Grebb League girls' division will expand
Melanie Greco's vision for the girls' division of the Budd Grebb Memorial Summer Basketball League is starting to come into view.
Greco, commissioner of the girls' division, said that last year she wanted to see the league continuously grow. Now it's safe to say that it has.
This year, the girls' division will expand and have a fifth team compete. Greco said she's unsure who will sponsor and coach the team or how the team will be drafted.
“Obviously, the expansion team will have the first pick in the draft,” Greco said after the final tryouts Thursday. “Then we'll go by last year's standings for the rest of the draft order.
“The most important thing for me is to maintain the competitive balance. Last year, all the games were very competitive. We want that to continue.”
Bitonti's Barristers won last year's title with a 14-point win over Fredericktown Butcher Shop. Lagerheads finished third, with Tommy Thomas State Farm finishing fourth.
The expansion team willhave the first pick in Saturday's draft, followed by T.T. State Farm, Lagerheads, Fredericktown Butcher Shop and Bitonti's.
Greco said the site and time the draft is yet to be determined, but she is eager to see how the new group of girls will fit in.
“I'll meet with the coaches and we'll come up with exactly how we want to do the expansion,” Greco added. “But I'm confident that just with the girls that are new to the league, they could field a competitive team.”
Greco, whose husband Bill is the coach of Fredericktown Butcher Shop, said she has noticed vast improvement in the girls who are returning to the league.
“I talked to some parents after the tryouts earlier this week and the one thing I noticed is that these girls are excited to play,” Greco said. “To see that excitement is amazing, but just to see that growth of those girls that were a little bit timid and not real sure about playing ... to see them back a year later with the confidence that they have ... it's amazing.”
Jefferson-Morgan is the latest school district to be represented in the league, joining 10 others: Belle Vernon Area, Charleroi Area, California Area, Monessen, Greensburg Central Catholic, Bentworth, Waynesburg, Beth-Center, Brownsville and Chartiers-Houston.
“The high school coaches in the area have been super supportive,” Greco said. “Some schools have doubled their representation like Charleroi, Beth-Center and Chartiers-Houston.
“It's a whole different experience here than playing with your school teams. You have different roles and responsibilities, plus it's all man-to-man defense. So girls get to work on a whole new set of skills. You don't see a lot of man defense in high school girls' games. So that's something else that the girls that play here get experience with and are able to expand their skill set. It really helps them execute those new skills in a game situation.”
With tryouts over, Greco and the girls are ready for the season to start.
“There's a lot of talent here,” Greco said of the league. “Kaitlyn (Slagus of BVA) is 6–2, Maris (Seto of Brownsville) is a lot taller and is really athletic, but we have a few other girls in the league that are pushing 6-foot.”
And what about the new crop of girls who tried out this week?
“I saw a lot of good, confident shooters and a lot of guards coming in. It's kind of exciting to see what they're going to bring to the league.”
Among the girls in Saturday's draft pool will be Alexandria Seto, Maris' sister; BVA senior Lauren Planey; Kayla Yorko and Nicole Venick, both guards at Jeff-Morgan; Andrea Kroll, a 5–1 point guard from Monessen; Aislyn Lee, Maria Claybaugh and Sierra Short, a trio of freshmen-to-be at Charleroi Area; Olivia Stawovy, of Belle Vernon, who attends Greensburg Central Catholic and Brooke Clements, a senior and Destiny Gudel, a junior from California.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2667.