Gateway hopes to carry momentum of playoff run into new season

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Sunday, November 27, 2022 | 11:01 AM


After an impressive playoff run for the Gateway boys basketball team a season ago, things will look a bit different on the hardwood in Monroeville in 2022-23.

The Gators upset third-seeded Mars in the WPIAL quarterfinals, gave eventual runner-up New Castle a game in the semifinals and knocked off WPIAL champion Laurel Highlands in the state quarterfinals. But gone from that team are two collegiate athletes in Ryan Greggerson, a 6-foot-7 forward who is playing at Pitt-Greensburg and Will Kromka, a 6-3 wing player who is now at Pitt-Johnstown.

Alvis Rogers, who enters his fifth season as coach, said the Gators won’t have great size, but what they lack in size should be made up in athleticism and speed.

“We’re smaller. When you lose a 6-7 and a 6-3 player, that can be hard to come back from,” said Rogers. “We’ll try and pick up the rebounding and size by committee. We just have to learn to trust each other and defend and we’ll be fine. We have the athleticism and the speed and the quickness; we just have to be disciplined.”

Rogers expects the offense to open up some.

“We can spread the floor, pass and cut. We may not put the ball on the floor too often,” said Rogers. “We’ll have some sets, but our style will change a bit.”

Gateway returns five players who saw significant time a year ago in senior guards Jaydon Carr, MJ Stevenson and Kaleb Pryor as well as junior forward Taili Thompson and guard Vito Campolo.

Two senior forwards, Dallas Harper and Tra Williams, will also see time and Rogers thinks they’ll make contributions to Gateway’s success.

The Gators will also see the emergence of junior Brad Birch on the hardwood. Birch, known primarily for his prowess as a quarterback on the gridiron, was on Jeannette’s roster in 2020-21 before his transfer to Gateway.

With the new faces and returning rotational pieces, Rogers said his group is still trying to get familiar with each other and get everyone involved.

“We don’t have that person that you’d consider the go-to guy this year, like we had in Will, who could get the ball and get a basket on the perimeter or in the paint,” said Rogers. “We’re trying to become the team we think we can become and that we did become last year.”

The Gators will take part in the Play4Mae Tournament at Woodland Hills Dec. 2-3 before playing Allderdice Dec. 6 and in the Central Catholic Tipoff Tournament Dec. 9-10.

At a glance

Coach: Alvis Rogers (fifth season)

2021-22 record: 18-7 (9-3 in Section 3-5A)

Returning starters: Jaydon Carr (Sr., G), MJ Stevenson (Sr., G), Kaleb Pryor (Sr., G), Taili Thompson (Jr., F)

Top newcomers: Dallas Harper (Sr., F), Brad Birch (Jr., G), Tra Williams (Sr., F)

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