After struggling in Class AA, Serra boys basketball welcomes move down in classification
After experiencing a couple of seasons competing against higher competition, the Serra Catholic boys basketball team will reunite with familiar foes.
The Eagles this season move from Section 3-AA, which included the likes of Shady Side Academy, South Allegheny and Greensburg Central Catholic, to Section 4-A, which includes Jeannette and longtime rival Clairton.
The change in classification comes after the Eagles finished at 9-13 overall, 5-7 in section.
“We are going to still have our hands full with Jeannette and Clairton, but we had teams in our section last year — Riverview and Springdale — that would be playoff teams in Class A,” coach Vince Gibbons said. “I’m happy to be away from the wars with GCC, Shady Side Academy, South Allegheny. Every night was a dogfight.”
Despite the step down in classification, Gibbons will continue to stress perfection.
“I take everybody serious,” he said. “We beat teams by 50 points and I act like we are going to lose if we don’t prepare the correct way. It’s going to take a very strong effort every night to get it done.”
The Eagles look to replace the production of guard Max Kaminsky and Tyler Grebur by featuring senior guard Joe Satira, who was named all-section a season ago. In the paint, junior forward Nate Andrews will look to improve upon his 12 points per game and 12 rebounds per game.
The remaining starters will include senior guards Anthony Rosso and Anthony Koval and sophomore forward Alex Grace. Senior forward Zac Quattrone will be the first player off the bench after seeing significant starting time a season ago.
“(With this lineup) it allows us to slow it down a little bit,” Gibbons said. “We have four bigger body types, so we are pretty good at rebounding the basketball. I think we want to play more our matchup-zone tendency stuff on the defensive side.”
Gibbons looks for his squad to continue developing and improving in the post and in transition defense.
“In our section this year, we are the only team that didn’t qualify for the playoffs last year. That adds a little fuel to our fire. We are used to excellence,” Gibbons said. “We won seven section titles in a row, and going to Double-A the expectations changed a little bit. The schedule was vastly better, but at the end of the day our record wasn’t good enough.”
Gibbons is excited to see what Section 4-A has to offer.
“We aren’t as good as we once were. (The section members) are incredibly improved from where they once were. It’s going to be a dogfight every night,” Gibbons said. “I think we could finish second in the section or finish fourth or fifth in the section based off a couple breaks and if we stay healthy and play together.”
Andrew John is a freelance writer.