East Allegheny girls continue to build roster
It has taken East Allegheny coach Mike Osiecki three seasons to achieve something most coaches make use of every season — a full roster.
The Wildcats roster sits at 12 players and could grow to as many as 15 after having just eight players last year and similar numbers the year prior.
This year, just having a full complement of players to call on should bring instant improvement on last year's 1-18 season, the coach said.
“Obviously talent's going to win you the game,” Osiecki said.
“But with what I've had, I haven't even always finished the game with five girls, with fouling out and injuries.”
While being competitive and winning now is always the goal for any team, Osiecki certainly has been putting a lot of effort into building a sustainable program.
He runs the girls basketball program on every level for East Allegheny, including the middle school.
“It's been a long haul,” Osiecki said. “Next year we've got a big influx of our middle school. Once we get the JV team running we'll have more success, but I think we're a year ahead of schedule.”
Until the infusion of young talent arrives, the Wildcats will be relying on four-year starter Kaitlyn Keenan to lead the way. Keenan averaged 11.4 points last year to lead East Allegheny.
Unfortunately, the team will be without Keenan for the beginning of the season due to mouth surgery; she also missed the start of last season with a concussion.
“That's going to hurt us because a lot of the teams we can compete with are in the earlier part of the year,” Osiecki said.
“But you know, the scale is tipping, even in our section.”
Other than junior Stormy Green, the rest of the returning players are sophomores.
Katie Jenkins, Annie Eichler and Sierra Francis all figure to be significant contributors for the Wildcats.
Missing from the group of returnees is former starting point guard Ashley Harner, a sophomore who suffered a career-ending injury when she tore her meniscus last year after tearing her ACL the season prior.
Another bright spot in the early goings of the season is freshman forward Cache Street.
Street is a gifted athlete who also participates in track and field, and “can jump through the sky,” according to Osiecki.
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.