Monessen boys big on experience, athleticism
By Jeff Oliver
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, 2:51 a.m.
Joe Salvino and the Monessen Greyhounds didn't experience a typical season in 2012-13.
While Monessen managed to qualify for the playoffs for a current WPIAL-best 32nd straight season, the Greyhounds (10-14) finished under .500 for only the second time in Salvino's previous 29 seasons.
The good news for Salvino is that he welcomes back all five starters and one of his top reserves from last year's team. He said the experience will make the Greyhounds a better team.
“We have an experienced bunch and a lot of athletes,” Salvino said. “I think our speed and athleticism will be our strength. I'm just hoping that the kids who played last year learned a little more about basketball for this season.”
Back for Monessen is leading scorer Clintell Gillaspie, a senior. Other returning starters seniors are Justice Rawlins, Tyler Yuille and Javon Brown and sophomore Lavelle Rush.
Junior Noah Rullo, who played extensively a year ago, will also see plenty of action and occasionally start, Salvino said.
“Our only problem is we don't have much height,” the veteran coach said. “Yuille, at 6-3, is our tallest player. What I'm hoping we do is get up and down the court and play strong defense.
“We want to pressure the ball all over the court with our man-to-man defense and let our defense create our offense.”
Salvino said that while height is going to be a problem, depth will not.
He listed no fewer than five players outside of his returning six whom he expects to be factors this season.
Those players are senior Kayne Jackson, juniors Irvin Green and Brandon Lenhart and freshmen Justice Rice and Jaden Altomore.
“All of those kids are short on basketball sense, but have plenty of athleticism,” Salvino said. “We're going to depend on all of them at some point.”
A year ago, the Greyhounds were inexperienced and lost their first nine games before winning 10 of the next 15.
“We started 0-9, but we played a lot of quality Quad A and AAA schools,” he said. “And we will do that again this year. I have always believed that playing against bigger quality schools helps in the long run.
“The difference is last season, we lost some of those games because of our inexperience. This year, I expect us not only to compete, but win some of those early games.”
Monessen opens the season Dec. 6 in the Upper St. Clair Tip-Off Tournament against the host team.
The non-section schedule includes powerhouses such as Franklin Regional, Hempfield, Uniontown and Sto-Rox.
In Section 3 A, where the Greyhounds will play, Salvino says two of the top teams will be Clairton and Carmichaels.
However, he expects his team to finish at or near the top.
“Hopefully, we're somewhere near the top of our section at the end,” he said. “That's always one of the goals — to win the section. But we also hope to do more than that. The bar is always set high here.”
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or email@example.com.
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.
- Hampton, Luther prove too tall a task for Allderdice
- Blackhawk fights past sloppy 1st half to beat Mercyhurst
- Greensburg Central Catholic boys roll past Bald Eagle in PIAA opener
- Defensive stop sets tone in Erie McDowell win over Kiski Area
- PIAA boys basketball roundup: Chartiers Valley pulls out first-round victory
- North Allegheny girls enjoy ‘bounce back’ win over WPIAL champion Penn-Trafford
- Breaking down the PIAA boys basketball playoffs
- Free-throw shooting keys Fox Chapel’s opening-round win
- TJ boys hang on despite foul trouble
- Minnie paces Lincoln Park in PIAA opening-round rout of Johnsonburg
- PIAA girls basketball roundup: Mt. Lebanon ousted in first round