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Class AA girls basketball preview: Paced by 3 Pitt recruits, Seton-La Salle again the favorite

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who 2 watch

preseason player of the year


Seton-La Salle

6-0 sr. forward

13.3 ppg

players to watch


Greensburg Central Catholic

5-6, jr., G, 15.0 ppg



5-7, jr., G, 14.2 ppg


Seton-La Salle

5-11, sr., G/F, DNP



5-8, jr., G, 16.8 ppg



5-10, jr., G, 26.6 ppg

preseason top 10

1. Seton-La Salle (21-1)

Former Chartiers Valley coach Spence Stefko has three Pitt recruits and loads of talent.

2. Burrell (20-2)

Bordonaro is a Pepperdine recruit who led the Bucs to a pair of PIAA wins last year.

3. McGuffey (19-2)

Sammie Weiss led the WPIAL in scoring a year ago.

4. Beaver (16-4)

The Bobcats went 11-1 in section play last year and return section MVP Lexi Posset.

5. Greensburg C.C. (16-6)

New coach Joe Eisaman inherits three returning starters.

6. OLSH (18-4)

Chargers were stout defensively a year ago, allowing just 28.1 ppg.

7. Neshannock (11-11)

The Lancers were just 6-6 in section play last year but return top two players.

8. Bishop Canevin (18-4)

The defending champs return guard Johnie Olkosky (8 ppg.) and Gina Vallecorea.

9. Carlynton (12-10)

Senior G Hannah Murray (10.3 ppg) and junior G Jordan Melko (7.7 ppg) return.

10. Jeannette (15-6)

Jeannette has to replace grad Ciara Gregory (Charlotte), who averaged 30.4 ppg.

section favorites

section 1


Burrell returns all five starters from a team that went 24-4 and reached the WPIAL semifinals for the first time since 1994. They will look to junior PG Sydney Bordonaro (14.4 ppg) and sophomore F Natalie Myers (11 ppg, 10 rpg) for scoring. Ford City returns senior C Ally Cujas (14.8 ppg).

section 2


The Lancers welcome back Madison McHale, who scored 16.8 ppg, and Tayler Grybowski (8.6 ppg). Laurel brings back five starters. PIAA quarterfinalist Mohawk lost five starters, including Shelby Brown (16.6 ppg).

section 3

Greensburg C.C

GCC coach Chris Kallock was not retained after one season. Joe Eisaman was promoted from his assistant position and returns junior G Carolyn Appleby (15 ppg), as well as G Nikki Adisey (11 ppg) and C Leah Bisignani. Junior F Monique Redman (13.7 ppg) is back for WPIAL semifinalist Jeannette.

section 4

Seton-La Salle

Seton-La Salle boasts three Pitt recruits in Yacine Diop, Naje Gibson and Cassidy Walsh. The Rebels didn't win a WPIAL title last season after claiming the previous two, but they went 12-0 in section play. Bishop Canevin won the WPIAL title, was a PIAA runner-up and defeated Seton twice in the postseason.

section 5


Sammie Weiss (27.1 ppg) will lead the defending section champion Highlanders, with returning starters Samantha Chadwick, Rachel Czulewicz, Abby Pattison and Cassie Weiss. Washington welcomes back all-section C Mya Gordon (10 ppg), and Charleroi has all-section G Mia Woytovich (14.3 ppg).

section 6


Beaver returns two starters but that includes last year's section MVP, junior PG Lexi Posset (16.1 ppg) and a strong junior class. OLSH returns a pair of all-section performers in sophomore G Bri Van Volkenburg (11.4 ppg) and senior F Tia Scuilli (9 ppg).

Top high school sports
By Justin Criado
Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Significant changes usually come after disappointing seasons, but the Seton-La Salle girls basketball team will have a different look after quite a successful year.

After cruising to a 27-3 record, including deep runs in the WPIAL and state playoffs, the Rebels hired a new coach and will feature a new player, who transferred from Virginia's Oak Hill Academy last year.

“I got all the support in the world so there hasn't been much of an adjustment,” said coach Spencer Stefko, who guided Chartiers Valley to a 137-51 record the past seven seasons. “There certainly hasn't been challenges.”

Stefko replaces John Ashaolu, who is the Seton-La Salle athletic director and served as interim coach last year after Dennis Squeglia resigned.

“Between the two coaches, I would say they both know a couple things about basketball,” said senior Naje Gibson, referring to Stefko and Ashaolu's resumes.

The Rebels have been receiving praise, too. Three players have committed to Pitt, including senior guard/forward Yacine Diop, who sat out her junior year after transferring to Seton-La Salle and has played internationally for her home country of Senegal.

“The kids are a lot more hungry than you would imagine a stereotypical talented kid,” Stefko said. “They really want to learn. You don't necessarily expect that mindset from a kid that's talented or already has a scholarship. It's just a great feeling to be a part of.”

The 6-foot Gibson, also headed to Pitt, is the spark of the offense, leading the Rebels in scoring (13 ppg), rebounds (165) and steals (81) last season. But the 5-foot 10 Diop will complement Gibson's generous game.

“She is one of the most unselfish players,” Stefko said. “Sometimes we need to tell her to shoot.”

Gibson added: “I try to get better for my teammates and be a good teammate and leader and play hard.”

Though much of the focus will be on Gibson, Diop and junior Pitt commit Cassidy Walsh, Stefko said the team's depth will be key.

“It gives me the feeling we can be pretty good because we got some depth,” Stefko said. “By the end of the year we can be a tough out.”

Junior Nicolete Newman and sophomore Shaunay Edmonds will round out the starting five. A trio of juniors highlight a talented bench — guards Giavanna Facchiano and Julie DeKlaven and forward Morgan Henderson.

Practices have been competitive, and it's no secret what Seton's plans are for the end of the year.

“Win WPIALs again and win another state (title),” Gibson said.

Justin Criado is a freelance writer.



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