From lone senior Maggie Moore through to a core of talented freshmen, Southmoreland’s girls basketball team is concentrating on team unity with a goal of getting to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2008.
“I’m hopeful we can make the playoffs and have a fun year,” Moore said. “I hope all of us will work together and be friends both on and off the floor.”
Southmoreland has had a combined non-section record of 15-1 in the past two seasons. But the Lady Scotties were 5-9 in a highly competitive section in both 2017 and 2018.
Graduated are Brooke Corley, Carissa Cyphert and Alayna Perbonish. Cyphert is now playing on the women’s basketball team at Penn State Fayette’s Eberly Campus.
With the section changing again, but still competitive, head coach Brian Pritts said,” We’ve talked about that in practice. We need to be tougher mentally. Physically we are tough, but in the wear and tear of a strong section, mental toughness will get you through it some times.
“This is a strong section again. We lost Keystone Oaks and South Park but gained three quality 5A schools that dropped down in McKeesport, West Mifflin and Ringgold.”
That’s in addition to Elizabeth Forward, Belle Vernon, Mount Pleasant, Yough and Southmoreland. The Lady Scotties’ non-section schedule is even more challenging with South Park remaining, Serra Catholic, 1A runner-up West Greene, Greensburg Salem, and Seneca Valley on the slate.
Southmoreland has only 12 players on the roster, but has a mix of experience and youthful potential. Pritts said they are “one of the longest (tallest) teams we’ve ever had.”
After the 6-2 Moore, junior letterwinners include 5-4 guard Charity Henderson, 5-8 guard Erika Sherbondy, 5-6 guard Carlie Collins and 6-0 forward Sarah Pisula.
Sophomores are 5-4 guard Bailey Steban, 5-9 forward Kaitlyn Peterson and 5-10 forward McKenzie Pirl.
Four talented freshmen are 5-5 guard Kaylee Keys, 5-10 guard/forward Delaynie Morvosh, 5-10 guard/forward Gracie Spadaro and 5-11 forward Bailey Kuhns.
Pritts speaks highly about each grade group, and said the juniors put the team first, but “really respect Maggie and want her to have a good year.”
Moore has already committed to play Division I basketball at the United States Naval Academy after graduation.
“I’m extra excited for Maggie,” Pritts said. “She never played basketball until the eighth grade. She has a good work ethic, determination and drive.”
As a part of team bonding, the squad left practice one night before Thanksgiving to buy holiday gifts for a local family they are sponsoring. “We want to connect as kids as well as basketball players,” Pritts said.
Having coached the program through two time periods, Pritts is roughly 10 wins from 200 as girls basketball coach. “I’m very proud of where we are as a program,” he said. “This is a testament to all the kids who have been here. There have been ups and downs, but all in all, I’m pretty proud of the accomplishments the program has had.
“We want to try not to predict our future, but to create our future one day at a time.”