Charleroi girls open season with veteran team
When asked, second-year Charleroi girls' basketball coach Joe Grodz did not hesitate to mention his team's goals for the upcoming season.
“We want to compete for the Section 5 AA title,” he said. “It is hard to predict how things will turn out for the season, though.
“We should be competitive as long as we stay healthy and stay focused on team goals.”
The main reason Grodz was quick to point out chasing a section title?
Charleroi returns six seniors who have started games for at least the last two seasons and combined to average 40 points a game between them a year ago.
“This group of seniors has been playing together since the fourth grade,” Grodz said. “We want to compete for a section title and make the playoffs for the 10th straight year.”
Point guard Mia Woytovich, who enters her fourth year as a starter, averaged 14.4 points a game last year while adding 6.7 assists and 5.7 steals per contest.
The other five seniors with starting experience are guards Anjie Tilghman and Rachel Ritzer, forwards Jordan Swarmer and Lynsey Wright and guard/forward Carina Gottheld.
“Mia is a standout player, but I see everyone contributing this season,” Grodz said. “I expect that we will have a balanced attack and any of the top six have the capability of having a breakout night.”
Two key reserves for Grodz are junior Jennifer Tilghman and freshman Adrianna Gottheld.
The Lady Cougars finished 15-7 in Grodz's first year, taking second place in the section at 10-2. However, the lady Cougars dropped a heartbreaker to Carlynton in the AA preliminary round.
The playoff berth was fueled by Charleroi's closing run of 9-1 in its last 10 regular season games. Seven of the wins came in section play.
Grodz lists McGuffey, Washington and South Side Beaver as the top teams in Section 5 AA, which also includes Bentworth, Beth-Center and Burgettstown.
After an opening stretch that includes hosting the Charleroi Tipoff Tournament, the Lady Cougars open section play when they host Beth-Center on Dec. 12.
Charleroi hosts Monessen next Friday in the tournament.
Bill Hughes is a freelance writer.