GCC star Zufall focusing on team concepts
Junior Tess Zufall may be the best player on an undefeated Greensburg Central Catholic girls basketball team that is No. 1 in Class AA in the Tribune-Review weekly rankings.
Still, the 5-foot-8 junior would be the last person to admit it.
"It's hard for me to just talk about myself because, without my team, I'm nothing and we all know that about everyone on the team," Zufall said. "It's not about one person at Central. It's about all of us, and that's what makes it really special."
Zufall is deflecting credit, but her play in her first three seasons has been outstanding. She is averaging 13 points per game and is closing in on 1,000 for her career. In addition, she has made a verbal commitment to Cleveland State, even though several colleges, including Buffalo, are actively pursuing her.
Zufall has set a goal to one day play in the WNBA, and the 17-year-old from Slickville believes she can make it.
"Whenever I first started playing basketball in the sixth grade, I've never dreamed too big of a dream because, if you put in the work and every day you try to get better and listen to the right people, you can certainly go as far as you want," Zufall said. "If I don't play in the WNBA, I plan to play overseas because I won't take no for an answer."
Zufall plays about 70 games a year, between Greensburg Central Catholic and her AAU team, which last season was the Pittsburgh Heat.
"She may be the most talented junior that I've ever coached and who knows how good she can be," Greensburg Central Catholic coach Don Favero said. "She could score 25 or 30 points a game if we asked her to, but she doesn't care about that. She just asks me what do you need me to do for us to win."
In her last game against Springdale, Zufall scored 11 points, despite sitting out a portion of the second quarter with two fouls, but her defense was key to the victory. She was the lynchpin in Greensburg Central Catholic's new defensive trap, and — as always — she was matched up agaisnt the Dynamos' best offensive player.
That will also be the case when Greensburg Central Catholic plays Jeannette in what could be a first place showdown Jan. 26. In that game, she will square off against the Jayhawks' Kayla Cook, a Coastal Carolina recruit who is also the school's all-time leading scorer.
It's an interesting matchup, but Zufall said it won't define her team's season.
"Our biggest goal is not to beat Jeannette this year because our goals are way bigger than Jeannette," Zufall said. "Personally, I think Jeannette will be our first test, but we play them twice and it will be great to see what happens win or lose."