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Shaler girls basketball turns focus to offseason improvement

Josh Rizzo

The Shaler girls basketball team didn’t find a way to sneak in the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs.

But the Titans were able to start building the defensive foundation for next season. Shaler (7-14, 5-9), which finished three games out of the playoffs, held opponents to 44.5 points per game.

“I was impressed with our team defense after Christmas,” coach Cornelious Nesbit said. “If people look at our scores, we played good basketball teams and held them under their scoring average. We were also able to hold their leading scorers under their average.”

Shaler will lose one senior, guard/forward Payten Harrison, and return its top two leading scorers.

Emily Cavacini led the Titans by averaging 12.6 points. Meghan Lacey was second, averaging 9.6 points, and led the team with 7.2 rebounds per game. Lacey led Shaler in seven categories.

“Meghan Lacey was phenomenal. She handled the ball against pressure and played every minute of the game,” Nesbit said. “She had a lot of stuff on her plate.”

The Titans were constantly climbing after starting the season 0-5 and dropping their first two section games. Shaler climbed back into the playoff race but was undone by a 1-3 finish.

Inconsistency on offense — the Titans averaged 33.3 points — had Shaler struggling to keep up with the heavyweights in Section 1-6A.

With a high number of young players seeing time, Nesbit knew the Titans would have ups-and-downs. Getting so much varsity time should help in the future.

“Now, they have the experience,” Nesbit said. “For me as a coach, that should no longer be a reason we don’t succeed. We had kids play when they weren’t ready to play. They have the experience and know what to expect in a varsity basketball game.”

What is important is that Shaler finds a way to utilize the experience they gained. The Titans don’t want to be on the outside looking in again next year.

“What I’m hoping they take from it, is they see the improvement they made through the season,” Nesbit said. “Envision what happens if they commit to the offseason program we put forward to them. If they can get better during the season, imagine what a whole offseason would do to make them better for next year.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.