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High school notebook: Kiski Area girls looking to turn things around

| Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, 10:20 p.m.
Kiski Area's Maddie Antone (33) goes up for a shot during a game against Plum earlier this season. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Springdale High School senior Justin Fetes completes his start off the block at the pool at Valley High School on Friday January 4, 2013. Springdale does not have a pool and has worked out a system to share the pool with Valley High School. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Kiski Area's girls basketball team started the season with high expectations. The Cavaliers were No. 9 in the Trib Total Media Class AAAA preseason rankings and appeared to have experience and leadership with nine seniors on the roster.

But the team has started slow, to the tune of 2-8, even with them stringing together back-to-back Section 1-AAAA wins last week — 42-36 over Connellsville and 56-27 over Albert Gallatin — to break a seven-game losing streak.

The team knows there still is plenty of time to reverse fortunes and prove that the preseason build-up wasn't unfounded.

They're 2-2 in the section, which is what matters most. But what has hampered this group most, and why did it take them seven games to get a win?

Averaging just 40.2 points per game, the Cavaliers have struggled to find continuity at guard.

“Unfamiliarity with the small things of the game: screening away, how to move without the ball; there are things they haven't been taught,” first-year coach Nick Ionadi said.

“We lack severely in both outside shooting. Too many unforced errors, passes out of bounds and balls bouncing off their feet. You are starting to see what happens when a program is allowed to sort of fall by the wayside. The talents of past teams was ridden, but nothing was prepared to replace it.”

Ionadi is the team's third different coach in three years.

Fourth-year starting guard-forward Maddie Antone hasn't disappointed, averaging 16 points per game.

The 5-foot-11 senior, though, has had to run the point at times and is adjusting to a new role while also doing most of the scoring.

She had half of the team's points (21) against Connellsville and put up 30 points and 22 rebounds against Albert Gallatin.

The team hoped to dodge the ill-effects of a pair of key injuries, but that hasn't come easy. Two year-starter Tara Stolarski, a 5-11 senior forward, and 5-5 senior guard Lindsay Weiser haven't played due to injuries. Stolarski could return, but Weiser appears to be done for the season.

That has forced Ionadi to put inexperienced players in unfamiliar roles.

“I've made some changes on the offensive side of the ball to alleviate pressure on the guards, limit decision-making, and get the ball out of their hands faster,” Ionadi said. “We are going to try to open the game up at bit as well.

“If our guards do not step up and value the basketball and make smart plays within themselves, we are going to spin our tires all year.”

Leechburg cancels JVs

Leechburg's girls basketball team has canceled the remainder of its junior varsity season due to low roster numbers. Injuries have dwindled the team to nine active players.

What can Brown do for you?

Apollo-Ridge senior baseball player Delbert Brown won a “National Athleadership Grant” sponsored by NCSA Athletic Recruiting and the NFLPA.

The grant, valued up to $1,000, is considered a stepping stone toward a college scholarship.

The award is based on student-athletes' “leadership in their community, academic achievement, athletics and a required essay.”

The NCSA will help Brown get into a college.

Alumni night

Fox Chapel's wrestling program will have its 30th annual alumni night 7 p.m. Feb. 15 when the Foxes face Baldwin.

Alumni will gather for refreshments after the match at Starlite Lounge in Blawnox.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jdbbeck.

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