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Penn-Trafford boys grow through difficult season |

Penn-Trafford boys grow through difficult season

| Tuesday, February 11, 2014 9:00 p.m
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Penn-Trafford Star
Penn-Trafford senior Sal Ross (left) defends against Norwin's Zach Bryan during a game on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at Penn-Trafford High School.

On its way to finishing with a 5-17 record this season, the Penn-Trafford boys basketball team showed flashes of potential amid overall inconsistency.

However, coach Ryan Yarosik said he saw consistency in one important area: on- and off-the-court effort.

“We played really hard, and we’re going to hang our hats on that this year,” Yarosik said after a 66-50 loss to Norwin last week capped off the Warriors’ 2-10 record in Section 1-AAAA play. “It’s not easy only winning five games, but it’s what you take from those five games that’s important.

“I’ve got to give Norwin credit. They hit some shots on our floor tonight. They probably felt like they were the home team the way they were shooting it tonight. But I can’t fault the effort of my guys. I’m really proud of them.”

From the beginning of the season, Penn-Trafford dealt with inexperience. The only returning player from last season was sophomore Timmy Vecchio.

While he saw growing pains from the group, Yarosik said the Warriors also made steady improvement.

“The learning curve was important,” Yarosik said. “When we let games go, we made improvements and we improved upon that in the following games. That’s what you’re looking for out of a younger group. You’re looking for them to develop, and I thought their confidence grew as the season went on.”

Yarosik said the team’s confidence especially grew on the offensive end, which saw the Warriors’ biggest inconsistencies. Penn-Trafford averaged 48 points per game this season — the lowest total in the section. After the Warriors came out strong against Norwin, they had a cold spell to begin the third quarter that allowed the Knights to pull away for the victory.

The Warriors typically gave themselves a chance by playing strong defensively, allowing 55.3 points per game.

“Collectively, the overall poise and confidence (grew on offense),” Yarosik said. “They were always there defensively. They always did what I exactly wanted them to do. Next year, I expect we can do a little more to build off this year. But they’ll be more aggressive next year offensively. There won’t be that wow factor as far as, can we play with these guys or not? They’ll be ready.”

Penn-Trafford will look to replace graduating seniors Sam Kavel, the team’s top interior player, as well as Sal Ross. Yarosik said the players were important for team chemistry.

They adapted really well to this younger crew,” Yarosik said. “Everybody just kind of (said), ‘We’re not in 10th grade, we’re not in 11th grade, we’re a team.’ We’re going to miss that locker room presence.”

Next season, the Warriors will look to improve upon their finish from 2013-14 with a group that includes four returning starters.

Yarosik said he’s excited to keep coaching the team.

“(We have) all kinds of experience coming back next year, so you won’t hear me sing the experience tune,” he said. “You’re probably going to hear me singing something along the lines of, ‘We remember what it was like last year, and we’re going to flip that script.’”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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