With new coach, Glendale boys hope to continue success|
Thursday, December 6, 2012
By Andy Stine Sports Writer
FLINTON - The Glendale boys basketball team had its fair share of ups and downs last season. After the team started the season at 5-7, reaching the district playoffs seemed to be a distant dream.
But the Vikings picked themselves up and won nine of their next 10 games and won the Moshannon Valley League to earn their spot in the playoffs.
Glendale's season ended in a two-point loss to perennial power Bishop Guilfoyle in the third place game for a spot in the PIAA state tournament.
Six seniors graduated from that team that finished with an overall record of 15-10, including Progressland Player of the Year Michael Wigfield and honorable mention selection Kyle Wright.
Mark Yeckley also stepped down as head coach over the offseason and handed the reins to Ryan Pastva, who was an assistant on the senior-laden team a season ago.
"It has been a growing process so far," said Pastva. "As with any new head coach, the players have to adjust to the way I manage the team. Expectations are different from coach to coach and it is something we are growing into. Practices have been flowing better as the season goes on. The biggest problem is the season hasn't started yet. The guys are ready to see some other opposition."
"Kyle and Wiggy did a great job for us last year and they did leave voids in the starting lineup. The players we have now are not expected to replace Kyle or Wiggy, but they are expected to give it their all. Those players will work to play within themselves and the gameplan we set out each game."
The Vikings return three letterwinners this season, including a key piece from last year's success in senior letterwinner Damon Braniff. A second-team Progressland pick last season, Braniff finished in ninth place in the area in scoring with 11.1 points per game and also averaged one three-pointer a game. Senior Chris Wilson and junior Dakota Sinclair join Braniff as the top returnees for Glendale this season.
"I expect to see some leadership from them," said Pastva. "This is something they know and realize that they need to do. They have some shoes to fill, but they have the ability to do that if they lead the rest of the team there."
The Vikings also have a trio of newcomers out for the team this season in seniors Derrian Matchock and Bill Snyder and junior Marcus McCrae.
Still, Pastva is hesitant to name a starting lineup for the Vikings' season opener.
"I have an idea of who will be in the starting lineup, but nothing is set in stone," he said. "There are some guys working really hard that could crack the starting lineup or even earn a spot as a role player if they continue to improve. The team knows that this can change at any time for a variety of reasons."
The Vikings would like to build on what they showed last year in the District 6 Class A playoffs and their goals show that they have set the bar high again this season.
"One of the first goals we set was to do the little things right all of the time to become the best basketball team we can," said Pastva. "We also want to win the Mo Valley League for the third straight year. We also want to win the ICC and we want to make it to district playoffs and beyond."
Glendale's campaign gets under way tomorrow on the road at United. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
*Damon Braniff, Derrian Matchock, Bill Snyder, *Chris Wilson, Gary Witherow.
Colton Kimberly, Matt Kimberly, Marcus McCrae, Matt Schultz, *Dakota Sinclair.
Anthony Barnhart, Shea O'Donnell.
*Denotes returning letterwinners.
7-at United; 12-Harmony; 14-Mount Union; 18-at Juniata Valley; 21-at Williamsburg; 26-at Cambria Heights Christmas Tournament, TBA; 27-at Cambria Heights Christmas Tournament, TBA.
2-at Curwensville; 4-at West Branch; 7-United; 9-Curwensville; 11-Moshannon Valley; 14-Claysburg-Kimmel; 18-at Bellwood-Antis; 23-at Mount Union; 24-Juniata Valley; 28-Williamsburg; 31-West Branch.
4-at Moshannon Valley; 8-at Claysburg-Kimmel; 11-Bellwood-Antis; 14-at Harmony.
All games start at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.