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Southmoreland girls hope new coach, new section will be recipe for success

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Hannah Porter will be counted on to play a key role in the development of the Southmoreland girls basketball team this season. Evan R. Sanders/Daily Courier

Southmoreland girls basketball coach Brian Pritts will be assisted by Barry Collins, Emily Morrison, Harry Bowser and Don Lucas.

The Scotties open the season by taking on Yough in the Southmoreland Tip-off Tournament on Friday.

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In more ways than one, the Southmoreland girls basketball team will have a fresh start to the 2012-13 season.

The Scotties are under the direction of returning coach Brian Pritts, who is beginning his second tenure with the program after coaching the Scotties from 1998 to 2008. He is replacing former coach Kim Jacobs. Southmoreland is also moving up in class and will compete in Section 3-AAA after compiling a 2-20 record, including a 2-12 mark in Section 3-AA.

“It's almost like starting over again because none of the girls really ever played for me,” Pritts said. “It will take time for them to get used to me, but we had a good summer and my sole focus is on building the program.”

According to Pritts, the pieces are there for the program to move forward.

“We have a good group of kids, and they are working to get better,” Pritts said. “We are trying to build a skill set as well as confidence and we are preaching effort and attitude.”

The Scotties are extremely young. In fact, there isn't a single senior on the roster. Juniors Mariah Bentz (forward) and Hannah Porter (guard) are expected to be top contributors, as is sophomore guard Brooke Cottom.

“Mariah has good size, and she has started for two years,” Pritts said. “She understands the game and has good leadership qualities. Hannah hasn't played in a couple of seasons, but she came this summer and she is somebody we will look to for help. Cottom will feel a little pressure because she is young, but we will count on her.”

Juniors Paige Weaver and Bethany Siebert will also be counted on to play plenty of minutes at guard. Junior Anna Gatti and freshman Julea Claycomb will be expected to get playing time at forward.

According to Cottom, the team seems to have prepared well for the season.

“I definitely feel like we are in shape, and we have a positive attitude,” Cottom said. “We are going to work together as a team, and we want to win a lot more games.”

Bentz noted that hard work will set the tone for not only this season but future seasons for a program trying to get back on its feet.

“We have a lot of girls returning, and we'll keep improving and keep getting better,” Bentz said. “Every year you go for big titles, but as long as you leave every game knowing you played your best, that's all that matters.”

For Pritts, turning the Southmoreland girls basketball program back into a contender is a mission he accepts.

“I went to school here and I played sports here and I've coached here,” Pritts said. “I want Southmoreland to be successful. We want to be a competitive program, year in and year out.”

Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com or 724-626-3534.

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