GCC girls look to replace talented senior class
Greensburg Central Catholic's girls basketball team got a chance to see how it stacks up against top competition in the Oakland Catholic tournament over the weekend.
The results are in, and though third-year coach Joe Eisaman thinks there is plenty of room for improvement, early returns were promising — even if both games ended in losses.
The Centurions dropped contests to Class A No. 1 Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic on Friday and traditional Class AAAA power Oakland Catholic in the Saturday consolation. It's a designed plan by Eisaman to schedule good competition early.
“It shows us who we are,” he said. “I intentionally picked a pretty tough (nonsection) schedule — Bethel Park, Mt. Pleasant. If you have any weaknesses, it will expose them to a degree to improve on that area moving forward.”
Improve they must to keep up in a tough Section 2-AA that includes Shady Side Academy and Burrell.
Last year, GCC finished 18-2 overall, 13-1 in the section and lost in the second round of the PIAA tournament 54-52 to WPIAL champion Seton-La Salle. Now it has to compensate for an average of 42 points lost to graduation of six seniors, four of which were starters and two who were more than 6 feet tall.
Though that leaves only one starter returning, Brittany Stawovy is a good one to have back.
The junior guard can do a lot of things. Though she already is getting looks from Division I schools such as Eastern Kentucky, Eisaman would like to see her give more looks toward the basket with a younger, more inexperienced squad that might have more off nights as a whole.
“Her game doesn't have any weaknesses. Good passing, vision, ball-handler and shooter,” he said. “She makes everybody around her better. … I'm looking for a higher volume of shooting this year.”
“I've been working on that actually,” Stawovy said. “Just trying to improve my individual game if there is a case we are having an off night. But we need everyone to perform and be involved, it can't just be one or two people.”
Junior guard Haley Moore also fills a starting role and will see the top defensive assignment each night. With a high motor on both ends of the court, it's a role she is built for.
“I've never seen the girl get tired,” Eisaman said. “I'm sure she does, but she never shows it. Runs the floor as good as anybody I've ever seen, and has a nice mid-range game.”
It's the type of up-tempo shooting game Moore thinks the entire team can take advantage of.
“We look to run and we're going to get in shape this season and probably be in the best shape we've ever been in,” Moore said. “I think that's going to be an asset. We're a good shooting team.”
Senior forward/center Kristin Hickey, who missed her entire sophomore season with an ACL injury, will join the starting five.
“She played all last year JV willingly, not all juniors like to do that,” Eisaman said. “She's gotten much better.”
Other former junior varsity players looking to step in and fill key varsity roles are junior forward Bailey Bungard, junior guard Maddy Coddington, junior guard/forward Caroline Perez and sophomore guard Olivia Stawovy.
“I'm expecting big things out of them this year, getting used to the speed of the game,” Eisaman said. “It's a lot different at 7:30 than at 6 o'clock. I tell them that.”
Senior guard Alaina DeFazio also transferred in after playing two years at Penn-Trafford.
“We still have high expectations this year,” Moore said. “We are going to be really disciplined and do whatever it takes to get there.”
Devon Moore is a freelance writer.