Vincentian looks to defend championship
This season marks the third time coach Ron Moncrief begins a season after appearing in the WPIAL finals with the Vincentian girls basketball team.
Moncrief and his team has twice walked out of Palumbo Center with the gold and once the silver. Last season was a golden one for Vincentian, and although a couple of starters and some contributors off the bench have departed, the Lady Royals return two key components — a multiple-time WPIAL championship coach in Moncrief and perhaps the most dominant player in Class A, center Brenna Wise.
Wise is a 6-foot sophomore center who does it all.
“Brenna is a hard worker, brings a lot of intensity and leads by example,” Moncrief said. “She brings it every day to every practice and game. She does a little bit of everything for us and makes the players around her better.”
With Wise leading the front court, the back court has a cousin connection in Abbey and Ally Bartoszewicz who will help run the attack.
“Abbey is our quarterback; I have a lot of trust in her,” Moncrief said. “She is a leader on and off the court. She has skill, and she encourages her teammates.”
Ally is more of a guard/forward and can play many roles.
“Ally runs the floor well and creates matchup problems for other teams,” Moncrief said. “She can handle the ball and shoot.”
The core is set, but Moncrief still has several roles to find players for. The good news is he has 24 players out for the team this season, and a healthy competition is brewing.
“I am getting good overall effort,” Moncrief said. “I only have three players with real starting experience, but the rest are willing to learn and compete.
“They realize the pressure to win here and the good competition is making everyone better. They are coachable, and I am very happy with them. They have made good progress, and we have a good chance to be good this year.”
Moncrief said there are some big shoes to fill with the graduation loss, and the players are confident — but not confident to a fault.
“I tell them that we can't take anything for granted ... not a practice, a possession or a game,” he said. “What we achieve will be through hard work.
“We have a bull's-eye on our chest. We have to bring our ‘A' game every night.”
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.