After graduation losses, Penn Hills girls basketball out to prove doubters wrong

Sunday, December 5, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Penn Hills senior guard Eryn Roberson doesn’t like the preseason perception of the program. In a year where the Indians only return four players, Roberson hasn’t felt a lot of positivity surrounding Penn Hills.

The disrespect is what has Roberson motivated to propel the Indians as far as they can go.

“We want to prove to everybody we can be what we try to be,” Roberson said. “Everyone is doubting us and saying Penn Hills isn’t going to be that good because we lost so many people. I feel like as a team we should want to prove everybody wrong.”

There will be plenty of opportunities for the Indians to leave a lasting impression. The Indians open up the season with a stark challenge, playing defending PIAA and WPIAL Class 6A champion North Allegheny on Dec. 10 in the North Allegheny Tip-Off Tournament.

The Indians, who finished last season 10-8, losing 39-34 to Fox Chapel in the first round of the playoffs, will need a teamwide effort to grow together as the season goes along.

Penn Hills coach Robert Cash will look to Roberson for leadership.

“She’s given us good minutes in the past and is a strong defensive player,” Cash said. “She plays with strong energy and effort.”

Guard/forward Hannah Pugliese, guard Sierra Moten and guard Maura Wade will be counted on to step into new roles. Penn Hills also has a few younger players with size who will be counted on to improve their raw skills.

“Everybody is going to step into a bigger role,” Cash said. “Everyone’s new role is going to be more important.”

Penn Hills was a stout defensive team last season, holding its opponents to 39.9 points per game. Utilizing the defense early while the offense catches up will be vital for Penn Hills. Having a productive offense will be reliant on the players.

Roberson just wants to make sure Penn Hills isn’t too reliant on any one player.

“We want to share the ball as much as possible,” Roberson said. “The ball can’t always be in my hands because teams are going to know I’m the only senior and look to take me away. There are four other people on the court, and it should be a fair game.”

Penn Hills is locked into trying to show everyone it has what it takes to make a return to the WPIAL playoffs.

The Indians are all moving together toward proving everyone wrong.

“We’re going to have as much focus and commitment as possible,” Roberson said. “Last year, we were big on commitment, focus and communication. We will have to repeat those steps and be better than we were last year and if we want to go farther.”


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