Burrell girls basketball program rolls with changes

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021 | 7:28 PM


When Shaun Reddick took over as coach of the Burrell girls basketball team in June, it marked his return to that capacity for the first time since one season at the helm of the Bucs two decades ago.

Very familiar with the Burrell girls basketball program in a number of coaching positions, Reddick said he sees strong potential in this group led by four returning starters.

“Any time there is a change, a change in philosophy, it can take a little time to adjust,” said Reddick, who took over for Joel Ceraso, who resigned after three seasons.

“I am more of a pressure-run guy, and (Ceraso) was a little more of a half-court coach. With their experience, the girls did a nice job with the transition. We went to a shootout a couple of weeks ago, and we competed really well. I was really pleased with what we did there. Obviously, there are still things to correct moving into the season, but I am really happy with our progress.”

Burrell is coming off a season in which it went 10-11 overall and 4-5 in Section 1-4A. Burrell entered the open WPIAL playoffs and suffered a second-round loss to Beaver, which won the WPIAL title and was undefeated until a loss in the PIAA quarterfinals.

Seniors guards Allison Fisher and Hope Clark lead the way as veteran returning starters.

Fisher averaged 12.4 points and 4.2 rebounds over 20 games and was selected a second-team Valley News Dispatch all-star.

“There’s been a lot of changes all around with a new coach, and we’ve gained some new players and lost some others,” Fisher said.

“But there is a lot of energy around this team, and I think we have what it takes to have a really good season. We have a lot to prove this year.”

Clark averaged 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds a season ago.

Also back as starters are junior forwards Riley Sterlitz (4.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Addy Landowski (2.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg).

Junior Emily Wojtczak saw action in 10 of the 16 games last year, and Reddick said she is ready to make her mark.

Also hoping for bigger things, Reddick said, is fellow junior Maggie Omecinski.

Reddick said he sees strong potential from a pair of freshmen: Julianna Fisher, the younger sister of Allison; and Anna Clark, the younger sister of Hope.

“They are big, strong kids, and I feel they can make the step up and give us some minutes,” he said. “I am excited for that.

“We’re going to dress 10, and I think all 10 can get in there and give us good minutes.”

Kate Myers, a starter as a freshman last year for the Bucs, transferred to Highlands. She tied Fisher at 12.4 points a game.

Shelby Wojcik, who also earned minutes as a freshman, also now plays at Highlands.

Olivia Watts has battled through a knee injury and recovery for the better part of a year and decided not to play this season, Reddick said.

“Losing talent like that is tough, but we feel confident and excited with the group we have,” Reddick said.

Burrell returns to section competition against Deer Lakes, Derry, Freeport, Highlands, Knoch, and Valley.

Knoch went undefeated in section play (7-0) and made it to the semifinals of the WPIAL 4A playoffs.

“The teams in our section didn’t lose many players, and they will be ready,” Fisher said. “It is a very competitive section, and I think we can be right there with the other top teams.”

Burrell will be able to gauge its progress Saturday with a 10 a.m. scrimmage at Class 5A Armstrong.

Another scrimmage, at home Dec. 7 against St. Joseph, will lead into the season-opening Burrell tournament Dec. 10-11 with Homer-Center, Kiski Area and Laurel.

“We’re trying to run the ball a little more and get more high-percentage buckets, so I would like to see how our transition game sets up, both offensively and defensively,” Reddick said. “We’re also trying to clean up some things with positioning, especially on defense. Getting closer to the season, we’re always working to get better.”

Burrell girls at a glance

Coach: Shaun Reddick

Last year’s record: 10-11 (4-5 Section 1-4A)

Returning starters: Allison Fisher (Sr., G); Hope Clark (Sr., G); Addy Landowski (Jr., F); Riley Sterlitz (Jr., F).

Top newcomers: Anna Clark (Fr., G); Julianna Fisher (Fr., F)

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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