Same expectations for Monessen Lady Greyhounds
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A new basketball season may be getting ready to tip off, but the expectations never change for the Monessen Lady Greyhounds.
Just ask fourth-year Monessen head coach Gina Naccarato.
“Our (first) goal is to win the section,” said Naccarato, who helped establish such lofty goals when she played in the 1990s, scoring 3,364 points, which remains the all-time WPIAL record.
“We also want to qualify for both the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs.”
Naccarato hopes to continue a run that began with her predecessor, legendary coach Major Corley, as Monessen has made the WPIAL playoffs in each of the last 23 seasons.
A major factor in the team reaching the goals in Section 4 A will be the senior one-two punch of guard Mariah Ward and guard/forward Chelsea Szakal.
Ward averaged 20.9 points and 3.3 assists per game a season ago while Szakal contributed 12.1 and 7.9 rebounds a game before injuring her ACL.
Ward has 1,089 points for her career while Szakal has 558.
Naccarato says that the pair will have to be the leaders.
“They will be the leaders on the floor during the game because they are the ones with the most experience as far as playing time goes,” she said. “They will be surrounded by three others who didn't get a lot of varsity experience, so Mariah and Chelsea will have to guide them.”
Naccarato is happy with how Szakal has worked hard to recover from her injury. The coach hopes to have her cleared for action by the start of the season.
“She worked hard all summer to get back for the first day of practice,” Naccarato said. “She is actually ahead of schedule in her progress.”
Junior forward Monet Wade was a spot starter a season ago and is in the lineup along with junior guard-forward Eden Holland and senior guard Asyaa Davis.
Other players expected to see playing time include senior forward Edzarae Bell and a pair of sophomores, guard/forward Cara Grogan and guard Mariah Johnson.
So what does Monessen have to do to have a successful season while replacing three full-time starters and a part-time starter to graduation from a team that went 20-4?
“We have to play Monessen basketball,” Naccarato said matter-of-factly. “That means we have to run, press, and play good defense.
“And hopefully we can get some fans to attend games and support us. It really helps the girls on the floor to see a lot of fans in the seats.”
Naccarato feels that Clairton and Winchester Thurston are the other top teams in the section, which also includes Frazier, Geibel, and Serra Catholic.
“Both teams played us tough and have most of their players back,” she said of Clairton and Winchester Thurston.
“Serra should be good too.”
The Lady Hounds are in the McKeesport Tip-off Tournament next weekend.
Bill Hughes is a freelance writer.
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.
- Deep roster sparks Butler boys basketball team
- Butler girls basketball team earning narrow victories
- Defensive play fueling Mars boys basketball team
- West Mifflin edges late-charging Steel Valley in Section 4 contest
- Shady Side Academy torments Apollo-Ridge, moves to 3-0
- Plum’s defense seals win over McKeesport
- Roundup: Cal turns showdown into 63-36 blowout
- Greensburg high school roundup: Hempfield downs Penn-Trafford to stay unbeaten
- Valley Independent roundup: Elizabeth Forward edges Ringgold in Section 4-AAA clash
- McKeesport boys remain unbeaten in section after win over Fox Chapel
- Ringgold girls escape with 41-35 win over Brownsville