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Sisters leading Lions

Steph Anderson | For the Tribune-Review
Greensburg Salem's Jayne Oberdorf shoots a free throw during a girl's basketball tournament game against Hempfield on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 at Hempfield High School.

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By Alex Oltmanns
Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, 8:40 p.m.

Having good team chemistry in the backcourt is almost always a necessary ingredient for success among all winning basketball teams.

So when a team's top two players not only share the same backcourt, but also the same last name as well, that can only help.

The Greensburg Salem girls basketball team has jumped out to a 5-3 overall record and a share of first place in Section 3-AAA this year behind the Oberdorf sisters (Jayne and Claire's) stellar performances.

“We just kind of know where each other are all the time since we've been playing with each other forever,” senior Jayne Oberdorf said of her sophomore sister.

The sisters lead the Golden Lions for the second consecutive season in scoring, as Jayne and Claire pace Greensburg Salem with 19.4 and 15.9 points per game, respectively.

“They know each other pretty much like a book,” Greensburg Salem coach Jeanine Vertacnik said. “If one goes left, she's going to pass left. They know where they are and where to find you.”

That chemistry was on display at the Hempfield Christmas Tournament this past week, as the Golden Lions went 2-1. In their second game of the tournament, the Oberdorf sisters each scored 22 points, as Jayne was 5 for 9 from 3-point range in a 73-63 win over Woodland Hills.

But the recent emergence of a third prominent scorer has also contributed to Greensburg Salem's success.

Junior Karly Mellinger, a junior transfer from Greensburg Central Catholic, is also averaging in double figures, scoring at a clip of 11.9 points per game. She scored a season-high 28 points in the team's tournament finale Dec. 29 against West Mifflin.

“She is our tallest player (5-foot-11), and since she's a guard she has a lot of mismatch opportunities,” Jayne Oberdorf said.

Heading into the bulk of section play, the team believes it gained positive momentum from the Hempfield Tournament that it can take with it in the upcoming months.

“I thought we did really good,” Claire Oberdorf said. “As we played each game, we seemed to play better and better and found a lot of positives about every game.”

Already with two wins within the section over Yough and an impressive win at Uniontown on Dec. 20, Vertacnik believes her team has what it takes to take the next step this season after finishing 13-11 last year.

“If we can stay healthy, I really believe the girls want to take that next step and win the section,” Vertacnik said. “I think we really have a legitimate shot to win it after going down to Uniontown and beating them on their home court which was a big win for us.

“Our goal is to win the section this year and get into the state playoffs. Not just win a playoff game, but try to get into the state playoffs.”

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

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