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Challenging schedule preparing GCC girls for postseason

| Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
Eric Schmadel | For the Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Leah Bisignani pulls up over Blackhawk forward Danielle Levato during their December 27, 2013 contest at Hempfield Area High School in Hempfield Township.
Eric Schmadel | For the Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Sophie Czarnecki battles past Blackhawk guard Bridgette Shaffer during their December 27, 2013 contest at Hempfield Area High School in Hempfield Township.
Eric Schmadel | For the Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Carolyn Appleby looks for two over Blackhawk foraward Danielle Levato on a fast break during their December 27, 2013 contest at Hempfield Area High School in Hempfield Township.

In order to make a deep run in the WPIAL playoffs, teams need to play a full four quarters.

This is what the Greensburg Central Catholic girls basketball team is trying to learn to do. Coach Joe Eisaman believes with the team's tough schedule this season, he will be able to see his team progress and hopefully put together a full game night in and night out.

“It's very helpful that we are playing the toughest schedule. There are some good teams on our schedule,” Eisaman said. “We can have a nice record without the tough games or we could have a few losses from playing the tough teams. It certainly helps me coach them as you try to get away from some sloppy play because you are going to pay against the good teams.”

As Eisaman stated, the Centurions' record (5-3) has a few more losses, but two of them came against Class AAA No. 1 Blackhawk (9-0) in tournament games.

“They are a resilient bunch. There was improvement against Blackhawk (in the first game),” Eisaman said. “It looked like they were intimidated at first. But we outplayed them for three quarters. I don't see them folding in tight games. I warned them, if you fall asleep on any team they could win.”

Greensburg Central Catholic's other loss was to Serra Catholic, 56-55, in a nonsection game Dec. 16. The loss could be attributed to not putting together a full game — they lost by one after being down by five points at halftime.

“There have been games where we have been up 20 and then we are down five. It's like they took their foot off the gas,” Eisaman said. “We need to make sure we are steady on the gas all the way.”

The Centurions have gotten used to first-year head coach Eisaman's coaching style.

“It just comes down to, are they willing to play our brand of basketball for four quarters or play with old bad habits,” Eisaman said. “I've told my girls, you can't be selfish defensively. We are a tough team, and we are getting better on the details.

“No offense is going to work if you don't work on the details. The honeymoon has passed.

“They are getting used to the coaching style and welcomed it as they are seeing that we could be very good.”

The Centurions are led by three juniors: Carolyn Appleby, Nikki Addisey and Leah Bisignani. Appleby, who is averaging 18.8 points, scored 18 points against Blackhawk on Dec. 7, and 23 points against Mt. Pleasant on Dec. 10.

Addisey scored 22 points in the loss to Serra Catholic and 19 points against Shady Side Academy on Dec. 12. Bisignani recorded a double-double against Blackhawk, 13 points and 16 rebounds, in the first meeting.

Even though the Centurions don't have any seniors on the roster, Eisaman sees at least three experienced players.

“They are an experienced bunch of juniors that have played a bunch of varsity minutes,” Eisaman said. “As the leaders of the team, they have embraced their roles. I look them as seniors. I'm lucky to have them for another year.

“Don't wait to your senior year, we want to win this year. Next year is next year.”

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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