Share This Page

Greensburg Salem senior showing scoring prowess

| Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Salem senior Simeon Stevens participates in a practice session at the school's gymnasium on Nov. 19, 2013 in Greensburg.
Bill Pribisco | for the Ligonier Echo
Ligonier Valley’s Collin Smith (14) breaks past Greensburg Salem’s Simeon Stevens in a Jan. 8 basketball game at Ligonier Valley High School. Taken 1/9/2014 at Ligonier High School

The Greensburg Salem boys basketball team finished with a mere four wins last season.

Yet, after their Jan. 8 victory over Ligonier Valley, the Golden Lions had already eclipsed their win total from last year with half of a season yet to play.

While many factors have played a role in the team's turnaround, the play of senior small forward Simeon Stevens might be the most significant.

“This year we know what it takes, and coach stresses more that we all play as a unit and not as individuals like last year,” Stevens said.

Leading the Golden Lions in scoring at 15.2 points per game, Stevens has propelled Greensburg Salem to a 5-7 overall record and a 2-2 mark in WPIAL Section 3-AAA, which has the group in the mix for a postseason berth.

Golden Lions coach Craig Mankins cited Stevens' versatility as the reason for his scoring prowess this season.

“With his skill set, he has such a lightning-fast first step that other teams have to pick their poison with him,” Mankins said. “If they decide to get out and pressure him he's going to blow by them; if they decide to hang back, he's a good shooter.”

But the 5-foot-9 swingman is willing to do more than just score, often taking what the defense is giving him and dishing to his teammates as evidenced by Golden Lions post players Max Ponzurick (13.3 ppg) and Pat Boyer (10.7 ppg) averaging double-figure scoring.

“Whenever I get the ball, I look to drive and if I have an open lane I take the shot, but if not then I look to dish to other players,” he said.

While his offensive contribution has been a driving force in Greensburg Salem's success this season, his effort on defense also has made a difference.

“He really has done a great job on the defensive end, too,” Mankins said. “A lot of times he's my weak-side help defender. He either forces turnovers or gets steals himself, which really helps getting some easy buckets, and that really takes the pressure off the rest of the team.”

An impressive three-sport athlete, Stevens also starred at wide receiver for the Golden Lions this season and held one of the top long jump marks (21 feet, 9 12 inches) in the WPIAL last year.

Despite his feats in other sports, Stevens is hoping to play college basketball, but his first goal is to lead his team into the WPIAL playoffs and beyond.

“As a team, of course I want to go to the playoffs, not be eliminated early and go as deep as we can,” he said. “Individually, I just want to be a leader on my team to take them there, and I want to play college basketball.”

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

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.