Belle Vernon Area boys feature another young team
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Second-year Belle Vernon Area boys' basketball coach Eric James finds himself and his team in a unique position this season.
A year ago, the Leps were very young as James at times had a freshman, two sophomores, and a pair of juniors in his starting lineup.
The results were predictable as BVA struggled through a 3-19 campaign, losing the first 14 games of the season before recording James' first victory.
The Leps, howver, did manage to win two of their final four games of the campaign.
This year, the Leps are even younger with as many freshmen (three) on the varsity and junior varsity teams as he has seniors.
“There is no doubt that we are young, but we return four starters that gained valuable experience last season,” James said, referring to senior guard Ryan Thomas, senior forward Jesse Kallam, junior guard Jason Capco, and junior forward Jake Sweitzer.
“We will work hard and continue to get better.”
A fifth starter and last year's leading scorer as a freshman, Travis Snyder (just under 11 points per game) is out for the year after having ACL surgery as a result of a football injury.
“We know what we have in Trav when he is on the court,” James said. “But the guys also realize this gives others a chance to step up and get the job done.”
This is the fourth straight year a BVA starter has been lost for the season following a surgery.
A pair of juniors, guard Cody Menges and forward Aaron McCullough, are the only other Leps who have varsity experience and will contribute.
“Depending on which lineup we go with Cody and Saw will be in there a lot,” James said. “We also have other guys that will provide depth.”
Among them could be senior guard Tyler King, junior guard Joe Bondi, and several sophomores.
Last season, the Leopards struggled from the season's opening tip-off, winning only once in their first 18 games before winning two of their last four games. The wins came against Albert Gallatin and Mt. Pleasant.
The Leps will again compete in Section 4 AAA, which has undergone some changes with Ringgold and Steel Valley being added to the seven-team section.
BVA will be thrown right into the fire with three tough games in the opening five days of the season before heading into section play.
The Leps play Hempfield Friday, Jeannette Saturday, and Uniontown Tuesday.
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.
- WPIAL Class AAA boys basketball preview: Experienced lineup has Mars among title contenders
- Woodland Hills’ plan starts to come together
- New coach ready to get started with Gateway girls basketball
- WPIAL Class AAA girls basketball preview: South Fayette using title-game defeat as motivation
- Crop of young players bodes well for Springdale boys basketball team
- Franklin Regional boys basketball enters the season battle-tested
- Springdale girls seeking fresh start after 0-19 year
- Woodland Hills girls basketball team emphasizing attention to detail
- Connellsville girls ready to compete for playoffs spot
- Gateway boys basketball looking to get defensive
- South Allegheny boys seeking bounce-back season