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New coach to lead Greensburg Salem girls basketball

| Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

The Greensburg Salem girls basketball team will head a different direction this season under the watch of Lisa Mankins.

After opening the position in the early summer, the Greensburg Salem school board hired Mankins based on her collegiate playing experience, previous coaching experience and her willingness to develop the program from the bottom to the top.

“We are extremely excited to have Lisa coming and joining our team,” athletic director Lynn Jobe said. “She's an excellent educator, she was an All-American at St. Francis and she really has her pulse on the grassroots aspect of our program.

“We are expecting great things of her and the program the season, and we are extremely excited.”

Mankins replaces Janine Vertacnik, who was not retained after last season.

Mankins has several years of coaching experience under her belt, while living in California, Eastern Pennsylvania. and also helping her husband Craig with the Greensburg Salem boys team.

“I'm very excited to get the opportunity at Greensburg Salem and build a strong program,” Mankins said. “We're going to look to start with winning our section and work toward having success in the WPIAL playoffs.”

The Centurions finished 9-14 overall and 7-5 in Section 3-AAA. They lost in a preliminary-round game to Plum, 54-38, in 2013.

Mankins will bring excitement and enthusiasm for the program that features the lineup returning four senior starters.

Seniors Claire Oberdorf, Sydney Ross, Alyssa Short and Lydia Kepple will help alleviate the transition that comes with a new coach. Mankins is confident that the senior leadership will for success to come on the court sooner.

“We have a good bit of experience because we have some talented seniors coming back,” she said. “Obviously, we're going to have some younger girls come in and get some playing time in the coming years.”

Another aspect of what Mankins hopes to accomplish while at Greensburg Salem will be developing a feeder program for the younger players. She hopes to someday form a Little Dribblers program for young boys and girls in the junior high level to prepare them for the varsity atmosphere.

Jobe said Mankins' desire to develop the program was what encouraged her to make the hire in June.

“Having a good, talented feeder program is important to any high school,” Mankins said. “I've been on the boys' end, and we've done some things that have been helpful.”

Mankins will install an up-tempo style of play the features a full-court press defense and an offensive philosophy that encourages driving to the hoop to break down the defense.

“I think it'll take time, but they're excited for the challenge,” she said. “Obviously, with any change there are some challenges and hiccups, but it's only a transition period.”

Brian Graham is a freelance writer.

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