Jeannette girls basketball team has new look
The Jeannette girls basketball team has a new coach and a new attitude this year.
Jonathan Bass, who spent the past two seasons as an assistant under Jeanine Vertacnik, is hoping to help turn things around in 2017-18. Vertacnik was hired as Monessen’s coach.
“I’m a breath of fresh air for the girls,” said Bass, who graduated from Ringgold and Penn State Fayette. “The attitude has been good at practice. I want them to have fun and be respectful.
“I’ve instilled a new culture. They believe in me, and they believe in the program.”
Senior point guard Diamond Crawford, who averaged 20.4 points, and junior Jada Bass, the coach’s daughter, are the top starters back.
Coach Bass said he’s excited about the return of junior guard Asia Mack, who played as a freshman but not as a sophomore.
He feels Crawford, one of four players he hopes will play in college, has all the tools.
“We’re very experienced,” Bass said after the Jayhawks went 7-15 and 4-10 in Section 3-2A. “This could be our year as long as we play together.”
The section will be strong. Serra Catholic and Brentwood made the Class 2A semifinals, Winchester Thurston was the Class A champion and Riverview was a playoff team.
But Bass feels the team will be able to compete. Springdale and Ellis School also are in the section.
While Bass is counting on Crawford, Jada Bass and Mack to carry the load, he expects to rotate a lot of players. Junior guard Hannah Streussnig and senior guard Hailey Rundle will share time, along with Alora Dunmire and juniors Alyssa Gabris and Arionna Clark.
“Arionna is one of the best shooters I’ve seen,” Bass said. “She’s a shy person. She just has to believe.”
Bass said he wants to utilize his team’s speed and play an up-tempo style. That style worked against larger schools in the McKeesport Fall League, where the Jayhawks were 7-3.
“I’m a man-to-man guy,” Bass said. “We play that at practice, and we want to pressure teams. We’ll pressure half-court. We have a lot of athletes who are fast.
“I liked how we played in the McKeesport Fall League against big schools. We played very well.”
Jeannette opens the season with a test Dec. 6 in the Oakland Catholic tournament, facing Seton La Salle. Obama Academy also is in the tournament.
The Jayhawks open section play Dec. 13 at home against Springdale, which was 1-19 and 0-14 last season.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at [email protected] or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.