Wagner at practice

Ed Thompson

Charleroi freshman Will Wagner participates in a Cougars practice.

While Charleroi is in what is expected to be a tough section, Section 4-AAA, boys head coach Bill Wiltz is expecting the Cougars to do well.

“We plan on contending,” Wiltz said about the section which includes Beth-Center, Brownsville, Frazier, McGuffey, Southmoreland and Washington. “There are some talented teams, but the guys are working hard and I am excited for the season.”

The team returns three starters, seniors Lee Zanardini and Geno Pellegrini and junior Joey Caruso.

“I am looking at them as leaders and they have been doing a pretty nice job,” Wiltz said. “They know what is expected of them and of the team.”

Junior Legend Davis enters the season as the starting point guard, while senior Marty Foster gets the nod as the fifth starter.

Wiltz also said senior Phil Banks, junior Dom Pellegrini, sophomore Zach Usher and freshman Will Wagner will see time, and he is impressed with the young Wagner.

“Will has been performing well,” Wiltz said of Wagner, whose dad Bill is the program’s all-time scoring leader with 1,463 points. “He will get some quality time.”

The team was limited at the start of preseason practice due to the football team making it to the WPIAL semifinals.

“We have been doing a real nice job at practice and they are performing well at this point,” said Wiltz. “It was tough not having everyone here, but we will have them completely integrated by the time we open up.”

What does Wiltz see as keys to getting back to the playoffs?

“We need to rebound and defend low,” Wiltz said of his team that does not have much size. “If we can defend down low and rebound it will be great.”

“No one will have nights off as it is a tough section,” added Wiltz. “If we play to our capabilities, I like our chances.”

Charleroi opens Dec. 7 in the Trojans Tip-Off Tournament when the Cougars face Jefferson-Morgan.

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