Cheswick Christian girls hungry for improvement

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 | 6:07 PM

Last season saw the Cheswick Christian girls basketball team win just four games after making the postseason in 2022-23, but under a new but familiar head coach this season, the Chargers are primed for improvement across the board.

Clinton Blazevich takes over for Paul Kostick, whose work schedule changed, forcing him to step down as head coach of the girls squad after one season in relief of Jackie Willis. Willis coached for a few seasons after Blazevich was forced to step away for medical reasons after a successful three-year run at the helm in the early 2010s.

Willis is now an assistant for Blazevich and is joined by former players Allison Buirge and Aimee Kosor on the staff that hopes to see a “promising group” take a big step.

“I’ve been involved ever since, even just helping however I could,” Blazevich said. “This team, I’ve never actually coached any of the girls on it, but I’m pretty familiar with them. There’s a lot more to them that we’ve seen.”

Blazevich said his job is to bring more out of the group.

“I don’t coach girls. I coach basketball players,” he said. “They need to be prepared to do what it takes to win basketball games, and I think they are. This might be the hungriest group I’ve had as a coach.”

The Chargers will be returning to a familiar press under Blazevich. They also will keep things moving on offense with a motion concept against man or zone but will take things game by game, Blazevich said.

Seniors Mei Clay and Allie Szramowski and junior Abby Louis are returning starters. Grace Kostick, the former coach’s daughter, is new to the team as a freshman guard, and Lauren Weng figures to be a key newcomer as well. Senior Emily Weng, who is first off the bench, will be a big piece for the team, too, as a “do everything you ask” type of player, Blazevich said.

“Allie can score from pretty much anywhere on the court and will carry the team in leadership too. Mei is a monster. Her motor never dries,” said Blazevich. “Abby Louis … we have yet to see her potential. When she peaks, she’s going to be a great player.”

Of Grace Kostick, Blazevich said she’ll end up being the best player in her family, which includes a pair of basketball-playing brothers.

“They might hate me for saying that, but it’s true,” he said. “Lauren will do a little bit of everything. We’re excited for her too.”

On Cheswick Christian’s side of the Southwest Christian Athletic Conference, Blazevich is expecting the Chargers to compete with everyone in what he described as a competitive division. On the other side, he said Plants and Pillars and Portersville Christian will be challenging as always.

The Chargers will open the season the weekend of Dec. 1 at Neighborhood Academy’s tip-off tournament.

“What we’ve preached is we can’t win playing conventional basketball. We only have nine girls, and two have never played basketball before,” Blazevich said. “We’ll have to do things other teams aren’t doing and be good at it.”

Cheswick Christian girls at a glance

Last year’s record: 4-14

Returning starters: Mei Clay (Sr., G), Abby Louis (Jr., F), Allie Szramowski (Sr., F)

Top newcomers: Grace Kostick (Fr., G), Lauren Weng (Jr., G)


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