Zezza enjoys bigger role in year two
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Last season, Courtney Zezza stepped onto the court in a varsity game for the first time.
She knew that adjustments would be made after some of the things she experienced.
The 6-foot-3 Plum sophomore has taken those lessons and experiences to heart and has translated them into a strong second varsity campaign.
Zezza and the rest of the Mustangs varsity girls basketball team are looking forward to the WPIAL playoffs and were in position to officially clinch a spot in the postseason Tuesday evening if either Penn Hills or Franklin Regional lost their section matchups.
The games involving the Indians and Panthers, both 3-5, concluded past the deadline for this week's edition.
Plum, 6-2 in section, received a bye on Tuesday and resumes section action Friday at 6 p.m. at Penn Hills.
The Mustangs have won three in a row in section and four in a row overall after a 50-38 loss to section front runner Fox Chapel on Jan. 11.
Zezza, one of several key cogs in the Plum machine this season, has faced the usually physical battles in the paint both in and out of section, and she has turned in some strong performances.
She has several games this season where she has reached double figures in both scoring and rebounding.
“All of the other girls on the team are getting better, so that's helping me,” Zezza said. “It's a team effort. We try to make each other better. I knew games could be physical. I had to get better with that.”
Plum head coach Bernie Pucka said Zezza's improvement from her freshman to sophomore seasons was aided with hard work in the offseason.
“Courtney played a lot of basketball over the summer, and I have to give (Plum assistant coach) Jennifer Bruce Scott credit with coaching her and developing her as a player (in AAU basketball),” Pucka said.
“She worked on individual moves and overall aggressiveness like coming to the ball and stepping towards passes.”
Pucka said he saw the difference in Zezza in the first summer league games.
“It was an instant change,” Pucka said.
“Now, she's not afraid to catch the ball at half court and go to the basket. She's certainly a presence inside. I've watched her grow from a freshman just learning what it takes to play at the varsity level to being a confident player this year.”
Pucka said Zezza doesn't take anything for granted, even though she's one of the tallest players in the WPIAL.
“It can be frustrating at times,” Pucka said.
“People look at her and say that because she's 6-3, she's got it made. It takes a lot more than height to be a basketball player, and she's developed her overall game.”
Zezza also will be a big part of the game plan when Plum and Gateway meet on Saturday at noon at Plum High School.
Seniors Yasimin Kelly and Angelena Borriello will be honored in a ceremony after the game.
The contest between the Mustangs and Gators originally was to be played last Friday, but the snowstorm that hit western Pennsylvania caused the game's postponement.
Gateway suffered a 42-41 upset loss to Woodland Hills last week and dropped to 7-1 in section play. The setback snapped a 26-game section winning streak.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.