Lady Raiders hope for continued success
Riverview girls basketball coach Paul Sylba is confident in his team’s strengths.
Those strengths are enough to make opposing teams envious.
“We will have good depth, we have good competition in practice, we have good shooters, and most of all, we have senior leadership,” said Sylba, who enters his second season as head coach.
Riverview will be out to surprise some people again this season after a strong, yet somewhat unexpected run in 2000-01.
The Lady Raiders finished 19-7 overall and 8-4 in Section 4-AA before being eliminated by Avonworth in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
Expectations are high again as the Lady Raiders return three starters, including a player who finished fourth in the Alle-Kiski Valley in scoring.
Five-foot-seven junior Emily Alcorn, a Valley News Dispatch second-team all-star, averaged 17.8 points and five rebounds per game.
“I didn’t know too much about Emily last year,” Sylba said. “What I found out is that she’s a tireless worker. She works on her whole game.
“And this year she’s so much stronger. She’s been in the weight room religiously. She’s going to be taking guards inside to post up or taking the offensive rebound and putting it back up.
“She has aspirations to be a Division I player.”
Alcorn teamed with now-graduated Lia Wyland (13.6 ppg) to create one of the top scoring tandems and most threatening backcourts in the WPIAL.
Alcorn returns to anchor the backcourt, while the Raiders’ frontcourt will revolve around 5-foot-9 seniors Katie Carlberg and Shea Truby.
Carlberg and Truby combined to average 19 points and 17 rebounds per game.
Sylba believes both players will present opponents with match-up problems because they can play in the paint or hit an occasional three-point shot.
Junior Jamie Peters and freshman Veronica Kust will fill out the lineup. Peters probably will start at the point and Kust will claim another guard spot in Riverview’s three-guard alignment.
“Kust has a lot of potential,” Sylba said.
A talented crop of juniors will be looking to contribute. Forward Tara Knepshield (5-7), center Jacque Kerns (6-0) and forward Janelle Slosar (5-8) will give the Raiders size, while Toni Kunf could provide depth at guard.
Sylba lists freshmen Hannah Moser (5-6, G) and Amber Clites (5-8, F/C) and sophomore Lauren Pare (5-4, G) as other top newcomers.
Sylba expects Serra Catholic, East Allegheny and Shady Side Academy to be the front-runners in Section 4-AA. He believes Riverview can fit into that mix somewhere.
The Raiders are hoping to make a run at the PIAA tournament, as well as the WPIAL playoffs, something that hasn’t been common for the program in recent years.
Contributing: Paul Kogut