Share This Page

Mt. Pleasant coach banking on collective team

| Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 11:35 p.m.
Alexa Szelong and the Vikings are looking for a big season in 2012-13. Evan R. Sanders/Daily Courier

Mt. Pleasant girls basketball coach Scott Giacobbi watches talented individuals every day at practice.

Once the regular season begins, he hopes they can come together as one very talented team.

“We're trying to ensure that everybody understands what their collective fit needs to be for us to be successful,” Giacobbi said. “We have some really good individual players, but our team's success is going to depend on how well we can put that talent together.”

Three starters return from last season's squad, which finished 17-6 after losing in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

Senior forwards Casey Zelenak and Jena Szelong, along with sophomore Alexa Szelong, will form the core of Mt. Pleasant's team.

“Casey's been a contributor to our success since she was a freshman,” Giacobbi said. “She's third in a line of sisters who have played for us. She has really grown into the role of team leader this year. She was one of our co-leaders last season on offense and she anchors our interior defense. Casey has just been a solid and very consistent performer for us.”

Giacobbi said Jena Szelong will be counted on to control the boards.

“She really is a very intelligent player for us on the floor,” he said. “Jena makes a lot happen as an offensive rebounder and she is a great performer on the glass defensively. She's one of our best free throw shooters and she gets to the line frequently.”

As a freshman, Alexa Szelong was Mt. Pleasant's point guard and co-scoring leader.

“She's very talented and we relied on her a lot as a freshman,” Giacobbi said. “We're really looking for big things from her. We have a great core to build around and we have some key returning reserves, kids that got a lot of playing time last season.”

Giacobbi said he also expects senior Bria Rogers and juniors Jordan Toohey and Elaina Fearer to see significant playing time.

Last season, the Vikings finished in second place in Section 3-AAA, one game behind Uniontown.

“I think we'll be in the hunt again this year, but our section is really tough,” Giacobbi said. “Uniontown brings back three starters and has other experienced players. They won the section last year and they have been a capable team year in and year out. Indiana is steady and consistent and every game we have with them is a battle. In our section, there will be no nights off. It will be a challenge every night.”

The Vikings open the season against North Hills in the Franklin Regional Tip-off Tournament on Friday.

Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.

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.