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Sewickley Academy girls turn focus to next season with returning roster

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Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Academy's Riley Roberts defends against a Union player during a game at Sewickley Academy Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012.
Top high school sports
By Karen Kadilak
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

After finishing the season last week, members of the Sewickley Academy girls basketball team began thinking about next year, when all players are expected to return.

“We're excited,” said Amanda McLeod, one of three junior co-captains.

“I see a team with a bright future,” agreed coach Allen Vaccarelli.

After switching to an up-tempo offense in the second half of the season, the Panthers scored more and committed fewer turnovers.

In a rematch with Cornell last week, they lost by only six points after losing by 36 a month ago.

“We've been getting better,” junior Katelyn Ripple said.

With several close section losses,Vaccarelli said his team's record (6-14 overall, 3-9 in Section 1-A) was deceiving.

“If we made one shot or made one steal, or grabbed one more rebound, we would have won and been in the (WPIAL) playoffs,” he said.

Freshman Maddy Casale (160 points), Ripple (146) and sophomore Kayla Guerin (70) led the Panthers in scoring.

Casale also had the most assists (35) and was second in steals with 46.

Sophomores Riley Roberts and Rylee Vaccarelli were second and third in assists with 30 and 28, respectively.

Ripple led the teams in rebounds (175) and steals (70).

Junior Mackenzie Pryor was second in rebounds (103) and third in steals (34).

To prepare for next season, Pryor said she and her teammates are considering attending a summer camp.

“Possibly, we'll also do some drills in the fall, but we play other sports and can't always devote as much time to basketball as we would like,” said McLeod, who was among team leaders with 101 rebounds.

The Panthers finished tied for fifth in Section 1-A, just one spot away from a playoff berth.

They earned section wins over Western Beaver (2) and Aliquippa. They also suffered single-digit losses to Union, Aliquippa, Rochester and Cornell.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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