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North Catholic looks to return to glory

| Thursday, Nov. 29, 2001

Molly Rottmann had a busy off-season.

The North Catholic girls basketball coach was elected into the Western Pennsylvania Basketball Hall of Fame in May, and gave birth to her first child, Hans, in September.

Now, the real fun starts.

North Catholic, after a couple of sub-par years for the winningest program in the history of WPIAL girls basketbll, is ready to return to the top.

"We're on the verge," Rottmann said.

North Catholic, which opens the 2001-02 season Friday against New Castle in the Villa Marie Tip-off Tournament in Erie, has its best team since the mid-90s.

That's when the Trojanettes won the last of their record 11 WPIAL titles and six state crowns.

North Catholic only lost guard Ashley Felix from last year's 15-12 playoff team. The Trojanettes have nine returning letterwinners and one of the most heralded ninth-graders in the WPIAL.

"I'm very happy," Rottmann said.

North Catholic has looked good in pre-season scrimmages with Quad A programs Altoona, North Allegheny and Seneca Valley. The Trojanettes will get more tests at the Upper St. Clair tournament Dec. 6-7, when they face likely games with Quad A powers Albert Gallatin and Upper St. Clair.

"We're not going to sneak up on anyone," Rottmann said. "We have a quality team. On paper, we look like we should be really good."

Returning letterwinners include senior Courtney Janczak, who will start at point guard, senior shooting guard Emily Petrack, 5-foot-10 junior guard Jess Miller, 6-0 sophomore forward Sarah Miller and 5-11 sophomore forward Sara Prybyl, 5-8 junior forward Missy Cicuto and junior guard Katie Lewandowski.

They also welcome 5-7 sophomore guard Jackie Slarksky and 5-10 freshman forward Rachel Frederick, one of the most gifted players to arrive on Troy Hill since the Trojanettes were collecting WPIAL titles like halloween candy.

"She's probably better than I was as a freshman," said Rottmann, who scored a school-record 1,874 points at North Catholic when she was known at Molly Larkin. "She's the total package."

Rottmann isn't worried about North Catholic reaching the playoffs for the 27th consecutive year. She wants to return the program to the glory days, when Hall of Fame coach Don Barth led the way.

"We're taking steps in the right direction," Rottmann said.

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