West Shamokin boys basketball team cautiously confident
TribLIVE Sports Videos
West Shamokin boys basketball coach Mike Nagy finds himself still wrestling with the idea that his team is a potential frontrunner in Section 1-AA.
A few years — frustrating ones — have passed since West Shamokin last belonged in that discussion.
This winter, West Shamokin has an opportunity to fully restore its reputation as one of the Armstrong area's top programs. Only three seniors graduated from a team that went 12-11 overall (7-5 in Section 1-AA) and made the WPIAL playoffs — West Shamokin won just seven games during the previous two seasons combined. The Wolves' leading scorer returned. So did their top two post players and their point guard.
“The expectations are fairly high, but at the same time, I keep reminding this group that you still have to go out and do it,” Nagy said. “You can't just show up and expect good things to happen. Right now, that's what we're focusing on. We don't want to get overconfident, and we don't want to relax.”
West Shamokin's steadiest scorer, senior shooting guard/small forward Anthony Rocco, is back after leading the team in points for a third consecutive season. He averaged 18.5 points and also managed four rebounds and three assists per contest.
A threat to shoot outside, operate in the low post or attack off a drive, Rocco creates matchup trouble for defenses. He hopes defenders swarm to him this season, because he's eager to dish the ball to what he believes is the most complete set of teammates in his four years with the team.
“We're probably the most balanced team in the section,” Rocco said. “All of our big men are good, and Zane (Clowser) is a true point guard. I'm probably the scorer. I think everyone just plays their role perfectly.
“We have 10 guys on this team that we can rotate in, and it's not like we're losing anything.”
Clowser, senior Matt Marsh and sophomore Zac Horner bolster the backcourt. All saw significant time a season ago. Clowser, more comfortable than ever as an offensive initiator, will generally bring the ball upcourt — a responsibility previously handled by Rocco.
Senior forwards Damon Craig (6-foot-2) and Andy Stover (6-1) remain West Shamokin's top rebounders and interior defenders. Senior Kyle Schons and junior Austin Bussard also provide sturdy bodies down low.
“Even though we're labeled as big men, we try to act as guards every now and then,” Craig said. “I guess Andy is probably referred to as the muscle on the team. I guess I'd be considered the quicker one. ... I think it's just after a couple years, you get used to not having as much height as everybody else, and you find your way around that.”
Seniors Travis Anderson and Emil Ihnat join the lineup after starting for Elderton last season. Nagy expects both to enhance a rotation that the coach considers almost a dozen players deep.
With so many capable players, West Shamokin should not struggle to maintain fierce man-to-man pressure this winter. Nagy views lock-down defense as a hallmark of West Shamokin basketball and believes a rededication to that style of play is paramount.
“The last three years, our defensive average has slipped,” said Nagy, whose Wolves allowed just 42.2 points per game when they went 18-6 in 2009. “So that's going to be one of our goals this year, is to get the defense back to where it's been in the past.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-543-1303.
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.
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- Pederson’s 2nd tenure as the athletic director at Pitt comes to abrupt end
- Businessman responds to Brewster shale tax proposal
- Steelers, young and old, thirst for opportunity to reach the postseason
- Greensburg pit bull advocacy group plans fundraiser in Homestead
- Teen who accused Clairton police of brutality pleads guilty to lesser charges
- Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin
- QB Smith is chief concern for Steelers’ defense
- Philly DA says no affidavits claimed by AG Kane in bribery case existed
- Tax break extension bill has goodies for Mon-Yough area
- Demolition project at Oliver’s Pourhouse in Greensburg moves forward