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Highlands' Misejka stresses team goals

| Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 11:59 p.m.
Highlands' Carly Hines looks to score during a practice on Tuesday. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Highlands senior Nikki Misejka accepts her role as the team leader, but the eighth-leading scorer in the Alle-Kiski Valley last season is quick to remind that basketball is a team game.

“I'm willing to do it and I want to do it,” Misejka said of her scoring expectations. “But it shouldn't be about me. It should be about the whole team. “

Misejka, a 5-foot-5 guard and third-team all-VND selection, averaged 13.7 points per game last season in 15 games.

And after battling numbers problems the last several years, the future looks good for the Golden Rams. Nine freshmen are out for the team, allowing Highlands to field a junior varsity team to get the younger girls playing experience.

“We have about 18 girls out,” coach Ron Lang said. “We also have a lot of potential in the seventh and eighth grades, and we started our elementary program back up.”

As the Golden Rams pursue improvement on last year's 2-17 record (1-9 in Section 1-AAA), one key player missing will be forward Channing James, who has transferred to Kiski Area.

Senior Carly Hines, who was injured last season, returns along with Sam Witucki, a part-time starter last year.

Also expected to make major contributions are senior DeeDee Hrond-Pittman, freshman Kayla Beale and sophomore Shannon Bernardi.

“We're going to try to play a little up-tempo,” Lang said. “We're better off in a lot of areas.”

Lang also left the door open for freshmen Katelyn Kuniak and Caitlynn Borkowski to get playing time. That's where senior leaders Misejka and Hines come in.

“Carly and I will help the younger players as much as we can,” Misejka said.

Highlands will have some extra time to prepare for the season. The Golden Rams originally were set to play in the Freeport Tip-off Tournament, but Freeport is now a section rival. So unless the Golden Rams can find a last-minute game on Dec. 7 against a team with an opening on its schedule, they will begin on Dec. 10 against Leechburg.

Lang will be assisted by Brandy Bargerstock, Mindy Beale and Stephanie Shane.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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