Despite losing their coach, Lancers seem to have all bases covered
TribLIVE Sports Videos
An October appointment to a high school basketball head coaching position usually is a prescription for trouble.
But new Deer Lakes boys basketball coach Jon McKay feels comfortable with his appointment late into the offseason.
Former coach Joe Lewandowski left for personal reasons. McKay was his main assistant.
“It's been a little hectic, but I have a great staff,” McKay said. “I have great assistants, a great administrative staff, and we have eight seniors on the team. It's been as seamless a transition as possible.”
McKay said it helped to be familiar with the players in the program as opposed to going to a new school where he didn't know anybody.
“I was with coach Lewandowski in the spring and the summer leagues, so that makes everything a little easier to take,” McKay said.
One key player back for the Lancers is senior guard Tim Jaczesko, who has been plagued with injuries for much of the past year.
“Tim is back, healthy, and he looks great,” McKay said. “He's a leader; he's a kid we're blessed to have.”
After missing part of last season with a leg injury, Jaczesko came back, reinjured the leg in AAU play in May and spent much of the summer in a cast.
“It still bothers me a little bit,” Jaczesko said. “I'd say I'm about 95 percent right now, but it's getting there.”
Other projected Lancers starters, all seniors, include J.J. Kowalkowski, the team's tallest player at 6-foot-1.
Zach Bryner, Tim Cresta and Cody Keenan look to round out the starting lineup.
Lack of height will be a problem with the Lancers, and McKay hopes to make up for it with quickness and better shooting.
Deer Lakes will be moving down to Class AA for at least the next two seasons, but McKay insists the team is taking nothing for granted due to the quality of teams in Section 1-AA such as Burrell and Summit Academy.The Lancers were 2-12 in Section 1-AAA last season and 4-18 overall.
Assisting McKay this season will be Conlan Walsh, most recently at Butler Junior High and a former player at Geneva College. Also on the staff is Austin Snodgrass, a student manager for four seasons at West Virginia University.
“He's filtered out the coach (Bob) Huggins language, but not the X's and O's,” McKay said with a laugh.
McKay's first game will be quite a challenge as the Lancers face Shaler in the Plum Tip-off Classic on Dec. 7. Shaler is led by Geno Thorpe, considered by many the top player in the WPIAL.
George Guido is a freelance writer.
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.
- Martin’s homer rescues Pirates in 4-2 victory over Brewers
- Steelers notebook: Ravens DL fined for hit on Roethlisberger
- Inside the glass: Johnston’s opening practice grueling
- PSU figures to flex its top-10 ground ranking Saturday
- Sears to close store at Century III Mall in West Mifflin
- Police, bloodhound team locate former athletic director, Greensburg official
- High school roundup: No. 9 North Allegheny takes down Upper St. Clair
- Moore hopes to see red (zone) in Steelers debut
- City’s plan for Strip flummoxes vendors
- Pitt meets Iowa’s muscle
- Pirates notebook: Morton scratched from Sunday’s start