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Plum girls set their sights high

Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch - Plum's Krista Pietropola runs the fast break during practice at Plum High School Friday November 30, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Bill Shirley  |  For The Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Plum's Krista Pietropola runs the fast break during practice at Plum High School Friday November 30, 2012.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch - Plum's Krista Pietropola runs the fast break during practice at Plum High School Friday November 30, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Bill Shirley  |  For The Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Plum's Krista Pietropola runs the fast break during practice at Plum High School Friday November 30, 2012.

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By Dave Yohe
Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, 11:56 p.m.
 

Plum's girls basketball team has enjoyed back-to-back winning seasons, but it has lacked punctuation in the form of playoff success.

Now the apparent favorites in Section 2-AAAA, the Mustangs have the potential to change that.

“One of our goals is definitely that section title. That has stayed the same,” Plum coach Bernie Pucka said. “But we don't want to be one-and-done in the playoffs. We've made it three years (in a row), and we don't just want to be that (type of team) anymore.”

Pucka just might have that type of team.

“We've been blessed with a great group of juniors, to go with our seniors,” he said.

Junior guard Krista Pietropola, a Valley News Dispatch first-team all-star as a sophomore, senior forward Angie Borriello and sophomore 6-foot-3 center Courtney Zezza hope to keep Plum pointed in the right direction.

Pietropola, the A-K's top returning scorer, averaged a team-best 17.4 points per game. Borriello is a solid complement in the backcourt, and Zezza is a key rebounder and shot-blocker.

With Pietropola and Borriello anchoring the perimeter, Plum will be blessed with an inside game to match.

“We're enormous,” Pucka said. “We've experimented with Aly Weifenbaugh on the wing, and moving Lindsey Herd in (to the post).”

Weifenbaugh is a 6-foot junior forward, and Herd is a 5-10 sophomore. Both will be counted on to produce from inside and out. Both have the size and agility to play on the block, as well as on the perimeter.

Borriello, at 5-5, is the only starter under 5-10.

“It's a challenge to see what piece of the puzzle fits in what way,” Pucka said. “I think we're just going to play it, keep the girls in who are playing hot. It's a nice problem to have.”

Plum has three consecutive first-round losses in the playoffs.

Knowing his girls can't afford to take anything for granted this season, Pucka wants to make sure his team develops an edge, to go along with its talent.

A sharpened schedule should help.

“Losing to Pine-Richland (last season in the first round) was hard to swallow. Going into this season, this is going to be the hardest non-section schedule we've had,” Pucka said.

Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.

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