The exact number is irrelevant (it's actually 35.8). Whatever the number cited, it's been brought up repeatedly.
“We've discussed it every day in practice,” Mt. Lebanon girls basketball coach Dori Oldaker emphasized more than once.
“That's definitely been mentioned,” Blue Devils senior guard Amanda Frosztega said, the roll of her eyes palpable even via phone.
Thirty-five was the average points Mt. Lebanon's graduated seniors scored per game last season.
Kelly Johnson (Clarion University), Liz Tommasi (Johns Hopkins) and Emma Pellicano (Allegheny College) were the Blue Devils' top three scorers last season.
“We discuss the fact that we've got to make up those 30 or 35 points we lost,” Oldaker said. “That's scary. We've got find a way. Someone has to step up.”
At Mt. Lebanon, there seemingly always is someone who can.
The defending WPIAL Class AAAA champion Blue Devils have played in the past four WPIAL championship games (winning three) and had their string of four consecutive PIAA title game appearances snapped with a PIAA quarterfinal loss last season.
Still, Mt. Lebanon enters the 2012-13 season that begins Dec. 7 having won three of the past four PIAA championships.
Even with the void of 35.8 points to fill, the Blue Devils are again expected to maintain their status as the marquee program in WPIAL Class AAAA basketball.
“We will be fine,” Frosztega said. “Everybody knows how to score — it's just about having more of a mindset to do it and finding a way to get those points.”
With five seniors graduated from last season's 25-4 team, Oldaker said Mt. Lebanon entered preseason practice with an open competition for all five starting spots.
Junior forward Christine Ehland and senior forward Jordan Holmes are back, projected as starters again, along with Frosztega, senior guard Alex Ventrone and junior guard Margie McCaffrey. Junior Madeleine Collins is a swing player who also should see playing time.
“We're always aware of what the standard is at Mt. Lebanon,” Frosztega said. “Everybody is trying to beat you, so you have to take that competition and get better.”
As usual, Mt. Lebanon will play a challenging nonsection schedule with an eye to seeing where it stacks up come late February.
If it's anything like the past five years, you can bet Mt. Lebanon will be a title contender.
“We're not there yet,” Oldaker said. “But I have hope that we'll get there.”
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