Pine-Richland Lady Rams basketball team has new direction
It may have been chance that Cliff Foster landed in a position to earn the Pine-Richland girls basketball coaching job. The new coach had been working with the team to give the girls an edge no matter who got the job, while still hoping he would lead the program.
“(Former coach) Molly (Copple) told me the job would be opening up, so I got my resume in immediately,” Foster said. “It took three months to actually get hired, but I worked the open gyms anyway.”
Having worked extensively with the youth program at Pine-Richland, Foster knew he wanted to be a part of the program in some capacity.
A former La Roche basketball player, Foster led Division III in steals and is a proponent of an up-tempo game.
“We play a high-energy game and play fast,” Foster said. “We may make some mistakes, but we will make them hard.”
As the team came into the season, the majority of last year's key contributors have graduated, leaving Foster in what could be a good transition situation. With all new starters, he can install his system fresh and build around a young group of players.
The team will begin at the point with Marissa Hombosky, who's better known for her work on the soccer field. Foster said it is a blessing to have such a good athlete, especially since he didn't expect it.
Senior Maria Battaglia will play center and is solid, according to Foster.
A pair of freshmen who should contribute right away are 5-foot-11 forward Chelsea Rourke and Morgan Marek, a player who Foster said doesn't realize how good she can be.
Foster said the goal for the season is the playoffs and a possible matchup with Mt. Lebanon, a team and program he wants to emulate.
“It is out of respect,” he said. “I think we are the type of team that will be a tough out in the playoffs a few months from now.”
One non-tangible trait this team exudes is the togetherness it shows.
“They have not played together a ton, but they have fun,” Foster said.
“One thing I did not expect was for everyone to get on the same page so quickly. This will be a fun ride.”
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.