Archive

ShareThis Page
Kiski Area girls brace for rough season | TribLIVE.com
News

Kiski Area girls brace for rough season

by BILL BECKNER JR.
| Wednesday, November 26, 2014 6:54 p.m.
vndKiskigirls02112514
Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Kiski's Emily Cieslinski practices at Kiski Area High School on Monday November 24, 2014.
vndKiskigirls01112514
Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Kiski's Alexis Trkula practices at Kiski Area High School on Monday November 24, 2014.
vndKiskigirls04112514
Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Kiski coach Nick Ionadi (left) works with Katelynn Brown during practice at Kiski Area High School on Monday November 24, 2014.

Nick Ionadi has only eight players on his varsity roster, but don’t expect the third-year Kiski Area girls basketball coach to look for the “Break Glass in Case of Emergency” sticker.

Ionadi seemed unfazed by last season’s lopsided results and said there could be more to come. Still, the optimistic coach insists the program’s best days lie ahead. It’s getting through the rough patches that could make those times that much more enjoyable.

Only two starters return from a team that finished 0-20 and averaged just 19.2 points. Kiski Area hasn’t won since the next-to-last game of the 2012-13 season. Junior 5-foot-5 guard Alexis Trkula and 5-4 sophomore guard Emily Cieslinski saw significant time. Trkula will be the floor leader and go-to scorer, Ionadi said.

“Alexis is going to be the one I count on for everything, from points to defense to keeping the newer girls calm out there,” Ionadi said. “Emily is going to be counted on to provide some leadership; the girl has a motor that never quits. She just works and works and works, no matter what the score is.”

Freshman Katelynn Brown also is expected to play a key role.

After that, Ionadi has plenty of question marks. Freshman 5-8 forward Mallory Schick is still new to the game, and freshman Sarah Heavner is finding her way despite being slowed by an injury.

Ionadi is passionate about coaching, and he is honest about the current situation.

“Scoring is going to be incredibly difficult for us this year. This is going to be tough for the girls,” Ionadi said. “However … these girls are working hard, and we understand the big picture. We are preparing for the future and what is to come. Our future looks great.”

While it did top the 30-point mark four times, Kiski Area lost by an average of 44 points. It lost one game 67-6 another 63-9.

Ionadi said the team expects to be back in the Class AAAA playoff race in 2016. And while that may sound like a campaign promise, Ionadi is counting on a vote of confidence from the program and those around it.

Coaching changes and disarray the past few years have been challenging. But Ionadi believes his system is taking root.

“This year, I want to get my freshmen and sophomores established and comfortable,” he said. “The fact the program was a total mess … this year’s team is really the last group that is a by-product of that time period.”

Ionadi said he told the administration he needed to establish a sound feeder program and that it would take “five to seven” years to implement and show results. He said parental support has been exceptional and patient.

“That is how a program is built,” he said. “We are right on our intended pace. Forget wins and losses because it isn’t happening and it isn’t important for us right now. We have to build from the ground up; we must do it the right way, and that is what we have done.

“No more disconnect where the middle school is doing its own thing that has no relation to the varsity. Everything is the same: terminology, principles and basics.

“Everything hinges on the girls sticking with it, of course.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.