Vincentian boy's basketball ready to defend title
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Being the defending WPIAL champions always presents extra challenges for the season ahead, but the Class A champion Royals have a coach and team who are up to the task.
The Royals mesh a run-and-gun offense (which averaged a WPIAL best 83 points) and a pressure defense that unhinged the opposition en route to its second title under coach George Yokitis. The Royals' best all-around player (Tony DiNardo) and tallest player (Matt Rathz) have graduated, but Yokitis said although you can't replace players of that ilk, his cupboard is far from bare.
The core of talent is stellar with scoring phenom Ryan Wolf. Yokitis said Wolf, a second-team all-state player, has improved as a passer and dribbler and will be more of a slasher in the paint this season.
Wolf will be joined by fellow guard senior Kevin Fischer, a steady ball handler who has a strong game and is a smart player, according to his coach.
Jamison Nee is another good player who earned a starting job this season. Yokitis said his work ethic has gone a long way toward him earning the job.
“He is up and shooting the ball at 5:30 a.m.,” Yokitis said. “He is a nice runner, he is strong and he had a nice year as a sophomore.”
Also back will be the heroes of the title game as Jim Kenna and Jay Cortese will round out the starting five.
“Jimmy is the perfect player,” Yokitis said. “He is just a sponge with knowledge. He has such good anticipation, and he is one of the best shooters when he has a clear shot. He just has a beautiful shot.
“Jay is one of our more athletic kids. He is a good rebounder and had a strong fall season, and you will see him around the basket more this season. He can break a game open.”
As usual, the Royals' bench is nearly as dangerous as the starters. Players like Greg Kaniecki, Jack Monahan, Greg MacQueen, Ian Taylor and Evin Fitzgerald will have roles to play and are up to the job.
“Greg is a strong worker, and he can run,” Yokitis said. “Jack is a good defender and has good movement, while Greg is one of our best defenders. Ian will be good once we get him in the mix (he came late because of baseball workouts), and Evan is our tallest player at 6-foot-3 and is a good shooter and rebounder.”
Other players chipping in will be Connor Kreutzer, Vinny Miller, Nate Elias and David Jen.
“We will have to replace the leadership we lost, and we know everyone will be gunning for us,” he said. “I have some unbelievable kids here, and they way they play together, I can't ask for anything more.”
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.