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Pine-Richland boy's basketball ready to compete in tough section

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal
Pine-Richland's Dean Steliotes will be back to play guard for the Rams this season.

Last season, the Pine-Richland boys basketball team was loaded with experienced and talented players. This season has a different feel to open as only Dean Steliotes returns to start.

“Dean started last year, and averaged 11 points per game,” said Pine-Richland coach Brian Gaetano. “We are young, and inexperienced (aside from Dean), but these kids have strong skill sets. They are good dribblers, shooters, and ball-handlers. If we can make our shots, we can make up for some of the areas we are weaker.”

Gateano said this team (his assistant coaches especially) put in an offseason that is as good as any he has ever been a part of.

“My assistants Kevin Mayberry and Brian Urso did a great job with strength and conditioning and they are a big reason why our guys are going into the season with confidence,” Gaetano said. “We are lucky to have them.”

The staff also worked with Steliotes to make him realize that he does not have to carry this team alone.

“Inexperience does not mean we are not capable,” Gaetano said. “The team is maturing and learning to play together. Dean realizes there is help there, and this team played a lot of games together to learn how to play with each other.”

The team is guard heavy, and it begins with junior point guard Paul Nussbaum and wing player Den DiNucci.

The Rams will have size in 6-foot-7 senior Connor Polce, a player who player in the intramural ranks until last season when the team lured him over to the varsity team.

“Connor did an amazing job for someone who did not play organized basketball until last year,” Gaetano said. “He saw a lot of time on junior varsity last year and has a good AAU season.”

More talented guards in freshman 6-foot Andrew Petcash, 5-foot-9 Blake Schultz, 6-foot junior Ryan Weideman will help the rotation.

The Rams also have 6-foot-4 forward Dylan Ngiman, who will back up Polce in the post.

Senior Jamie Switalski, Sam Gessner, and Andrew Olson complete the rotation for the Rams.

“We have a lot of kids with a very similar style,” Gaetano said.

“We also have some sophomores, I just need to see where they fit in.”

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or

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