| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Derry boys getting defensive early on this season

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Top high school sports
By Brian Graham
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

The Derry boys basketball team will have to replace its top three scorers from last year's squad and they plan to do so with improved defense.

Jeremy Hauser (13 points per game), Zack Wisneski (11 ppg) and Tyler Dickey (9 ppg) were all lost to graduation, but head coach Damon Rause thinks he's found the solution to replace the departed contributors.

“We're going to be a defensive, get in your face team instead of a run-and-gun and shoot-the-3 team that we were last year,” said Rause, who's in his third year at the helm. “Especially early in the season, our goal is to understand what we are doing defensively and from there, we offensively want to spread teams out and get to the hoops.”

The Trojans — who finished 11-11 overall and 3-9 in Section 3-AAA in 2011-12 — will not be starting from scratch this year. Rause returns a group of upperclassmen that saw significant time on the court and expects contributions from all of them.

“I traditionally play a lot of players,” he said. “Even though we lost three starters, I have six kids coming back, with four of them that played in every game.

“I have a lot of experience coming back. We're going to rely on that experience.”

Senior Alex Mylant — a 6-5, 300-pound forward — will provide a valuable presence in the paint, and senior Nick Clayton will offer an athletic post presence and with ability to play inside and out.

“We're going to rely on those guys to help us to play more of an inside-out game,” Rause said. “We're going to try to get to them early and try to get a post move and kick it out. Last year, we wanted to get to Hauser and Dickey for an outside-in approach.”

Senior point guard Andy Panizzi will split time handling the ball with senior Lucas Maloy. Panizzi — a three-year starter at the point — is expected to fill the role voided by Hauser and become the team's top scorer. Maloy plays an aggressive defensive and offensive style and Rause said his tenacity to get to the net will prove valuable. Junior Matt Vasinko — a 6-3, 180-pound guard — will play a slash role and keep teams on their heels with his long-range jump shot.

Rause is clear to point out that Derry will not consider this a rebuilding year. He hops the experience his group gained last year will be a stepping stone for what he hopes is the school's most successful season on the basketball front.

“We want to take the next step and get to that next level,” Rause said. “We think we can be better than 11-11 and compete in the section. We definitely want to keep the team moving forward and use last year as a step ladder.”

Derry opened the season by splitting a pair of games over the weekend at the Homer-Center Tournament. The Trojans (1-1) defeated Westmont Hilltop, 40-27, but fell to host Homer-Center, 68-60.

Brian Graham is a freelance writer.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Comeau’s hat trick leads Penguins; Crosby reaches 800 career points
  2. Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
  3. Washington Township woman savors family’s turkey farm tradition
  4. Media websites hacked by Syrian Electronic Army
  5. Starkey: Rutherford will add when timing’s right
  6. Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’
  7. Cosby made deal with National Enquirer to spike accuser’s story in 2005
  8. Pitt plays best game of the season in rout of Kansas State
  9. Blairsville judge accused in hit-run set to enter program for 1st-time offenders
  10. Food drive volunteer in Westmoreland County has purse stolen
  11. Defying the odds makes this Thanksgiving particularly poignant
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.