Greensburg Salem girls celebrate Mankins’ return with win over Mt. Pleasant

Friday, December 2, 2022 | 10:43 PM

Greensburg Salem ushered in the start of another girls basketball season Friday night on its home court by racing past Mt. Pleasant on the first day of the Greensburg Salem Tip-Off Tournament.

Kaitlyn Mankins, playing in her first high school game in nearly 11 months, scored 17 points, and Ashlan Price added 12 to lead a 57-20 rout of Mt. Pleasant.

“It was a first game. There’s a lot of things to keep working on, a lot of things to improve,” Greensburg Salem coach Rick Klimchock said. “We were a little sloppy at times.”

But it was a celebration for the Golden Lions, who welcomed back the 5-foot-11 Mankins, a junior, who missed much of last season after having surgery to repair a dislocated patellar tendon in her left leg.

She was injured Jan. 11 in Greensburg Salem’s 41-40 overtime victory at Franklin Regional.

“We had a bunch of kids score tonight,” Klimchock said. “With Kaitlyn back, we really have a lot of versatility. You notice we had her handling the ball some tonight? I thought we passed the ball really well. We looked for each other, and that’s what we talked about. That was important.”

Greensburg Salem (1-0) will face Greensburg Central Catholic (1-0) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, the tournament’s final day.

GCC opened the tournament Friday with a lopsided outcome of its own, beating Ringgold, 58-25.

“It will be hard one,” Klimchock said. “They have good guards and we have a lot of size, so it will be a good matchup. We played them this summer. We know what they’re about. They know what we’re about. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

In Saturday’s tournament opener, Mt. Pleasant (0-1) meets Rinngold (0-1) at noon.

Greensburg Salem jumped to a 22-2 lead after the first quarter and took a 36-10 advantage into halftime. The Golden Lions outscored the Vikings, 21-10, in the second half.

Six Mt. Pleasant players were members of the Vikings girls soccer team that played well into November, reaching the PIAA Class 2A semifinals, and were able to attend only a handful of basketball practices.

“We’ve only had five practices with everyone together,” Mt. Pleasant coach Scott Giacobbi said. “There’s no way to have chemistry with that few of practices. Honestly, some of those players needed to have more reps for us to get completely prepared for the first game.”

Tiffany Zelmore led Mt. Pleasant with 10 points.

“We are really inexperienced,” Giacobbi said. “That showed a lot against a really good and aggressive team.”

Both teams dropped a classification this season: Greensburg Salem to Class 4A and Mt. Pleasant to Class 3A. Klimchock said he expects to have balanced scoring throughout the year. Nine Greensburg Salem players scored in the opener.

“Our size and length is pretty good this year,” he said. “We have to make that our focal point. It’s our size, our rebounding, our scoring inside, how long we are that we hope will make it difficult for teams to score.”

Klimchock praised Giacobbi, Mt. Pleasant’s veteran coach, saying “he works really hard” with his players.

“They are well-coached, and Zelmore is a 20-point scorer. We were prepared for them, and I was happy with how the kids executed the gameplan.”

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