Long-range shooting has Greensburg Salem girls contending
TribLIVE Sports Videos
In theory, at least, scouting the Greensburg Salem girls basketball team should be fairly easy.
Opposing teams don't have to worry about preparing for a team with a deep rotation. A lack of height eliminates much of an inside scoring presence. It's even most clear who will be taking the majority of the shots.
In fact, the Lions' starting five players rarely even come out of a game.
The simplicity, however, ends there.
The challenge, as numerous opponents have discovered, is trying to find a way to slow down a team which rarely subs — and also trying to slow the onslaught of long-range shots Greensburg Salem fires on a nightly basis. Then there's the chemistry factor that comes from playing together so much.
Fatigue, surprisingly, has not been a major issue, according to coach Janine Vertacnik, who says her group is in “superior condition.” Instead, it's been a few scattered “off nights” shooting — a poor first half in a loss against Uniontown last week (4-of-28 shooting) being an example. The Red Raiders' victory could prevent the Lions from winning an outright section title.
The Lions (13-5, 8-1), who have relied this season on the 3-point shot, enter Thursday's Section 3-AAA contest against streaky Mt. Pleasant (9-9, 5-4) with a lot on the line. If Greensburg Salem wins out — it also plays at Indiana (7-2, 12-6) and against Derry (3-7, 4-12) — it is guaranteed at least a share of the section title.
Despite her team's earlier wins against all three opponents, Vertacnik isn't expecting anything to be easy.
“We're in a great position,” she said. “There are a lot of teams already packing up for the season. The girls know they have to take care of business. Just because you won the first time around doesn't mean anything is guaranteed. You have to be ready to run into a hot team.”
Indiana and Derry will be playing with playoff hopes at stake.
The Lions have been led most nights in scoring by senior guard Jayne Oberdorf (16.8 ppg), sophomore guard Claire Oberdorf (16.5) and junior Greensburg Central Catholic transfer Karly Mellinger (14.8).
But as Vertacnik points out, the high-scoring trio is only part of the equation.
She credits her other two seniors — guard/forward Taylor Mehan and point guard Angela Bayla — as being the team's unsung heroes.
“They do the dirty work,” Vertacnik said. “Taylor has been great on the boards, and Angela just finds holes to get her teammates the open shots. Everybody we play knows who is going to be shooting the ball. There aren't any surprises. These two really help to make it happen. They are kind of like my offensive linemen. Everybody talks about the quarterbacks and running backs, but nothing works without the offensive line.”
Vertacnik is confident her team can make some noise in the playoffs if it gets there, but first the Lions want to wrap up the section slate.
Greensburg Salem won a tight 46-43 decision over Mt. Pleasant the first time around, and not many would count on the Lions beating a strong Indiana team by 20 points again.
“This is where I thought we'd be at this point,” she said. “We have a good team here with talented shooters. We've gutted some games out and shown high energy in our losses. It's been a long time since this program has won a section title, and I really want to see them do it. Hold your breath. It's going to be interesting.”
Brian Hunger 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.
- Blackhawk girls top South Fayette to repeat as WPIAL Class AAA champs
- Allderdice boys advance to PIAA tournament
- Undefeated Aliquippa downs Seton-La Salle for WPIAL Class AA title
- Indiana boys beat Beaver Falls for 1st WPIAL basketball title
- Seton-La Salle girls defeat rival Bishop Canevin to capture 7th WPIAL title
- Monessen boys capture yet another WPIAL basketball title
- Monessen downs Jeannette to win WPIAL Class A championship
- Playoff experience could pay dividends for Butler basketball team
- Blairsville girls claim District 6-A title
- Norwin boys basketball team falls in opening round of WPIAL playoffs
- Third-quarter run helps Seton-La Salle boys return to WPIAL title game