Hempfield girls look for playoff return under new head coach
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Hempfield girls basketball team is under new leadership this season.
Scott Breagle led the team to a 20-4 overall record in 2011-12, including a 10-2 mark in Section 1-AAAA, but was not retained in the offseason.
The district hired Aaron Epps, who coached Kiski Area to a 16-7 overall record last year and will look to help the Spartans advance deeper in the playoffs.
“We are trying to get over the hump in the playoffs,” Epps said. “As a team, we want to win the section and make it further in the playoffs.
“I know they bowed out early in the playoffs last year but we want to try to make it further.”
Last season, the Spartans' season ended when they fell to Upper St. Clair, 44-42, in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
The Spartans will be without the services of graduates Taylor Lubinsky, Christina Santone and Emily Nelson, who helped form one of the toughest WPIAL's defenses — the Spartans allowed the second-fewest points (38.3) in Class AAAA.
Junior Monica Burns will be the focal point of the Spartans in 2012. The guard, along with her older sister, Mary, will be looked to more of a leadership role this year. Epps gives high praise to the younger Burns, saying she is one of the best guards in the WPIAL.
Monica Burns, who averaged around 13 points, has already seen changes the new coach has tried to implement.
“Over the summer, we worked on conditioning and things we needed to work on over the summer,” Burns said. “We have had a lot of team bonding, and he brings us together as more as a team.”
Epps wants to try to play more of an up-tempo style on offense and put full-court pressure on the opposing team defensively.
“I think they have to be more disciplined offensively when it comes to playoff time,” Epps said. “In the playoffs, the game slows down. We want to work on some our weaknesses and make them our strengths.”
The Spartans will look for more of a contribution from seniors Casey Hamilton and Lea Scozio and sophomore Leah Knizer. Epps likes the makeup of his team and thinks he has the right mix of seniors to complement the younger players.
“We are a very young team. I think we have a really nice mix,” Epps said. “We have experience coming back with Mary, Monica and Lea who played a lot of significant minutes, but we also have a lot up-and-coming players.”
Junior track standout Jasmine Jones, won the WPIAL Class AAA 200-meter title in the spring, will come off the bench.
“I think we need to play with intensity every single game, and we need to keep it up every time we go out there,” Monica Burns said. “I feel we have a pretty good shot at making it further this year than previous years.”
Andrew John 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.
- Winter weather advisory for Western Pa. in effect until Monday afternoon
- Defensive lineman commits to PSU during campus visit
- Crosby, Malkin dazzle fellow All-Stars
- Starkey: Rinaldo doesn’t belong in NHL
- Woman killed in Washington Township crash
- Increasing pressure on QBs will be offseason focus for Steelers
- Paying cost of attendance worries Power 5 schools large and small
- ‘I almost left here’ says Highland Park woman who contracted flesh-eating bacteria
- Classes increasingly blend in technology in Western Pa. schools
- Lure of tuition aid, gifts draw college students to ‘sugar daddy’ sites
- Long-term solution for wastewater disposal eludes shale gas industry