Girls basketball coach Sam Salih makes move to Deer Lakes from Greensburg CC

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Wednesday, July 7, 2021 | 5:07 PM


When Sam Salih resigned as girls varsity head coach at Greensburg Central Catholic in April after three seasons, he said it was time for a change, and he left the Centurions program on good terms.

He looked forward to a new start while staying at the high school level.

Salih recently got his wish as he is the new girls basketball coach at Deer Lakes.

“I am definitely excited to get started with the girls,” Salih said Wednesday afternoon while coaching his Legendz Athletics AAU teams at a showcase event in Indianapolis.

“I am looking forward to seeing them in the gym and seeing what everyone is capable of doing.”

Salih said that despite a busy AAU schedule this month for both he and a number of the Deer Lakes players, he’s hoping to meet his new team, the players, parents and boosters sometime next week and begin plans for the upcoming season.

“I want to have that conversation about where everyone’s mindset is, what they are looking forward to and what we all can do to give the girls the best opportunity for success,” Salih said.

Salih takes over for Dave Petruska, who stepped down as head coach of the Lancers in April after six seasons at the helm.

Petruska compiled a 69-61 overall record and guided Deer Lakes to the WPIAL playoffs in all six of his seasons. The Lancers return three starters and several other varsity contributors from a team that went 6-8 overall and 4-3 in Section 1-4A during a 2020-21 season truncated because of covid concerns.

Deer Lakes suffered a loss to Class 4A semifinalist Southmoreland in the first round.

“I knew about the program from afar because (2019 Deer Lakes grad) Victoria Keibler played AAU for us,” Salih said. “She was a really good kid and player for us, and she would always have great things to say about the program and what coach Petruska and his staff were doing there. I am looking forward to picking up and building off of where coach Dave left the program and what he was able to accomplish there.”

Salih went 42-17 in his three seasons at GCC and led the Centurions to three playoff appearances, extending the program’s playoff-qualifying streak to 21.

“I think the key things at Deer Lakes will be the style of play, our energy, our effort and our enthusiasm,” Salih said. “I am a very energetic coach, so I will be up and down the sidelines. I want the girls to play with that same energy and have fun playing the game.

“Coach Dave’s teams established a strong foundation of defense, and I am a defensive-minded coach in that way. I look forward to working defensively in terms of playing with pressure and picking up full court. Seeing the team play from some film clips, those type of ingredients are already there.”

Prior to his time at GCC, Salih coached four years with the women’s team at La Roche College. His tenure included one season as interim head coach.

He also previously coached in the WPIAL at Vincentian (boys and girls), East Allegheny (girls) and South Fayette (girls) over his more than two decades of coaching experience.

Deer Lakes returns to a locally infused Section 1-4A this season and will play home-and-home league matchups against Burrell, Freeport, Highlands, Knoch, Valley and Derry.

“It’s been a long couple of months, just anticipating and waiting, but I am really excited to have a new coach, get in the gym with my teammates and get ready for the season,” said rising senior guard Reese Hasley, a three-time Valley News Dispatch all-star.

“I had read a bio on him, and he definitely has a lot of coaching experience and has had success wherever he’s been. I know he’s going to bring a lot of good things to the team.”

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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