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Kiski Area boys put last season behind them in quest for section title

| Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, 12:04 a.m.
Kiski Area's Adam Robison looks to pass during a recent practice. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Kiski Area High School's Channing James takes aim during basketball practice on Monday November 26, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Forget pressure, potential or past experiences that might follow them, Kiski Area's boys are entering this basketball season with a live-in-the-present mentality.

Even when times get tough, the Cavaliers plan to casually shrug their shoulders, go with the flow and move on.

They anticipate that could translate into some good times ahead.

“We're super excited,” Cavaliers boys basketball coach Harry Rideout said. “This is going to be a fun year.”

An athletic team that has shown it can run and gun or lull in halfcourt sets, Kiski Area returns four starters from a playoff team. They include key seniors Nick Stone and Adam Robison, who are frontrunners to be the A-K's top scoring tandem.

The 5-foot-10 Stone averaged 15.2 points per game and hit a team-high 42 3-pointers. A 6-foot-4 forward, Robison averaged 12.4 points per game.

Replacing standout point guard Alex Lamendola, now at Washington & Jefferson, will be a tall task.

Stone and Robison will share the responsibilities often shouldered solely by Lamendola, a true point guard.

“Those two will play very important roles,” Rideout said. “Nick will play our lead guard position; he'll be a scoring point guard. Adam will be a point forward for us. He is a very unique type of player.”

Players who were freshmen when Rideout took the reins of the program now are seniors.

“They're my guys,” the fourth-year coach said. “When I first got here, they didn't know what to expect. Now they have a much better understanding.”

Another key returnee is 6-2 junior swingman Joe Brungo, along with 6-5 senior forward Mitch Murdock and 6-1 sophomore guard Mike Simmons.

Last year seemed to end in a flash for the Cavaliers (16-7), who averaged 61.7 points per game. Robison was ejected from a late-season Section 1-AAAA game after getting a pair of technicals for hanging on the rim after a dunk. He had to serve a two-game suspension — one per PIAA rules and the other school-imposed — and his absence showed as Kiski Area fell to Norwin in the next-to-last section game.

Feeling it was denied a shot at the section, the team never regained its balance and fell, 61-57, to Plum in the first round of the playoffs.

“It's a great lesson learned,” Rideout said. “We were thrilled to be in that position. At the moment it, was devastating to not be able to share the section title.”

Robison doesn't want the team to develop an ego.

“We have to play like we are the underdogs every night,” Robison said. “If we get too ahead of ourselves, we will get beat, and we know that.”

Rideout calls this team “an unselfish group” and said anyone in his core bunch could erupt for a 20-point game.

“I think we'll finally look like a Quad-A team with our length,” Rideout said.

Reserves include 6-1 freshman Lincoln Clayton, junior guard Ryan Sciullo, sophomore forward Jake Reid (6-6) and sophomore guard Tre Talton.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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