Leechburg girls basketball team seeks respectability
By Dave Yohe
Published: Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, 10:33 p.m.
Success for the Leechburg girls basketball team won't be based on wins and losses this season.
“I think the big thing for us is attitude, if I can change the culture and the attitude,” first-year coach Joel Ceraso said. “I want them to stand over there with me. It's a work in progress.”
For the past few seasons, success has been limited. Leechburg has just seven wins total in the past five seasons.
Ceraso's coaching background should assist him in forming a plan to get the program turned in the right direction.
A little more than a decade ago, Ceraso worked as the assistant to then-boys coach Larry Ondako.
He took time away from the bench to raise his children. The itch to coach came back when the Leechburg job became available.
One of the changes in the program Ceraso identified has nothing to do with what happens on the court but can have a major impact on performance.
“This program has been treated like a recreational program. It hasn't been taken seriously,” Ceraso said. “We're playing in a double-A section. We're playing schools that take this very seriously. You're throwing these girls to the wolves. (Success is) not going to happen overnight.”
Compound that alleged attitude with a lack of interest and you have a climate that is not conducive to forming a winning program.
“I don't know what the future holds for just this year,” Ceraso said. “We have a lot of kids who have never picked up a basketball before.”
With no seniors on the team, junior Missy Jones will look to provide offensive spark this season.
“We will depend on her to kind of run the show a little bit,” Ceraso said. “She might be our best offensive playmaker, and she might be our best offensive weapon.”
Freshman Lexie Young brings raw, athletic talent to the team. She is the type of player Ceraso is looking for.
Though Ceraso admitted a proposed move to District 6's Heritage Conference would have been beneficial to the program, he chooses not to dwell on it. The team remains in the WPIAL, and that is going to be his focus this season.
The move, which was approved by most necessary parties, was canceled this past summer.
“The program didn't get much respect from anybody. I just want these girls to draw a line and take ownership in it. I told them I don't expect too much success,” Ceraso said. “We'll measure our success other ways. I told the kids if they can have people come and say they hate to play this team, I'll take it.”
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Free-throw shooting keys Fox Chapel’s opening-round win
- Minnie paces Lincoln Park in PIAA opening-round rout of Johnsonburg
- PIAA boys basketball roundup: Chartiers Valley pulls out first-round victory
- North Allegheny girls enjoy ‘bounce back’ win over WPIAL champion Penn-Trafford
- ‘Lucky’ Monessen survives in 2 OTs
- Derry’s Phillippi upset in PIAA quarterfinals
- TJ boys hang on despite foul trouble
- Burrell girls eye improvement even after easy win in PIAA opener
- Breaking down the PIAA boys basketball playoffs
- PIAA girls basketball roundup: Mt. Lebanon ousted in first round
- Frazier, EF girls set to hit PIAA road