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Led by junior forward Wise, Vincentian girls a favorite to defend WPIAL title

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who 2 watch

preseason player of the year

BRENNA WISE

Vincentian Academy

6-0, Sr., G/F

22.6 ppg

players to watch

MALLORY HEINLE

St. Joseph

6-1, Sr., G/F, 19.5 ppg

KRISTIN JACKSON

Quigley

5-9, Sr., G/F, 14.0 ppg

DEMI McFRAZIER

Rochester

5-8, Jr., F, 10.0 ppg

MADISON RABER

West Greene

5-10, Sr., C, 18.5 ppg

MEGAN SIEG

Serra Catholic

5-6, Sr., G, 12.5 ppg

preseason top 10

1. Vincentian (29-2)

Four starters return, including the classification's best player in junior Brenna Wise.

2. Serra Catholic (24-4)

A runner-up finish in 2012-13 was a year ahead of schedule. Now the Eagles are tested.

3. St. Joseph (11-13)

Everybody's back. Watch Heinle, a scorer similar to Wise, and F Nikki Mielecki.

4. North Catholic (15-11)

Tryouts have started for Lauren Wolosik's replacement. Trojans are still deep, talented.

5. Quigley (18-7)

The Spartans have dominated the section and now will try to challenge for title game berth.

6. Win. Thurston (13-10)

Serra's top section rival, they return junior G Lexi LoNero and senior F Shala Barney.

7. Carmichaels (13-9)

G Morgan Berardi is gone, but F Amanda Brown (13.9) gives Mikes' inside presence.

8. Rochester (12-12)

McFrazier is fantastic, and they could move up depending how much help she gets.

9. Avella (13-9)

Senior G/F Mackenna Drazich returns for the Section 3-A champions.

10. Cornell (12-11)

Center Nicole Byron and forward Taylor Davis return.

section favorites

section 1

QUIGLEY

Three starters return for Quigley, which reached the Class A semifinals last season before losing to Vincentian. The Spartans own a 26-game section win streak. Senior F Hannah Booth returns for Union, which finished in a three-way tie with Cornell and Rochester for second. F Ciara Clark (14.4 ppg, 13.3 rpg) and Aliquippa could surprise.

section 2

VINCENTIAN

St. Joseph has all five starters back, but even that may not be enough to compete with Vincentian, which lost once to a WPIAL team (Class AAAA semifinalist Gateway) last season. North Catholic will miss Lauren Wolosik, who did a little of everything. Junior guard Evelyn Brazil and senior guard Paige Kizior are two key returners. Senior forward Camille Allen averaged a double-double last season and returns for Ellis.

section 3

CARMICHAELS

Junior guard Caroline Cree emerged as a deep threat last season, and Amanda Brown presents a matchup problem inside. Avella graduated two senior starters, including leading scorer Olivia English. Jefferson-Morgan brings back its two best players in forward Ally Bogden and guard Kayla Yorko, both sophomores. California's Tristen Conaway is underappreciated because she missed a chunk of time last year because of a concussion.

section 4

SERRA CATHOLIC

Sisters Megan and Katie Sieg, a senior and a junior, combined to average nearly 24 points last season. They're joined by center Nicole Pero (6-0) and guard Leslie Hoye. Bill Cleary has 524 wins in 26 years, but the Eagles haven't captured a WPIAL title since 2005. Winchester Thurston has made the playoffs the past two years and finished second last season. Junior guard Mariha Johnson returns for Monessen, which overcame a slow start to finish third. The Greyhounds' best player in 2012-13, combo guard Mariah Ward, graduated.

Top high school sports
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, 10:12 p.m.
 

Brenna Wise wasn't content putting up monster numbers as a sophomore post player for the Vincentian girls basketball team last season.

Double-doubles were nice, but Wise wanted to refine her outside shot and make sure that, come PIAA playoff time, her body wasn't worn down.

That's why she got up at 5 a.m. four days a week this offseason and drove to The Training Centre in Mars with her dad, Stu.

Bench press, jumping rope and agility drills were part of Wise's hour-long routine, one that finished around 6:20 a.m. After school, she'd take 500 shots.

“There's always room for improvement,” Wise said. “So I hit the gym — a lot. I feel like a whole new person. I feel more comfortable in my body.”

As if she wasn't dominant enough, Wise taking her game to a new level makes Vincentian more of a threat to repeat last year's WPIAL title, the Royals' seventh overall and third since 2010.

Vincentian returns four starters from a team that finished 29-2 and reached the PIAA Class A championship game, where the Royals lost to Tri-Valley by 17.

It was a feeling that sophomore Torrieonna Cash doesn't plan on experiencing again.

“With this year's team, we feel like we can finish the unfinished business,” said Cash, who averaged 5.1 points and 3.4 steals. “We have the talent.”

That talent starts with the 6-foot Wise, an NCAA Division I prospect. Wise averaged 22.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.0 blocks per game last season.

Most of that, though, came underneath, a place Wise plans to spend half her time this winter.

“She's been working on becoming more of a complete player,” Vincentian coach Ron Moncrief said. “It's something I try to do with all my players, regardless of their height or position.

“Guards should have some post moves, and post players should be able to handle the ball.”

Wise will be surrounded by 5-11 senior Ally Bartoszewicz, who averaged 7.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and a team-high 4.2 assists. Cash returns, along with 5-6 senior Kayla Key (6.7 ppg) and 5-10 sophomore Kiersten Elliott (5.1).

Vincentian prefers an up-tempo style and making opponents uncomfortable through pressure defense. The Royals averaged 63.2 points last season, second only to WPIAL runner-up Serra Catholic (66.0).

“I know there's a lot of high expectations,” Moncrief said. “We just have to stay focused.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

 

 

 
 


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