Deep roster helps Sewickley Academy boys play attacking defense
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Developing depth can be a hassle for a Class A basketball program.
Sewickley Academy, on the other hand, has a surplus of talent this season. The deep bench the Panthers possess in 2013-14 is allowing the team to turn its defense up a notch.
“In the past we ran a more conventional man-to-man defense,” Sewickley Academy coach Win Palmer said. “We tried to be patient. We haven't always had the depth we have this year.”
The Sewickley Academy coaching staff decided to make the change to a full-court press in the offseason. With a deep bench, the 2013-14 team is able to pressure teams and force quick shots and turnovers.
The numbers of players is enhanced by their athletic ability. Many of the players play multiple sports — including soccer, tennis, golf, and baseball — and bring their athletic talents to the court for the Panthers.
“We have a bunch of athletic guys,” senior Luke Vith said. “We haven't had guys like that in the past who can play this fast. A lot of the guys play others sports. It is a good set of players.”
The new style of play led to three wins last week. In Sewickley Academy's season opener, the defense led the way to a 60-45 win over Harvest Baptist.
“It is encouraging to see our guys play at this pace in the first game of the season,” Palmer said. “We were sharp on defense for this time of year, but you can tell they are not used to playing this pace on offense.”
The Panthers carried a 17-11 lead after one quarter as Vith and Keenan Hickton combined for 15 points. Sewickley Academy's lead grew to as many as 11 in the second frame.
“We hit a cold spell in the second quarter,” Vith said. “But the full-court press in the third quarter helped and we shot the ball better. It was our first game and they had a couple games under their belt. That made a difference.”
Sewickley Academy built its lead to 15 in the third quarter and the Huskies didn't come any closer.
Vith led the team with 21 points with 11 rebounds. Anthony Muscato added 13 and Hickton added 12. While Palmer approved of his team's offense, he noted the players looked like they were playing their first game of the season.
“When you play fast, your shot becomes different,” Palmer said. “You just catch, rip and go. You are quicker to get there. We're still getting our feet under us.”
The Panthers also captured a 76-42 win over Rochester. After trailing 12-11 after the first quarter, Sewickley Academy outscored Rochester, 50-19, in the second and third quarter for the win. Hickton led the team with 15 points, Muscato added 14 while Steve Munn and Ty Roberts each had 10.
The Panthers also escaped with a 63-61 overtime win over Serra Catholic. Vith tipped in a missed free throw with less than a second remaining in regulation to send the game into an extra frame. Munn then hit a 3-pointer with four seconds left for the win. Vith led Sewickley Academy with 20 points while Max Kaminsky added 14.
With its continued development, the team could be a contender in Class A. Palmer knows sheer numbers won't guarantee a win for the Panthers against top teams, such as Section 2-A rivals Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and Vincentian Academy.
“Some other top teams won't be as affected,” Palmer said. “We have to continue to develop. We were circulating guys in (against Harvest Baptist) and it was their first varsity minutes. I am impressed with how they did. We need them to be good.”
The Panthers will travel to the KSA Classic at Disney World this week. They return to WPIAL action Jan. 3 when they play at Quigley Catholic.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.
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.
- No summer vacation for Mars boys basketball team
- Belle Vernon coach’s family bonds through basketball