Kittanning boys basketball shoots for 4th straight playoff trip in program’s final season
Kittanning is aiming to add one more year to its recent good run in boys basketball.
With three starters, including top scorer Noah Kunst, back from a season ago, Kittanning wants to make the final season for its program end with a fourth straight trip to the playoffs.
The Wildcats move into a new section, Section 3-AAA, led by senior guard Kunst, who was an all-section pick last year after averaging 16 points per game. Junior guard James Webb and senior guard Noah Spang also bring experience, but the Wildcats lack a second player who scored more than four points per game last season.
“We’ve got guys back who started and guys who played off the bench and have been in a couple playoff games,” Kittanning coach Bill Henry said. “But if you look at Triple-A, the best teams in the playoffs are scoring in the 60s or more, so we need a better distribution of points.”
Henry’s other experienced players include senior guard Logan Slagle, who was the team’s sixth man, and junior forward Tanner Witenski, who saw his minutes increase during the course of last season.
“We’re coming along real well, and I think we’re doing a lot better than in the summer,” Kunst said. “I know I can’t do all the scoring, so I’m going to have to look to get the ball to other guys in a good position. I think we have guys that can make us achieve our goals.”
At 6-foot-3, Witenski is the Wildcats’ tallest player, but the Wildcats have good height at the guard positions to help rebound. Junior forward/guard Zach Young also adds solid height to the lineup, and senior forwards Nathan Falchetti and Brenton Pless add depth to Kittanning’s front court.
“We’re a little bit shorter than we’ve been in the past, but (Witenski) is one of the more athletic big men we’ve had,” Henry said. “We’re not incredibly deep, but we do have a little depth off our bench.”
Adding to that depth and rounding out the rotation are a pair of sophomores, athletic combo guard Zane Dudek and shooting guard Joey McCanna.
With that group of players, the Wildcats hope to make noise in their new section, in which trips south replace the old road trips down Route 28.
West Shamokin joins Kittanning moving to Section 3-AAA, which also includes Indiana, Derry, Greensburg Salem, Southmoreland, Yough and the team that knocked the Wildcats out of last year’s postseason, Mt. Pleasant.
Henry doesn’t know what to expect with so many new opponents, but the goal is for the Wildcats to again reach the playoffs and try to emulate its run to the quarterfinals two years ago.
“Our goal is definitely to make the playoffs and try to get the highest seed possible,” Kunst said. “If we make it there, we’re going to try to win some playoff games this year. I think if we play well and everything falls right, we could advance pretty far.”