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Lady Mounties hope to build on promising 2012-13 campaign
Thursday, December 05, 2013
By Andy Stine Sports Writer
PHILIPSBURG - Two seasons ago, the Philipsburg-Osceola girls basketball team had just five wins, so getting 10 wins and a trip to the playoffs last season was a refreshing sight for the Lady Mounties.
The Lady Mounties and head coach Doug Myers are looking for an improvement on that win total this season as Myers has five letterwinners returning.
And so far, Myers has seen no reason to believe his team can't make a return trip.
"We're a little small and we're going to have to overcome some things," said Myers. "We have kids that work hard, though. They're practicing hard. We've got kids that hustle, so that's the avenue we're going to take.
"We'll see if we can be competitive in our league. We ended up 7-7 in our league last year, and the Mountain League is pretty good. We're excited about the season, and the kids are getting ready to go."
One of the challenges P-O will face this year is the loss of its star forward and Progressland first-teamer Briana Rusnak due to graduation. Rusnak was the Lady Mounties' go-to player as she scored in double digits in 20 of P-O's 23 contests last season.
Coach Myers is counting on letterwinners Alyssa Myers, Abby Showers and Haylee Hayward to fill the void left by Rusnak.
"We lost a really, really good player in Briana Rusnak," Coach Myers said. "She averaged about 15 points per game, so collectively, we're going to have to understand that everybody has to be involved in the offense.
"We have Abby, who averaged about 13 points per game. We figure teams are going to come out and key on her. A lot of the kids are going to have to pick up their game and contribute offensively. Haylee Hayward is a good shooter, and I think Alyssa can contribute."
"I think if everybody understands what we're trying to do offensively and we can all contribute somehow, we can make up Bri's 15 points."
Showers and Hayward were Progressland second-team and honorable mention picks, respectively, last season. Showers, who is a three-year starter, scored in double figures 16 times last season, while Hayward chipped in with 6.2 points per game.
"We're asking a lot. This is Abby's third year in our system. Haylee did a great job from where she started as a freshman to where she ended. She took great strides just last year, and I think she's just going to progress more this year."
Alyssa Myers and Katie Meersand, the only seniors on the team, will start as forwards for P-O. Myers averaged just under five points per game last year, while Meersand was a regular contributor off the bench with 1.4 points per game.
"Alyssa is a senior. This is her second year starting," said Coach Myers. "She understands as a senior that the younger girls are looking up to her. She and Katie Meersand kind of set the tone for how hard we work at practice and the attitude we bring to every game."
Cheyenne Bone also returns as a letterwinner from last season and should set up to be the fifth starter on the floor for the Lady Mounties.
Coach Myers said playoffs and the Mountain League are once again the two things the team is striving for this season.
"We always want to be competitive in our league," he said. "The league is strong. The champion of our league may have five or six losses. Anybody can be beaten on any night.
"The one thing we wanted to change about our culture is to continually expect to be in playoffs. The expectations are very high with every girls' sport at this school. We always want to make the playoffs and then whatever happens, happens."
P-O will open its season on Monday on the road at DuBois. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

*Katie Meersand, *Alyssa Myers.
Madison Beck, Callie Peck, *Abby Showers.
*Cheyenne Bone, Cheyanne Cowfer, Olivia Franchock, *Haylee Hayward, Emily Miller.
Paige Boast, Julia Burns, Maggie Peck.
*Denotes returning letterwinners.

9-at DuBois; 11-at Penns Valley; 13-Tyrone; 18-at Bellefonte; 20-at Bald Eagle Area; 23-Penn Cambria; 28-at Williamsburg Tournament, TBA; 30-at Williamsburg Tournament, TBA.
3-at Central Mountain; 6-DuBois Central Catholic; 8-Huntingdon; 10-Central; 13-at Brookville; 15-Clearfield; 21-Penns Valley; 24-at Tyrone; 28-Bellefonte; 31-Bald Eagle Area.
4-at Huntingdon; 7-at Central; 11-at Clearfield; 13-at Penn Cambria.
All games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.

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