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P.O. Male Athlete of the Week: Chase Novak

You might think that what stood out most about Chase Novak this week was his 36 points against Tussey Mountain, or maybe his stat line against Forbes Road: 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

But really, what attracted the most attention to the McConnellsburg senior, who is the Public Opinion Male Athlete of the Week, was his shooting percentage.

In two games, Novak shot 72 percent (18-for-25) from the field, and was absolutely on fire in Monday's game. Against the Titans, Novak went 13-for-16 (81.2%) and drained five 3-pointers.

"I was just feeling it; everything was falling for me," Novak said. "I was shooting fadeaway threes, step-back threes and getting to the basket. I don't know how to explain it; I was just on fire. Everything was going my way."

That's a pretty common theme for Novak and the Spartans, who are on a 15-game win streak, have locked up the No. 1 spot in the District 5 Class AA playoffs and clinched titles in the Sideling Hill League and Inter-County Conference.

Not all the credit goes to Novak, though. He also gives a lot of kudos to teammates Ethan Barclay, Chance Hawbaker and Nic Culler. While Novak leads the team in scoring, Barclay and Hawbaker are also averaging double figures.

"We know that if only one of us is doing the scoring, the other team will key in on that," Novak said. "Spreading out the scoring is very important and one of the big reasons we've been so successful this year."

Despite being the Spartans' only returning starter and typically drawing opponents' best defenders, Novak has managed to keep up a 17.0 points-per-game average.

"He doesn't jump out of the gym, and he's not always the quickest guy, but his basketball IQ is off the charts," McConnellsburg coach Drew Washabaugh said. "He's like having another coach on the court."

His off-the-court IQ is pretty high, too. While Novak isn't sure about his future plans regarding basketball, he plans to go to a top university to study chemical engineering.

Chase Novak, McConnellsburg

Sport: Boys basketball

Grade: Senior

Position: Guard

Height: 6-foot-2

Parents: Jim and Sandy Novak

Other interests: Chase also plays baseball for the Spartans, and enjoys golf and chemistry.

Surprising fact: He had a 4.8 grade-point average last marking period. 

Favorite team: Brooklyn Nets, because his cousin, Jordan Ott, is an assistant coach there.

Athlete most admired: Kyle Korver.

Statistics: Novak matched his career-high of 36 points in a win over Tussey Mountain on Monday ... He also put up 15 points against Forbes Road and went 18-for-25 (72%) from the field this week.