Archive

Latrobe girls move on from notable graduation loss | TribLIVE.com
News

Latrobe girls move on from notable graduation loss

Bill Beckner Jr.

Latrobe knew the Laura Graytok era would come to an end at some point, much like the boys basketball program begrudgingly anticipated the departure of Austin Butler a couple of years ago.

Graytok, a standout in the Wildcats’ backcourt for four years and a 1,591-point scorer, is now at American University. The girls team is ready to move on with some new faces and a youthful roster, but don’t expect the Wildcats to change gears.

“We have a lot of depth off the bench and a lot of speed,” senior guard Carly Augustine said. “We want to play at 100 miles per hour.”

Three seniors, Augustine, Bethany Havrilla and Kayla White, will be tri-captains for a group loaded with promising freshmen and sophomores.

The roster has one junior: guard-forward Lexi Pynos.

Latrobe drops to Class 5A this season.

“We’re not going to change the way we play,” coach Mark Burkhardt said. “We lost 70 percent of our scoring and 50 percent of our rebounding (forward Mackenzie Markle also graduated). But we have a number of girls ready to step in. I think we’ll be much more balanced.”

Augustine and Havrilla make a quick and patient combo that will set up the offense. White played valuable minutes last year, mainly as the sixth girl.

With the team’s speed, pressure likely will set the tone on many nights.

“We have been working on our defense all summer long,” Burkhardt said. “We averaged about 63 points a game last season. I don’t know if we’ll do that again, but we’ll be working hard on defense, pressing more, trying not to allow that many either.”

Latrobe finished 17-7 and posted its first WPIAL playoff win since 2007 — 44-31 over Shaler — before falling to Bethel Park in the quarterfinals 70-50.

Burkhardt’s bench could stretch 10 deep with potential contributions from sophomore forward Brooke Kokoska, sophomore guard-forward Lexi McNeil, freshman forward Anna Rafferty and sophomore guards Rachel Ridilla, Ava Vitula and Lexi Weatherton.

Ridilla showed she could handle the varsity level last year as a freshman. At 6-foot-1, Rafferty could be a viable replacement in the post for Markle.

“Our seniors last year got us started,” Burkhardt said. “Now the girls here now can follow. We feel we will be competitive every year now.”

Latrobe’s scattered-about section consists of Albert Gallatin, Laurel Highlands, Oakland Catholic, Penn Hills, Penn-Trafford, Uniontown and Woodland Hills.

“Having played in 6A is a bonus for us,” Burkhardt said. “We’re looking forward to see what we can do.”

Bill Beckner is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at [email protected] or via Twitter @BillBeckner.


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.