Boosters' annual tournament to tip off local hoops season
Preseason drills are winding to a close; the regular season is on the immediate horizon.
All of which means the 2012-13 high school basketball tip-off tournaments are right around the corner.
On the local front, the Brentwood High Boosters' annual tip-off tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at the high school and middle school gyms.
Four boys' teams — Brentwood, Carrick, South Park and Steel Valley — will vie for the tournament championship; as will four girls' teams — Brentwood, Carrick, Avonworth and Brashear.
Here is the tournament schedule:
• 6 p.m. — South Park vs. Steel Valley (boys), middle school gym.
• 6 p.m. — Brentwood vs. Carrick (girls), high school gym.
• 8 p.m. — Brentwood vs. Carrick (boys), high school gym.
• 8 p.m. — Avonworth vs. Brashear (girls), middle school gym.
(All games will take place at the high school gym).
• 1 p.m. — Girls' consolation game.
• 3 p.m. — Boys' consolation game.
• 5 p.m. — Girls' championship game.
• 7 p.m. — Boys' championship game.
Both local host teams finished in second place at last year's tip-off event.
The Spartans lost a 46-44 decision to Meadville in the boys' championship game, while the Lady Spartans fell to Avonworth by a 54-19 score in the girls' title contest.
Avonworth has won the girls' division championship trophy for eight consecutive seasons.
Last year's boys' championship game was one for the ages.
Brentwood trailed by 16 points at halftime, engineered a valiant fourth-quarter comeback, only to lose on a last-second shot by Meadville guard Artrel Foster.
Foster, who finished with a team-high 15 points, was named the boys' tournament most valuable player.
Meadville then held the ball for the last shot in regulation time.
Zak Price, a junior point guard, attempted a long 3-pointer, only to have the ball bounce high off the rim to Foster, who franctically converted an off-balanced 12-foot attempt.
Lady Spartans seeking improvement
Dan Thayer is head coach of the Brentwood girls' basketball program again this season.
The former Baldwin floor boss is in his second year with the Lady Spartans. He was hired at Brentwood shortly before the start of the 2011-12 season.
“It is great to have a year in. Last year, I got the job so late that we had to use it as an evaluation season,” Thayer said. “After the season, we were able to go through an entire offseason together. This has better prepared us for the upcoming season.”
The Brentwood girls finished 1-20 overall after winning their first game last year. Thayer and his assistants, Rachel Thomas and Gerry Hall, welcomed three starters back from last year's team — Meghan Gildea, a 5-foot-5 senior guard; Laura McGowan, a 5-10 junior forward; and Sydney Bauer, a 5-5 junior guard/forward.
Rounding out the squad are freshmen Mia Jandric, Alecia Folino, and Dominique Young, in the backcourt; frontcourt player Nicole Zdrojewski; and Delaney Daly, at guard/forward.
“We have a very young team, with five freshmen. We do feel we are a much better team (than last year's squad),” Thayer said. “The coaching staff feels we have a good inside presence with Laura McGowan, and we also have some outside shooters to go with Meghan Gildea in Delaney Daly and Alecia Folino. Sydney Bauer gives us a very good defensive player. And we believe that the bench can provide us with key minutes as the season goes on.
“We will have to be a strong defensive team that rebounds real well, and we must take care of the ball and get a quality shot each possession. I believe we have improved a great deal from last year, and if we can learn to work together as a team, we can have a very nice season.”
Following the tip-off tournament, the Brentwood girls will play three consecutive road games at South Allegheny, Fort Cherry and Carlynton before meeting defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Seton-La Salle at home on Dec. 17.
The Lady Spartans, who compete in Section 4-AA, also will travel to Burgettstown and Wilkinsburg in December.
“The early season for us is loaded with games,” Thayer said. “We are going to be working hard to make sure our freshmen are prepared each and every night.
“As we do this, we are going to be working hard on building our depth — making sure that each member of the roster improves daily, and giving us a better chance to win every night.”
Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.