Share This Page

Deer Lakes girls basketball hopes for continued success

| Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Deer Lakes' Danielle Kearns looks to pass during a practice. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

After extensive success the last three seasons, the Deer Lakes girls basketball team is back for more.

Compiling a 55-14 record and grabbing a pair of section crowns in each of those three years, the Lancers have three starters returning and hope to make another run at a WPIAL playoff berth.

Guards Becca Babincak and sisters Nichole and Danielle Kearns will form the nucleus of seventh-year coach Dana Petruska's lineup.

Still, there are enough losses from last year's 17-5 squad to cause concern for Petruska.

“When you lose players like Candace Scanga, Emily Casell, Alexa Vercelli and Hannah Rosselle, there's a lot of points lost,” Petruska said. “The three (returners), with all the experience they have, really helps.”

Despite the three key seniors, Deer Lakes will again be a young roster, with a combination of nine sophomores and freshmen on the 14-player roster.

“So far it's been a good start,” Petruska said of pre-season camp. “Probably the most athletic group I've ever had, and that helps during drills. But skill-wise, we're not where we have to be.”

Also missing for the first time in several years is assistant coach Brian Nee, who's following his son Jameson's progress as a freshman at Vincentian Academy. Nee had been vital in coaching the junior varsity players up to the point where they could move up and become contributors.

Petruska's youngest son, David, will be the new assistant.

Vying for the two open starting positions are senior forward Hope Schreiber, junior guard Christine Grzybek and sophomores Kristen Stanko and Katie Gozzard. Some of the contenders had limited varsity game experience last season, when the Lancers won the Section 1-AA title with a 13-1 record.

Petruska said she believes she'll be able to change some starters from game-to-game depending upon the opposition that night.

Like many section coaches, Petruska thinks Burrell is the team to beat on Section 1-AA after Freeport moved up to Class AAA Elderton High School closed.

Elderton's demise leaves Deer Lakes with two openings on the schedule that school officials are trying to fill.

The Lancers open the season Dec. 7 at Springdale's Dynamo Tip-off Tournament against Apollo-Ridge in a 3:30 p.m. game.

Deer Lakes' first section contest will be Dec. 17 at Ford City.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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.