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Riverview boys basketball team looking to future

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Bill Shirley | For the Valley News Dispatch
Riverview's Shaine Scott (center) goes through drills during basketball practice at Riverview Jr./Sr. High School on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012.
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Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, 9:42 p.m.
 

After an injury-riddled fall from grace that was the 2011-12 season, Riverview's boys basketball team is inhaling the freshness of a new season.

“I try not to refer back to seasons gone by,” Raiders coach Kevin Krajca said. “I want each team to develop its own identity.”

Riverview was flying high in January after winning seven of its first 10 games, including a 5-0 start in Section 1-AA and a home upset of Shady Side Academy that had Oakmont craving more basketball.

But a season-ending knee injury to point guard and 21-point-per-game scorer Cory Bickert seemed to drain the Raiders and their chances.

A free-fall saw them go from first place to finishing third from the bottom in the section.

“That all happened mid-season so it was tough to flip things,” Krajca said. “We had some trouble, but I was happy with some things we did defensively.”

Riverview (9-12) still made the WPIAL playoffs and fell to Frazier, 47-37, in the prelims.

Only one full-time starter returns in Sam Gonsowski, a rangy, 6-1 senior guard.

“We're going to be very thin and very young,” Krajca said. “We've brought our freshmen up, so we have good numbers. We're excited to have them up, but they have a long way to go.”

Junior Zach Lesnick and junior Jason Anthony, who took Bickert's spot after the injury, both return to a guard-heavy team.

“Zach had some spot starts, and Jason is a physical kid who doesn't back down to challenges,” Krajca said.

Senior guard Shaine Scott also figures to be a starter. He did not play last year.

Nick DiBucci, a 5-10 junior guard, is the fifth starter. Krajca said Lesnick, DiBucci or Scott can run the point.

A still-developing bench features junior forward Danny Milberger, the tallest regular player at 6-2, and 5-9 junior guard Dom Conte.

“Our guys are all about the same size and have the same skill set,” Krajca said. “We have kids who could go for 20 (points) but I'd rather see five or six average about 12 points, and have them score evenly and equally.

“We need to be able to pass up a decent shot for a great one.”

Krajca said his team's pace of play can fluctuate.

“We're not going to stand in a halfcourt and take punches,” he said. “We'll be able to use our athleticism to our advantage.”

The Raiders have been moved to Section 3-AA with Greensburg Central, Jeannette, Serra Catholic, Shady Side Academy, South Allegheny and Springdale. Not Alle-Kiski friendly by any stretch, but no easy games either.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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