Niagara and Rider wooed her, Heintz committed to Duquesne going into her junior year. Now she must step it up if she intends to contribute for Suzie McConnell-Serio, who played in two Olympics, winning gold and bronze medals in 1988 and 1992.

“Duquesne felt right. It felt like home,” said Heintz, who will major in business in college. “It’s a good school and the basketball program is great.

“College (basketball) will be tough though. The speed and the tempo of the game,” she noted where the major differences from high school. “I know I have to work on improving my defense and I want to be a presence on the court.”

Since kindergarten, Heintz has been an active presence on the floor. She learned the game at the YMCA leagues and in the recreation leagues in Bethel Park before she sharpened her skills for Seton while playing at St. Louise de Marillac Grade School in Upper St. Clair.

“Basketball has always been my first love,” she said. “The other sports I played for fun. Basketball is all business.”

In Heintz’s life, however, there is room for much more. Family is important to her and she maintains a strong bond with her older sister, Jessica, who is in the pharmacy program at Duquesne, and her brother, Jonathan, who once played hoops for the Rebels.

“Family and friends are two of the most important things in life.

Sports and basketball go away some day but who you are never changes,” she concluded

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