Chartiers Valley's returning starters enjoying jump to Class AAAA
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Chartiers Valley girls basketball coach Spencer Stefko postulates his team is a gregarious and a tight enough crew that even if it was losing, it'd be having fun doing it.
That's mere conjecture, though. These Colts don't lose too often.
Off to a 4-0 start and ranked No. 2 in WPIAL Class AAAA after moving into the classification this season, the Colts enjoy each other as much as they enjoy winning.
“I've got the kind of group of kids that you love them so much, you'd rather go to battle and lose with them than win with some other group of kids,” Stefko said. “That's rare you get that in coaching, that you just really enjoy the kids every day, and you don't have days where you're ticked off at them and you don't want to be around them. It's fun.
“We may lose games, but I don't think there's going to be games where the other teams have more fun than we do.”
Stefko likes to boast that he has six starters back from a team that went 20-2 in the regular season and advanced to the WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA semifinals. That's because a combination of injury, illness and Stefko's prerogative in making a lineup allowed six players to start an abundance of games during Chartiers Valley's campaign last winter.
“We're pretty blessed with six kids who we can interchange seamlessly,” Stefko said. “And then three other kids who weren't in the rotation last year who have come along and provide us a spark off the bench, so we're lucky there, too.”
Chief among the Colts' experienced lineup is the dynamic duo of seniors Mariah Wells and Kassidy O'Keefe. They combined for more than 20 points per game last season, and each was an all-section selection.
Wells, a 5-foot-9 guard/forward, will play at Seton Hill, and O'Keefe is being recruited by Division III schools.
“What you notice about them most is how tough and nasty they are on the floor,” Stefko said. “They're both really skilled players and both real good college players who are still at the high school level. Sometimes you just feel them imposing their will on other people.”
Stefko also places sophomore Alexa Golden in that category. Golden, a 5-8 guard/forward, is “a big-time player nobody knew about yet with three seniors and two juniors around (as teammates),” Stefko said. “But she's a player (college coaches) are all about.”
Juniors Jenna Devinney and Kristin McGeough and senior Kristina Coyne are the Colts' other returning starters. At 6-3, McGeough is a presence at forward. The other players in the rotation have versatility to play at different spots on the floor.
Sophomores Karley O'Keefe, Melissa Rickens and Alyssa Mazzarini are options off the bench.
No matter what combination of players that's on the floor, one thing's for sure: They probably are enjoying playing — and playing together.
“We're just one big family,” Wells said. “With some of these guys, I've been with them since sixth grade, and some I played AAU with. And the new ones, they've just come in and fit in with the rest of us. This team, they're a load of fun to be around.”
Chris Adamski 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.