Kiski girls boast experience
When discussing the Kiski Area girls basketball team's potential, even coach Chris Kallock had to stomp on the brakes.
"Whoa, I'm not going to sit here and talk about playoff scenarios," Kallock said. "I mean, we haven't even started yet."
Still, it's not hard for even the fifth-year coach to get a bit excited about his prospects.
The Cavaliers return four starters from a group that advanced to the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals last season. And despite a lineup loaded with underclassmen, expectations are higher this season.
"We're pretty excited about how much game experience we have coming back, even though we'll start just one senior," Kallock said. "They're young, but hopefully, they'll be a year more experienced and confident."
Senior point guard Celena Meighan and sophomore forward Maddie Antone should play key roles this season.
Meighan, a slashing-type scorer, will need to make up for the loss of guard Chelsea Cosentino to graduation by improving on her 11 points-per-game average.
"This will be her third year starting, and at 5-(foot)-9, she's big for a point guard and difficult to knock off the ball," Kallock said. "It's nice have Celena on the outside, and she's a good passer. But we need her to score, and she thinks that way and can finish around the rim."
Kallock is looking for big things from the 5-10 Antone, who nearly averaged a double-double (11.0 points, 8.0 rebounds) as a freshman last season.
"She's very aggressive, very strong," Kallock said. "Maddie is undersized in terms of height, but she plays big. She runs the court well, and she's athletic enough to step out and hit a jumper."
Kallock also expects improvement from sophomores Taylor Muffie and Tara Stolarski.
Muffie, a 5-6 guard, is the team's quickest defender, while the 5-10 Stolarski can help Antone underneath.
Junior guards Morgan Waddell and Makenzie Zidek lead the Cavaliers' nine-player rotation.
"We're small but quick," Kallock said. "A lot of the time, we'll need to have an aggressive attack and cause turnovers with a full-court defense."
Kallock knows Kiski won't be sneaking up on anyone again — not after a surprising 16-7 record and a first-round playoff victory over North Allegheny before losing in a blowout to Baldwin, whom the Cavaliers start the season against Dec. 10.
Kiski Area should find out where it stands right away.
"If we can play with them and be a little more competitive, maybe that shows us something, and if we get burned, that shows you what you've got to work on," Kallock said. "I do think we'll be right up there competing for a section title along with the four playoff teams from last year, but the last thing I want to do is get ahead of ourselves."