Gateway boys aim to challenge for Section 3-5A title

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Saturday, December 4, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Gateway boys basketball coach Alvis Rogers said he has a lot to be excited about with his team as it is on the cusp of a new season in Monroeville.

Four starters are back for the Gators who hope to challenge for the Section 3-5A title and make a deep run in the WPIAL playoffs.

Gateway’s 2020-21 season came to an end with a 53-47 loss to Chartiers Valley in the quarterfinals. The Gators finished 9-8 overall.

“I keep telling the guys and encouraging them to talk it up that they have a chance to be a really good team,” Rogers said. “The chemistry among the players continues to grow with every practice.”

Quincy Germany, who made 41 steals and dished out 70 assists last year, was the only starter lost to graduation. Dylan Cain, who featured prominently off the bench a year ago, also graduated.

Of the four starters back, 6-foot-3 senior guard Will Kromka led the team in scoring last year at 16.4 points a game. He shot 45% from 3-point range and added six rebounds a contest.

Kromka missed the playoff loss to Chartiers Valley with a broken wrist, and he now is working his way back from an ankle injury.

Senior 6-7 forward Ryan Greggerson finished last season averaging 9.5 points and seven rebounds, while junior guard Jaydon Carr added nine points a game and provided 46 assists and 47 steals.

Junior guard M.J. Stevenson contributed 7.5 points a game.

Kromka was a first-team Section 3 all-star. Carr and Greggerson made the second team, while Stevenson was an honorable-mention pick.

“We have a lot of skilled players, and that makes practices really competitive and a lot of fun,” Greggerson said.

“Everyone really gets after it with a lot of energy. We are all pushing each other to get better. That will help us as we prepare for games.”

Rogers said the fifth starter probably will be 5-8 junior guard Kaleb Pryor, who was with Gateway two years ago before transferring to Norwin.

“Kaleb got some varsity time last year,” Rogers said. “He will bring toughness and leadership, and he can score the ball. He’s learning a lot.”

Sophomore Bryson Pavlik, Rogers said, is ready to take that next step after a strong varsity debut as a freshman.

“Bryson wasn’t lacking confidence last year, but he has really stepped it up a bit,” Rogers said. “He’s really been working on his shot and his defense. He’s a hard-nosed kid who is tough and gritty. I expect big things from him bringing that energy coming off the bench. He’s going to play starter minutes.”

Rogers said the rotation could end up going 10 to 15 deep without losing a beat.

“With some of the younger kids, it comes down to just knowing what I want from them and what they can expect at the varsity level,” Rogers said.

“I tell them that every rung you climb up on the ladder, it gets tougher, but with hard work, they will be able to meet each challenge.”

Rogers said a lot was learned Nov. 30 when the Gators scrimmaged District 10’s Farrell.

“We still have a long way to go as far as executing in certain situations and also in rebounding the ball,” Rogers said.

“But it was good to get out and play against a different face in a different uniform. We did see some good things, as well. They shared the ball, they communicated well defensively and they helped one another. We worked on those things in practice, so they translated to the scrimmage.”

Gateway again will mix it up with Penn Hills, Franklin Regional, Latrobe, McKeesport, Kiski Area and Woodland Hills in section play. Penn Hills and Latrobe joined the Gators as WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinalists last year.

“I would like to say we’re going to make a run at (the section title),” Rogers said.

“I am sure Penn Hills, Latrobe, Woody High, McKeesport and all the rest of them are all saying the same thing. I feel we have the best group of kids in the section. I feel everyone is coming after us. The guys have earned the right to be excited and set high goals and expectations. It’s about a belief in who we are and what we are as a team. Any given night, we can be pretty tough to beat. On the other hand, we can be beat if we don’t come to play.”

Rogers said his team will face two great tests Friday and Saturday at the Upper St. Clair Tip-Off Tournament. Gateway will take on Pine-Richland on night one and then will match up with either the host Panthers or Chartiers Valley in the championship or consolation contest.

“That’s what we want, Rogers said. “It is going to tell us exactly where we are. It will set the stage for the rest of the season. It’s a challenge. If we want to be the best, we have to go out and beat the best.”

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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