ShareThis Page

Sewickley Academy girls find positives after tough season

| Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, 6:24 p.m.

The Sewickley Academy girls basketball team had its share of struggles during the 2015-16 season.

Ending with a record of 5-17 overall and 2-8 in Section 1-A, the Panthers finished fifth among six teams in their section and missed the WPIAL playoffs for the first time in three years. It was the team's worst record since 2006-07 when it went 3-19 (3-9).

“It was a little bit disappointing. It was kind of a surprise,” senior point guard Maddy Casale said. “It didn't end how we all hoped it would.”

Marian Sy took over as coach in early January, after being an assistant coach with the program for four years. Despite the team's subpar finish, going under .500 for the fourth time in six years, Sy found some positives.

“It went great, actually,” Sy said. “We just had a little problem with injuries. Besides that, overall it was great.”

Sewickley Academy went 1-11 in its last 12 games, with a 25-14 win at Union separating five- and six-game losing streaks.

Casale felt that with the mid-season coaching change and injuries throughout the season, the Panthers were always in transition in some respect.

“We never got to really get momentum or hit our stride,” Casale said. “We feel like we were making some progress, winning one, and then the next game would be kinda like two steps back.”

The most devastating injury was to Casale, who tore her ACL against Avonworth on Jan. 8. While normally viewed as a season-ending injury, Casale rehabbed and was playing limited minutes two to three weeks after her injury, including hitting a buzzer-beater against Rochester on Jan. 28 to force overtime. Unfortunately, Casale suffered a partial meniscus tear on senior night the next evening against Winchester Thurston while trying to block a player on a fast break.

Sy said she had never seen anyone like Casale before and joked she wanted to be more like her point guard.

“Maddy is tough. If that were me, I couldn't do it,” Sy said. “I thought I was tough but watching her, it made me feel like ‘I wanna be like her when I grow up.' ”

Casale finished her career with 979 points, just 21 shy of the 1,000-point goal she set for herself.

“It was hard to be that close to something and then have it taken away,” Casale said. “But I'm at least glad I got to try.”

While she has played her last game at Sewickley Academy, Casale thinks the future of the team looks good. This season might not have gone how the Panthers wanted it, but they learned some things along the way.

“They have a lot to think about after this year,” Casale said. “Sometimes having a rough season, it helps you not want to have that happen again. So I think that they have a lot of potential for next year and the seasons to come.”

Zach Brendza is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me