ShareThis Page
Mt. Pleasant looks for balanced attack in playoffs |

Mt. Pleasant looks for balanced attack in playoffs

Jason Black
| Saturday, February 14, 2009 12:00 a.m

Strong defense and a balanced offense have been the hallmarks of success for the Mt. Pleasant girls basketball team this season. Today, the Lady Vikings hope to display both when they take on West Allegheny in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs at North Hills High School.

Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.

“West Allegheny is a strong basketball team,” Mt. Pleasant coach Scott Giacobbi said. “They are coming out of arguably the best section (4-AAA) in Class AAA.”

The Lady Indians (16-6) and Lady Vikings (17-5) didn’t play each other during the regular season, but the teams have shared some common opponents. Each team closed its regular season against Chartiers Valley and lost by 10 points.

“We looked at them in their last two games and we have some similar traits,” Giacobbi said. “We have some favorable match-ups in certain situations, and if West Allegheny takes advantage of some things, there could be weaknesses for us.”

Mt. Pleasant, which finished second in Section 3-AAA, must rely on a steady stream of production from a number of different players. And the Lady Vikings have received that type of consistent offensive output for most of the season.

“We have balanced scoring,” Giacobbi said. “We can average four players scoring in double figures.”

A large portion of the Lady Vikings’ offense comes from junior guard Shelby Way, sophomore forward Nicole Malara, junior forward Carly Zelenak and senior guard Julia Park. Way leads the team with a 14 points per-game average. Malara and Zelenak each average close to 12 points per game and Park usually is right around the 10-point mark per contest.

Much of Mt. Pleasant’s attack is generated off the mistakes and missed shots of its opponents.

“We’ve had a strong transition game all season and we hope to take advantage of that,” Giacobbi said.

Of course, a strong transition game starts with tenacious defense and senior guard/forward Renee Jones has been a defensive standout for the Lady Vikings.

“She is a real force for us on defense,” Giacobbi said. “Part of it is because of her versatility. We like to play a man-to-man defense and she gives us the edge in that department.”

Mt. Pleasant’s defense will be tested by West Allegheny, the third-place team in Section 4-AAA.

The Lady Indians feature several offensive threats, led by senior forward/center Michelle Walker, junior guard Brianna Bayly and senior guard Olesia Stasko.

“Walker is the nucleus of their offense,” Giacobbi said. “Stasko is a very good point guard and Bayly is a nice shooting guard.”

Last season, the Lady Vikings won a pigtail playoff game against Mars before losing to Chartiers Valley in the first round. Giacobbi is hoping that the previous playoff experience pays dividends.

“Last year, we got some playoff experience,” Giacobbi said. “We’re hoping to capitalize on that.”

For Mt. Pleasant, advancing to the second round will come down to one thing.

“We have to execute our game plan,” Giacobbi said. “We have no big adjustments, we just have to execute.”

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.