Kaitlyn Slagus chooses to set her goals high.
She expects to be Belle Vernon Area’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder when she graduates in the spring.
And she says she expects the Lady Leps to win their first WPIAL title.
One goal the 6-2 senior doesn’t have to worry about is being the first girls’ basketball player in the school’s history to get a Division I scholarship.
That’s because Slagus signed with Bucknell University Wednesday afternoon after verbally committing to Bucknell in August.
“I visited a lot of schools and I just thought Bucknell was better for me academically and athletically,” Slagus said. “And I really like the coach there.”
Slagus said she didn’t realize she was the first BVA girls’ player to go D-1 until it was pointed out to her.
“I was surprised to hear that,” she said. “It’s an honor.”
BVA coach Lisa Fairman said not only did Slagus make a good choice, but she has the ability to play on the D-1 level.
“Most definitely she can play at that level,” Fairman said. “She has progressed so much from her freshman year and I have no doubt she will get even better as her career continues.
“She has great court sense, a presence in the paint and she has a remarkable touch from the outside for a girl who is 6-2. Some coaches go their whole career and don’t get to coach a player like Kaitlyn Slagus.”
A starter since she was a freshman, Slagus averaged 23 points and 19 rebounds for BVA last year while helping to lead the Lady Leps to a 16-7 record and a WPIAL Class AAA playoff berth.
Going into her senior year, Slagus has scored 859 points and pulled down 720 rebounds. The school records in both categories are held by Megan Backstrom (1995-98), who scored 1,592 points and grabbed 1,073 rebounds.
“I think those are both in reach for me, definitely,” she said matter-of-factly.
In the end, what matters most to her is winning a WPIAL title for her school.
It’s a lofty goal for a team that made the playoffs in each of her first three years, but never advanced past the quarterfinal round.
“We’re going for it,” she said. “I think we can do it. I think we can win it all.”
She is the daughter of John and Marie Slagus of Belle Vernon.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or [email protected].