Plum league helps basketball players stay sharp, make their mark
TribLIVE Sports Videos
In a sweltering auxiliary gym Monday night at Plum High School, players from the Gateway and Valley varsity boys basketball teams battled for 40 minutes.
There was everything one would expect in a summer league game — scrambles for loose balls, strong moves to the basket, sharp-shooting 3-pointers and a fair amount of turnovers and other miscues.
Coaches in summer league games, such as the one hosted by Plum the past couple of weeks, are looking for the right mix as their teams try to improve and bridge the gap between seasons.
“With the summer league, it's not about winning or losing,” Plum head coach Ron Richards said. “It's about player development.”
Gateway held on for an eight-point victory over Valley, and it was a two-point game with about a minute to go.
The close score allowed both teams to work on end-of-game scenarios. But Gators head coach Mitch Adams echoed the sentiment of his veteran Plum colleague that the final score wasn't all that important.
“Each game is a good learning experience for the kids,” Adams said.
“They are learning to handle pressure situations. We have a couple younger kids who are getting used to what we want to do. Not everyone is here for each game because of other commitments, but we work in the ones who are here. It's an opportunity to step up.”
Gateway, which suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to Kiski Area at Plum in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Quad-A playoffs in February, is working towards finding new players for the varsity lineup after several key components — including Delvon Randall, Shomari Thomas and Tommy Kromka — moved on because of graduation.
“There are a bunch of good teams (in the Plum league), and we need this kind of stuff to test ourselves and see what we need to work on,” Adams said.
Plum also made the playoffs in 2014, and the Mustangs were eliminated by Kiski Area in the first round at Penn Hills High School.
Richards had to say goodbye to two seniors in starters Austin Dedert and Nick Stotler, but, he said, he likes the way the returning players such as James Edwards, Mike McGuire, Will Fuhrer and Taylor Vivino are working to lay the foundation for the 2014-15 squad.
“We like the progress of our kids,” Richards said.
“The ones who have put in the time are getting better. We're playing a lot and are doing what we do at this time every year.”
Plum had hosted a summer league in the past, and this is the first summer for the league in Plum since Richards returned in 2010 for his second stint as head coach of the Mustangs.
The games will continue through next Wednesday, and there will be no playoffs.
“We have a nice mix of schools from Allegheny and Westmoreland counties,” Richards said.
“It's a really good group of teams we were able to assemble. The competition is great. All the teams have different situations. Some have a lot of players and starters back, and others are replacing a lot lost to graduation. They are all trying to get better and have kids who are trying to make their mark with their teams.”
The Mustangs host Franklin Regional and Penn Hills on Monday at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively, while the Gators play Fox Chapel on Monday at 6.
Plum and Gateway were slated to meet on June 9, but the Gators were unable to make it to Plum that evening, and the game was cancelled.
The Gators and Mustangs are set to face each other Wednesday at 6 p.m., and then Plum will battle Fox Chapel at 8.
There is a June 30 makeup date set if teams who weren't able to play their scheduled games want to meet.
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.
- Knoch girls seek dividends of experience
- WPIAL AAAA boys basketball preview: Runners-up last season, North Allegheny hopes to take next step
- With star Satira gone, Serra Catholic boys basketball to rely on team effort
- Serra girls expecting repeat success
- Latrobe boys look to defend Section 1-AAAA title with experienced lineup
- Kiski Area boys a team in transition after graduation of top scorer
- Expanded roster helps boost Kiski Area girls
- Steel Valley boys put focus back on basketball
- Burrell basketball standout Myers assumes leadership role
- Elizabeth Forward boys basketball preparing to fill big shoes
- Steel Valley girls plan to play ‘small ball’