Kittanning boys convinced success will continue
By Bill West
Published: Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, 8:16 p.m.
Among members of Kittanning's boys basketball team, there's some struggle to conceal confidence this season.
Fielding a lineup loaded with experienced, tall, athletic players will have that effect.
Four starters return from a team (9-14, 6-8 in Section 1-AAA) that made the playoffs for the first time since 1985. Only one player on this season's squad is shorter than 6 feet.
“And they're bigger and a little stronger this year,” coach Bill Henry said. “But it all comes down to the mental aspect of the game, how they prepare for it and how seriously they practice. I think that's where the key is with them right now.”
Senior guard Sterling Henry headlines the group of returning starters. One winter ago, he led the team in points (18.9), rebounds (7.8), assists (3.1), blocks (2.9) and steals (3.3) per game.
Henry, a 6-foot-4 inside-outside threat, is comfortable with the idea of continuing to produce at those levels.
But he believes the improvement of his teammates during the offseason might allow him to actually shoulder less responsibility in the offensive end.
“Everyone has gotten a lot better, so I don't know,” Henry said of his role. “It's whatever the team needs me to do. I don't really mind how many points I score a game, as long as we win them.”
Senior forward Vince Mead (6-6) worked well as Henry's pick-and-roll partner. He averaged 11.1 points per game and also ranked second on the team in assists (2.2) and rebounds (6.6) per game.
The task of bringing the ball up the court often belonged to Henry last season. But senior Kevin Barnes (6-1) and junior Alex Schaffer (6-1) now are prepared to share that duty full-time; both previously ran the point to spell Henry.
“Really, it's whoever gets the rebound takes it,” Barnes said.
Barnes, who also served as one of the team's top defenders, averaged 3.5 points, 1.7 assists, 2 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
Choices to round out Kittanning's starting lineup include senior swingman Mitch Pirhalla (6-3), junior forward Eric Hulings (6-6), sophomore guard Noah Kunst (6-1) and sophomore forward Nick Bowers (6-5).
Bill Henry said juniors Corey Oresick (6-3), Jordan Lattanzi (5-8) and sophomore Noah Spang (6-1) provide the Wildcats additional depth, particularly in the frontcourt.
Kittanning's shot at a section title slightly improved after WPIAL realignment moved perennial power Hampton to Class AAAA. But the Wildcats welcomed Freeport as a new and challenging section foe, and Mars, a frequent playoff qualifier, remained in the group.
“This is definitely the year that we have the best opportunity to go for the section title,” Barnes said.
“We're looking at it as we were one of the top teams last year,” Bill Henry said, “so why not be one of the top teams again this year?”
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.
- Serra Catholic’s PIAA path and foe familiar
- West Mifflin ponders late breakdowns in PIAA playoff loss
- Hampton, Luther prove too tall a task for Allderdice
- Elizabeth Forward girls advance to PIAA second round
- ‘Lucky’ Monessen survives in 2 OTs
- Breaking down the PIAA boys basketball playoffs
- Defensive stop sets tone in Erie McDowell win over Kiski Area
- Minnie paces Lincoln Park in PIAA opening-round rout of Johnsonburg
- TJ boys hang on despite foul trouble
- PIAA boys basketball roundup: Chartiers Valley pulls out first-round victory
- Blackhawk fights past sloppy 1st half to beat Mercyhurst