Burrell girls share strong work ethic
By Bill Beckner Jr.
Published: Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, 11:40 p.m.
Low roster numbers and high expectations usually don't relate, but that's practically the motto at Burrell this season.
The Bucs' girls basketball team is rich with potential and lacking in depth. Yet somehow, its eight girls are committed to making it work.
Burrell is a small group with big goals.
“We need to get in shape the best we can; endurance is going to be the main thing,” coach Meghan Ziemianski said. “We have a lot of talent for sure.
“I think once the girls saw how good they could be, they buckled down. They have one combined goal.”
Ziemianski's issue of getting rising stars to share the basketball hasn't been a problem so far.
“I have to say, this is the first team I've had that hasn't had one attitude,” Ziemianski said.
With two proven scoring guards already returning in 5-foot-6 sophomore Sydney Bordonaro and 5-7 junior Jaila Manga, the Bucs will add another rising player to the starting five in freshman guard-forward Natalie Myers.
Bordonaro averaged 13.7 points per game last season and Manga 11.2. The 5-10 Myers has shown flashes of skill in fall workouts, demonstrating versatility as a ball-handler, post-up threat and outside shooter.
Myers is the daughter of former Burrell and Duquesne star Joey Myers.
“Natalie has really picked things up well; we haven't changed a whole lot,” Ziemianski said. “We've added some dribble-drives and one-hitters, but most of it is the same.”
Burrell started fast last season, winning 10 games before its first loss. It finished 18-5, losing 44-42 to Greensburg Central Catholic in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
Experience should help a team that could be strong for years to come. Commitment hasn't been a problem. Most of the team focused solely on basketball during the offseason. While girls from opposing teams were playing other sports, Burrell's were attending open gyms.
Manga played tennis but was quickly back on the court.
“They love to practice,” Ziemianski said. “They're a fun group.”
Depth issues aside, Burrell posted some impressive wins in a fall team camp, defeating Hempfield and Mt. Lebanon, while also playing Uniontown, Bishop Canevin and Vincentian close.
“With my Bad News Bears — all seven of them,” Ziemianski said. “I think we're getting used to not having the numbers. It gives the girls a better work ethic.”
Junior forwards Kelsey Oddis (5-7) and Jessica Cercone (6-0) will round out the starting lineup. The reserves are 5-7 sophomore guard Erica Finn, 5-10 sophomore center Abby Pattock and 5-3 sophomore guard Abby Nitowski.
Lone senior Jenna Erhlich likely will miss the entire season with a knee injury suffered during soccer.
Burrell knows it can't take section play for granted.
Deer Lakes, known in recent years for its clamp-down defensive play, surely won't sit back and watch Burrell cruise to the Section 1-AA title. The Lancers have won back-to-back section titles and defeated Burrell twice last season.
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.
- PIAA boys basketball roundup: Chartiers Valley pulls out first-round victory
- North Allegheny girls enjoy ‘bounce back’ win over WPIAL champion Penn-Trafford
- PIAA girls basketball roundup: Mt. Lebanon ousted in first round
- ‘Lucky’ Monessen survives in 2 OTs
- Minnie paces Lincoln Park in PIAA opening-round rout of Johnsonburg
- Burrell girls eye improvement even after easy win in PIAA opener
- Seton-La Salle girls cruise past Blairsville
- Fast start again fuels Hempfield girls to victory
- Breaking down the PIAA boys basketball playoffs
- TJ boys hang on despite foul trouble
- Free-throw shooting keys Fox Chapel’s opening-round win