Familiar face leads Penn-Trafford boys basketball into season

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Saturday, December 5, 2020 | 11:13 AM


When Penn-Trafford district officials went searching for a new boys basketball coach after Jim Rocco resigned following five seasons, they were looking for someone familiar with the program.

Doug Kelly, who was the P-T boys junior varsity coach in 2018-19, was hired in June. He was a P-T girls basketball volunteer assistant in 2019-20.

Kelly inherits a Penn-Trafford team that returns four starters and numerous lettermen. But Kelly isn’t sure who he will pencil in the starting lineup when the season is scheduled to open Dec. 11 against North Allegheny.

“We have a lot of competition for playing time,” said Kelly, who was the Franklin Regional boys basketball head coach from 2001-09. “This is a good group to coach; they hold themselves accountable and push each other. We have very competitive practices.”

The four returning starters are senior guard Josh Kapcin, senior point guard Chase Vecchio, junior shooting guard Nick Crum and junior center Ben Myers.

Kelly said Myers, who stands 6-foot-6, has improved his game over the summer and will provide a good presence in the post.

“When you get good post play, it opens up things for other players,” Kelly said. “We have a bunch of guys who are hungry for playing time.”

Other players pushing for playing time include senior guards Jared Schoffstall and Silas Koscho, senior forward Tyler Campbell, junior guard Noah Wright, sophomore forward Tom Kalkstein and a trio of freshmen guards — Jason Sabol, Tyler Freas and Nathan Crum.

“We’ll have two or three guys that can lead us in scoring on any given night,” Kelly said. “I hope our scoring is by committee. We share the ball well.”

Even though Kelly was hired in June amidst the current pandemic, he was able to meet with the players in July and hold different workouts.

One thing the team was able to do was play intrasquad games in a local park and play in a few fall leagues. It was there where Kelly was able to evaluate the players.

He said it helped that he knew a lot of the players from when he coached the junior varsity team.

Penn-Trafford reached the WPIAL playoffs last season but dropped a 50-35 decision to Central Catholic.

This year, Central Catholic joins Penn-Trafford in Section 3-6A, along with Fox Chapel, Norwin, Hempfield and Greensburg Salem, which elected to play up.

“I’m excited to have some close rivalries,” Kelly said. “It should make for an exciting season.”

Penn-Trafford boys basketball at a glance

Coach: Doug Kelly

Last year’s record: 14-9 (5-5 Section 3-6A)

Returning starters: Chase Vecchio (Sr., PG), Josh Kapcin (Sr., G), Ben Myers (Jr., C), Nick Crum (Jr., G)

Top newcomers: Jared Schoffstall (Sr., G), Silas Koscho (Sr., F), Tyler Campbell (Sr., F), Noah Wright (Jr., G), Jason Sabol (Fr., G), Tyler Freas (Fr., G), Nathan Crum (Fr., G), Tom Kalkstein (So., F), John DeMarchis (Jr., G)

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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