Geibel boys looking to build on .500 season
During his first year as coach of the Geibel boys basketball team, Ed Kroupa guided the Gators to level ground — an 11-11 record that included a trip to the 2011-12 WPIAL Class A playoffs.
The year was a solid effort for a team learning a new system under a new coach. This year, the Gators have more familiarity with their coach as they prepare for the 2012-13 campaign.
“They've been working hard, and our emphasis is on hustle and pressure and playing good defense,” Kroupa said. “We got better toward the end of last season, and we want to build on that and be a more physical basketball team.”
The first goal Kroupa must achieve is finding suitable replacements for graduated starters Michael Noonan, Santo Piccolomini and Patrick Herbert.
Seniors Tyler Schweiss and Aaron Agostoni are returning starters; both are capable of playing guard and forward positions.
“They lead quietly by their play on the floor,” Kroupa said.
Seniors Martin Berish and Jake Ciaccia likely will get plenty of playing time. Kroupa said he likes Berish's aggressiveness and hopes Ciaccia can fill a void at point guard.
Junior Jachan Ray and sophomores Mykel Ray and Matt Mammarella also are expected to produce throughout the season.
“We have some young players that are bringing a different type of attitude to the team, and we are happy with that,” Kroupa said. “What I like is that they come ready to work, and they are trying to do the things to improve, and we are starting to see some of that improvement.”
According to Schweiss, the Gators have taken steps in the right direction, especially now that the players and the coach are much more familiar with each other.
“I think we have gotten better,” Schweiss said, noting the team improved its chemistry this summer while taking part in camps.
As for their goals this season, Schweiss and his teammates will aim high.
“We always want to win the section, and we want to go past the first round in the playoffs,” Schweiss said. “Mostly, we just have to play together.”
The Gators will compete in Section 3-A with Avella, Carmichaels, Clairton, Mapletown and Monessen.
“We're hoping to build around our two starters coming back, and we need others to step up,” Kroupa said. “If they do, we'll be excited.”
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.