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Baldwin boys gearing for success; girls loaded with talent

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Baldwin head coach Joe Urmann greeted four returning lettermen — seniors Arnes Bajgora, Steve Greiner and Shane Perko, along with junior Doug Altavilla — to this year's boys' varsity basketball team at the start of preseason drills a few weeks ago.

Bajgora, a 6-foot-6 forward who is recovering from an ACL tear, and Altavilla are returning starters for the Highlanders, who finished with an 8-14 overall record in 2012-13.

“(Bajgora) had surgery in May and has been limited in practice. We hope to have him back in some capacity in the next few weeks,” Urmann said.

Baldwin tips off its regular season Friday night against North Hills in the North Hills tournament, followed by a Saturday afternoon matchup against Fox Chapel.

The Highlanders split decisions in last year's tournament at North Hills, losing to Fox Chapel and defeating Wilkinsburg.

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Baldwin's girls' varsity team also opens its 2013-14 season Friday in the McKeesport tip-off tournament.

The Lady Highlanders, who ended up 11-12 overall last year, will face Obama Academy in the first round.

No less than eight girls have been vying for starting positions on this year's talent-laden squad at Baldwin.

That group includes the returning starters from last season — senior guards Mandi Johnston and Nikki Corcoran, junior guard Amanda Larkin, senior guard/forward Taylor Letender and senior forward Liz Spegar — along with sophomore forward Carly Lutz, freshman guard Lauren Gilbert and junior forward Natalie Gazzam.

The Lady Highlanders opened their 2012-13 campaign by winning the Indiana tip-off tournament championship.

Baldwin defeated Keystone Oaks and Indiana in the two-day event behind Johnston's 33-point performance.

Johnston, who was named most valuable player, Corcoran and Letender landed spots on the all-tournament squad.

Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-38-5820 or rfisher@tribweb.com.

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