Franklin Regional guards learning on the job
By Doug Gulasy
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The early portion of the 2013-14 season is turning into a learning experience for the Franklin Regional girls basketball team — a fact most evident on the perimeter.
Franklin Regional lost the bulk of its outside scoring from last season because of the graduation of Erin Difalco, Dana Eastman, Maggie Kimmich and Hanna Wagner. In the absence of those players, seniors Mary Komandt and Natalie Tedesco, juniors Hannah Bursic and Maddie Pulaski and freshman Kassidy Hubert are playing bigger roles.
“I think the biggest thing for us is the (development of the) perimeter play,” Franklin Regional coach Rick Klimchock said.
So far this season, Klimchock said he is seeing steady development from his guards. Pulaski is developing into an outside shooting threat, averaging 8.8 points per game. Bursic and Tedesco are Franklin Regional's top two defenders on the perimeter. Starting point guard Komandt is a steadying influence, while freshmen Hubert and Verona are averaging 5.3 and 3.9 ppg, respectively, off the bench.
Still, the Panthers (3-5, 0-2 Section 2-AAA) could stand to see more development — mainly to take some of the pressure off senior center Baylee Buleca. Buleca, a four-year-starter, is averaging 13 points and 10 rebounds per game despite facing double and triple teams from opposing teams.
“She's drawing a lot of attention,” Klimchock said. “We lost to Penn Hills, and they completely sold out (to stop Buleca). We had a one-point lead with about a minute to go and couldn't hold on. That was a game we were really looking to get and we were disappointed we didn't find a way to win it. In that game, they held (Buleca) to 11 points and we were really trying to get her the ball more.”
Some of the inconsistent guard play can be seen in the team's shooting numbers, as the Panthers — an effective 3-point shooting team a season ago — were making just 20 percent of their outside attempts entering this week.
“The biggest thing in that Penn Hills game is that we had a lot of clean looks in that game from the perimeter, especially in the first half, and we really didn't knock enough of them down,” Klimchock said. “I think that was the thing that we need to just develop that consistency. It isn't like kids can't shoot; it's getting the confidence and feeling like, ‘I want to take that shot (and) I can make it,' and don't rush it. ... I think if we (get more consistent shooting), in addition to Buleca and our other post players, I think we can have a successful second half.”
The play of younger forwards such as juniors Nicole Wesolowski (5 ppg) and Sarah Stephens (3.4 ppg) is also helping to take some of the pressure off Buleca, Klimchock said.
Klimchock said another reason for a bit of a slow start was finding a comfortable rotation of players.
“You're trying to find out what each girl's strengths are, and that's what I'm trying to do,” Klimchock said. “I kind of know it in my mind, but I want to see it again live against competition what players' strengths are and how to use it properly.”
Despite some of the early offensive problems, Klimchock said he was happy with the team's defensive effort throughout the season.
“We're giving 100 percent,” he said.
Klimchock said he was encouraged by the team's performance in a 58-19 win over Kiski on Saturday. The Panthers snapped a five-game losing streak, racing out to a 39-11 halftime lead in the victory.
“We felt like our energy's been good, but we just haven't been finding ways to win,” he said. “It was just good (Saturday) to get a turnaround.”
Franklin Regional will now look for a similar bounce-back in section play, which resumes Friday at Gateway. With 10 section games remaining, the Panthers have enough time to bounce back from an 0-2 start and make the playoffs, Klimchock said.
“I think we can compete with anybody in the section,” Klimchock said. “It's just a matter of us just getting over that hump offensively. We're 0-2, and you have to finish the first half (of section play) with a couple wins.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at email@example.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_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.
- West Mifflin ponders late breakdowns in PIAA playoff loss
- Serra Catholic’s PIAA path and foe familiar
- Ligonier Valley basketball is a team effort for Hepner family
- Elizabeth Forward girls advance to PIAA second round
- ‘Lucky’ Monessen survives in 2 OTs
- Breaking down the PIAA boys basketball playoffs
- Fox Chapel star Mathias fired up for states
- Derry’s Phillippi upset in PIAA quarterfinals
- Charleroi’s Woytovich makes 5-AA first team
- Burrell girls to begin PIAA championship quest
- Defensive stop sets tone in Erie McDowell win over Kiski Area