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

| Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, 10:12 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Vincentian's Brenna Wise pulls in a rebound during practice Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 in McCandless.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Vincentian's Brenna Wise drives to the basket between teammates during practice Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 in McCandless.

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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