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Butler County makes impact on Point Park women's basketball program

| Friday, March 21, 2014, 3:10 p.m.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Point Park's Katresa Savisky brings the ball up the court while guarded by Mt. Vernon Nazarene's Courtney Christie during the Pioneers' 65-57 victory over the Cougars on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013.
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Point Park women’s basketball coach Tony Grenek, a Butler native, has made three consecutive trips to the NAIA Women's Basketball Championships.

The Point Park University women's basketball team has built a powerhouse program.

Butler natives Tony Grenek and Katresa Savisky have played big parts in the Pioneers' transformation.

Grenek, in his third year as head coach, helped guide Point Park to a 77-19 record during his tenure, which has included three consecutive conference tournament championships and trips to the NAIA Division II National Championship tournament.

This year, the Pioneers (29-5) fell to second-seeded Morningside in Sioux City, Iowa, but finished the year with a program-best 29 wins.

“I keep telling people, we are 77-18 the last three years with three conference championships, three tournament titles and three appearances in the national tournament. I don't know another women's program in city that has accomplished that,” Grenek said. “We're hoping these young ladies in the WPIAL might pick us as a place to go to get a successful education and play in a great program.”

Eleven of Point Park's players hailed from Western Pennsylvania, including Savisky, who was one of the team's leaders.

“She is probably the toughest kid I have ever coached. Her engine never quits. She is a hardworking kid,” Grenek said. “She is a great kid, a straight-A student. On the basketball floor, she is always diving for loose balls. She does whatever it takes to win, whether that's playing defense or hitting big shots.”

Savisky, a 2010 Butler graduate, averaged 8.7 points per game this season. She added 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per outing. The senior guard scored 10 points in the team's loss to Morningside.

“She does a little bit of everything for us,” Grenek said. “It seems like she plays her best games when championships are on the line.”

Savisky, a psychology major, has been a key contributor since she transferred to Point Park after her freshman season at Butler County Community College. That season, she led the Pioneers in scoring at 17.2 ppg and helped the squad capture the NJCAA Region 20 championship.

“I have been very fortunate to be part of such great teams the past four years,” she said. “I can't believe I played my last basketball game in Iowa. Everything seems like it's flown by. I had three great years here.”

She has witnessed the Point Park program flourish.

“We're getting a lot of recruits around the WPIAL and we have two from a state championship team,” she said. “Even next year, girls from around the area are very interested. I think it'll be a really good option for girls. Being in the NAIA offers a different type of situation, too.”

Grenek hopes to keep building the program. He had success as the Butler County Community College men's head coach and as an assistant women's coach at Seton Hill.

“We have some nice players coming in next year,” he said. “That's one good thing; if you have a successful program, word starts to spread. Now, we're seen as a first option for a lot of girls. I don't know if it was like that in the past.

“I never want to be in a rebuilding mode. I always want to be coaching for a conference championship. It doesn't matter if we have injuries or we're young, etc. We always want to put ourselves in a position to play for a championship. We never want to rebuild; we want to reload.”

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.

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