Challenging early-season schedule benefiting St. Vincent men in PAC play
By Alex Oltmanns
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
While they say that championships aren't won in the first stages of a season, the St. Vincent men's basketball team believes its early-season schedule could help it come playoff time.
The team challenged itself prior to its Presidents' Athletics Conference schedule with tough opponents, including former top ranked NCAA Division III team Virginia Wesleyan and current No. 14 St. Mary's (MD). While both games resulted in losses, the Bearcats learned plenty from those games that it can take into the postseason.
“I really think the coaches did a great job of making our schedule,” senior guard Chris Klimchock said. “They scheduled it that way so that we would be more relaxed and calmer in situations like that.
“I think it really has shown in conference play as we've won two big games on the road up at Thiel and Grove City in overtime. I think just being in those types of situations year long in the nonconference schedule has given us confidence.”
St. Vincent has used that confidence to build a 7-1 record in conference play (12-5 overall), a mark good enough to share first place in the PAC with Thomas More.
Klimchock, a Greensburg Salem product in just his first full season at St. Vincent after transferring mid-season last year from Edinboro, has played a big part in the Bearcats' success. He posts team highs with 15.4 points per game and 28 steals.
“I think Chris brings a lot of energy to our team,” coach D.P. Harris said. “Sometimes when guys transfer in they come with a lot of expectations. I don't think Chris came in that way, but I do think that Chris brings a basketball savvy with him and a real willingness to be coached and do what we ask him to do.”
According to Klimchock, a lot of those steals are a product of the defensive pressure the team prides itself in, often full-court pressing opponents and playing an up-and-down style of basketball.
“Our defensive pressure is one thing we've really used this year,” Klimchock said. “It's gotten us a lot of easy points and speeds the game up to our kind of tempo.”
But in order to perform at such a frenetic level in game situations, a team that plays with that much energy must prepare at a high level every day in practice.
“I would say that our practices are pretty intense and we get after it,” Harris said. “I thought we improved a lot over the Christmas break when the kids didn't have school and we were able to put some time and dedication into playing good sound defensive basketball.”
Klimchock isn't the only Greensburg native on the Bearcats' roster. He is joined by freshmen Greensburg Central Catholic alums in brother Ben Klimchock and Dan Sinwell.
Despite their family ties, this is the first time the Klimchock brothers have ever been able to call themselves teammates. While Ben Klimchock and Sinwell have played sparingly in their freshman seasons, Chris Klimchock still appreciates sharing the court with his younger brother for the first time.
“We always talked about how one day we wanted to do that and this year it's been great,” he said. “It's been an awesome experience. We've played basketball our whole lives but have never actually played on the same team and to get a chance like that is something really special.”
“Both kids are great kids to have in a program, they come from a nice family and we're certainly happy to have them,” Harris said.
But with its final stretch of regular-season games coming up, St. Vincent's team goals are well defined, and its early-season slate of games just might aid in a postseason run.
“Our goals are to win the conference and go to the NCAA Tournament,” Harris said.
“I think with our nonconference schedule, playing those types of teams before is going to really help if we make it to the stage where we might find ourselves against a couple of those teams we played earlier in the year,” Chris Klimchock said. “We're looking forward to it.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penn State New Kensington men fall in opener of road trip
- Cal U volleyball to play for regional title
- Jeannette’s Paulone ends college football career
- Seneca Valley grad DeAugustino strengthens Grove City soccer’s defense
- District college notes: Seton Hill’s Gattuso receives honor
- Plum grad Pietropola off to a successful start in Penn State-Behrend pool
- Daily Courier roundup: PSU Fayette women’s basketball team wins in OT
- Former Gateway star off to a fast start for Thiel
- District college notes: St. Vincent’s Ligus gets another honor
- Knoch grad McTighe helps Lafayette football make history
- District college notebook: Hot-shooting Apke of W&J named PAC player of week