Greensburg Salem boys out to surprise opponents

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Friday, November 22, 2019 | 6:18 PM


A late-season losing streak of seven games derailed plans of a second consecutive WPIAL playoff appearance for the Greensburg Salem boys basketball team.

The Golden Lions were 3-4 in Section 1-5A and were in line for a playoff run until a couple injuries occurred.

“We were down to six or seven players against Laurel Highlands,” Greensburg Salem second-year coach Mark Zahorchak said.

The Golden Lions return five seniors, including first-team all-section guard Dante Parsons, who averaged 17.4 points. Parsons is closing in on 1,000 points in his career.

The other starter returning is 6-foot-3 forward Ryan Thomas, who was the leading rebounder.

Also back is 6-4 senior forward Shamar McCoy, a shot blocker, senior guards Jeff Mankins and Jalen Page and junior guard/forward Cade Cavanaugh.

Zahorchak must replace three players, all of whom are playing baseball in college. Jack Oberdorf is at Seton Hill and Reid Amundson and Noah Sweeney are at Pitt-Johnstown.

“We’re senior heavy, so we’ll need some juniors and sophomores to step up and fill some roles,” Zahorchak said. “We feel we’re a playoff-capable team. That’s our expectations. We should be very competitive.”

While Parsons and Thomas are technically the only returning starters, Mankins, McCoy and Page have started in previous years and played on the 2017-18 team that made the WPIAL playoffs.

Zahorchak said that Penn Hills is the team to beat in the section. He said McKeesport and Woodland Hills should be good as well as Albert Gallatin and Gateway.

“Our expectations are high,” Thomas said. “We have a lot of experience coming back. We know what we have and we’re not worried about what other people think.

“The key is having everyone play as a unit. We’ve had issues in the past and we’ve put that behind us.”

Parsons is capable of scoring in bunches. He had 42 points against Penn Hills by hitting 7 of 11 3-pointers.

“I just worked hard over the summer and I want to continue to push myself to get better,” Parsons said. “I’m looking forward to having a great season.

“I feel if we play as a team and run and share the ball, I think we can be very successful. I’m very excited and I think we can make a push.”

Greensburg Salem opens the season against Hempfield at the Hempfield Tip-Off Tournament on Dec. 6. The Golden Lions will play Franklin Regional on Dec. 7. The first section game is Albert Gallatin on Dec. 13.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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