Plum's Stotler eyes big team goals in final season
TribLIVE Sports Videos
As a sophomore two years ago, Nick Stotler contributed to the Plum varsity boys basketball team's 16-8 overall record and trip to the WPIAL Quad-A playoffs out of a tough Section 2.
The Mustangs finished tied with Gateway for second in the section and beat Kiski Area in the playoffs' first round before falling to Shaler in the quarterfinals.
Last year, the Mustangs fell short of their playoff goals.
Stotler, a 6-foot-2 guard/forward, entered his senior season with a renewed plan to help Plum return to the WPIAL postseason. And as the Mustangs near the midpoint of the 2013-14 campaign, he is a big part of a successful effort so far.
“We want to get to the playoffs and go from there,” Stotler said.
“The section is tough, but the team is set up to do well.”
Plum improved to 3-1 in section play and 9-1 overall with a 71-64 victory at Pittsburgh Central Catholic on Friday.
The Mustangs bounced back in section from a tough home loss to Gateway on Dec. 20, and they handed the Vikings their first section loss in four games.
In Friday's game, Stotler showed his skill with 16 points. Ten points came on five field goals, and he also was 6 of 8 from the free throw line.
He averaged 12.9 points through 10 games.
“The last couple games, Nick has probably rebounded as well for us as he has done throughout his whole high school career,” Plum head coach Ron Richards said.
“He's played physical around the basket. He's not settling for jump shots. He's going aggressively to the basket and getting to the free-throw line. When he plays physical, he's a tough match for anyone. He's playing the way we need him to play. He's one of the best athletes in our section.”
Plum is a young squad this season, and Stotler, along with 6-6 forward Austin Dedert, are the only two seniors on the team.
Richards said that veterans like Stotler benefitted from the experience of the older players when they were freshmen and sophomores, and now it is their turn to give back.
“I think that's the natural progression,” Richards said.
“Nick and Austin are two of our most experienced players. They've played in so many big games and are a calming influence on the younger players. The team hasn't been flustered in any situations.”
Stotler said he simply wants to stay within his ability and try not to do too much.
“That's the goal of everyone on this team. I just want to play my role and help the team,” he said.
Teamwork through creating shots for each other, Stotler said, has been one of the keys as to why they have had scoring success so far this year.
Plum averaged 60.6 points on offense through 10 games and gave up a section-best 42.4. That total also ranks as the best in WPIAL Quad-A.
Stotler admits that while he has enjoyed success on the court so far this season, he said there are things in his game such as on-ball defense, dribbling, ball-handling and other small things that can be improved.
Plum placed four players in double figures Friday against Central Catholic.
Dedert and sophomore James Edwards each had 17 points to lead the Mustangs, while junior Mike McGuire canned a trio of 3-pointers and ended with 11 points.
“It was a good win for us,” Richards said.
“We hadn't had a home game in a few weeks, and we had been playing pretty well away from home. For about 29 minutes, we were doing some really good things. In the last three minutes we did some things to let them back in the game, but the kids played solid basketball, and it was nice to see.”
Richards hoped the good play continued Wednesday evening at Penn Hills.
The section contest was to be played past the deadline for this week's edition.
Plum and Fox Chapel meet Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Plum High School, and Fox Chapel also entered the week 3-1 in section and 10-1 overall.
The Foxes' only loss over their first 11 games came at the hands of Franklin Regional, 66-63, on Dec. 17.
Fox Chapel was slated to take on Gateway on Wednesday.
“I knew we had a team that would get better as the season wore on,” Richards said.
“We've had good practices, and that has translated into more consistent efforts. We knew we had more depth this year than we've had in recent years. But we still have a ways to go before we get to where we want to be.”
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.
- Fox Chapel boys basketball team will rely on rotation for scoring
- New Foxes girls coach O’Shea inherits talented team
- Frazier grad Poling set to coach school’s girls basketball team
- 6-foot-8 transfer bolsters Cheswick Christian boys lineup
- Deer Lakes boys move into tough Class AAA section
- Southmoreland girls hope to compete despite shorthanded roster
- Athletic McKeesport boys basketball team features new coach, up-tempo style