Inexperienced North Hills boys roster turns to speed, tenacity to compete

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Friday, November 29, 2019 | 12:01 AM


The North Hills boys basketball team will lean on its up-tempo style of play to overcome a lack of size and experience.

The Indians, who went 6-16 overall and 1-9 in Section 1-6A last season, will feature two seniors and four sophomores in their starting lineup this season.

Senior Logan Marshalek and sophomore Alex Smith return to the starting lineup, while senior Christian Heinl and sophomores Matt Seidl and Devin Burgess round out the starting five.

“We had a lot seniors last year, but we played a lot of different guys,” coach Buzz Gabos said. “The role has expanded for some guys who played varsity and it’s a new opportunity for some guys that were on the JV last year.

“We really have good chemistry and camaraderie. They play really well together and like one another. They understand how to play together.”

The Indians’ bench will feature four juniors — Michael Topich, Ethan Chmura, Nate Belack and Anthony McCall — and two sophomores — Will Blass and Jayden Smith.

Gabos will look to see how the Indians respond with their lack of size and experience when they go against the top competition in Class 6A, especially in their own section with Butler and Pine-Richland.

“At the 6A level, when you’re going to be as young as we are, there are going to be nights where we are going to take our lumps,” Gabos said. “Physically, we aren’t as big and we aren’t as strong. I expect us to be more than competitive.

“When you’re young and you got some talent, as the season goes on, you usually see some improvement. We’ve already seen that with how far these kids have come in the last six weeks in the open gym and practice.”

The Indians will feature a balanced offensive attack where a big night could come from anyone. However, North Hills will need to lean on its up-tempo play to create opportunities to score in transition.

“We’re going to be up-tempo with everything,” Gabos said. “It will be a situation where we are going to have to jump on the floor, play fast, play hard to take away from some of the things that we don’t have. We got some guys that can run, and we have some guys that have pretty good guard skills. We’re not stuck with one primary ball handler.”

If the Indians want to have a successful season, Gabos understands his inexperienced team will need to learn how to win close games and win ugly games.

“From our 10 guys that are going to play, they’re very committed,” Gabos said. “It has been nice to know if there was an open gym, the guys were there. The guys have bought in and it’s a tight-knit group.

“They all know their place, and they know where they fit and what their role is. They are doing a really good job of policing themselves. Hopefully, the results show up in December, January and February because I feel like we’ve put in a lot of time.”

North Hills will start its season at home against Bethel Park at 8 p.m. Dec. 6 as part of the North Hills tournament.

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