After regrouping, Mt. Pleasant girls ready to make inroads in Class 3A

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Thursday, November 24, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Scott Giacobbi is beginning his 18th season as girls basketball coach at Mt. Pleasant.

He called last season a regrouping year.

The Vikings were sometimes overmatched in Section 4-4A, but with a drop in classification, Giacobbi is looking forward to the new challenges his squad will face.

Instead of playing Southmoreland, Elizabeth Forward, Belle Vernon, West Mifflin, Yough and Ligonier Valley, the Vikings will face new foes in a Class 3A section. They are Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, Deer Lakes, Ligonier Valley and Shady Side Academy.

“We’re in a new section, and I’m looking forward to the new competition,” Giacobbi said. “I feel there will be more parity in the section. We were competitive in a lot games last year. We just didn’t have the depth.”

What Giacobbi does have is twin towers under the boards in seniors Marissa Garn, a 6-foot-1 center, and Tiffany Zelmore, a 5-11 forward.

Zelmore averaged 21.4 points last season.

Giacobbi is counting on junior guard Riley Gesinski to run the offense.

“I believe we’ll be able to run the floor well,” Giacobbi said. “We do have some experience returning. We need to play strong defense.”

Other players Giacobbi said will contribute include senior forward Carly Smith, sophomore guard Kayla Rumbaugh, sophomore forward Nina Province and three freshmen guards: Morgan Gesinski, Grace Arrigo and Carmela Spallone.

One concern for Giacobbi is several girls played on the soccer team that reached the PIAA Class 2A semifinals. Giacobbi said it will take some time to get them up to speed. He hopes by the middle of December the team will be clicking.

“It’s going to take some time for us to come together,” Giacobbi said. “I like our team chemistry. They are a good group of players who enjoy playing together. They all pull for each other.”

Another concern for Giacobbi is his team’s lack of depth. He doesn’t have a big roster.

He said numbers are down all around the WPIAL as kids find other things to do in the winter.

But if Mt. Pleasant can use its height to its advantage, the Vikings should be tough to beat.

At a glance

Coach: Scott Giacobbi

Last year’s record: 8-14 overall (3-9 Section 3-4A)

Returning starters: Tiffany Zelmore (Sr., F), Marissa Garn (Sr., F), Riley Gesinski (Jr., G)

Newcomers: Carly Smith (Sr., F), Kayla Rumbaugh (So., G), Nina Province (So., F), Morgan Gesinski (Fr., G), Grace Arrigo (Fr., F), Carmela Spallone (Fr., G)

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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