Leechburg girls coach shares special bond with team as they build for future

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 | 5:16 PM

Leechburg girls basketball coach Andre Carter has a special bond with his team.

When he was named varsity coach in 2018, Carter also coached the junior high team. Now, he has a roster full of players he watched come up through the system.

“This year is my first year that all my girls will be on varsity with me,” Carter said. “So, I’ve had them the first two years, and this will be the third year I’ve actually been with them. I’m super excited that the whole crew there varsity-wise will have been there with me for three years.”

Carter considers himself an optimist, so with all of the young talent that he will have on the team, he’s excited about what this season and the future could hold.

A year ago, the Blue Devils went 2-16 overall and 0-10 in section play. They graduated their two seniors but also return three starters.

With no seniors, Carter will also have his full starting lineup back again next season, and he’s excited for what the future of the program holds because of the bond he already shares with his players.

“With these girls, being that I’ve had them for so long, I don’t really have to say anything because they are doing everything that I would be saying,” Carter said. “They are communicating, and they are doing all the little things that I’m excited about.”

When the Blue Devils hold their first practice, which is scheduled for Dec. 7, they’ll have no seniors, one junior, four sophomores and at least seven freshmen on the floor. Carter will look to some of his returning players to provide a lot of leadership for a young team.

Lone junior Maggie Hack and sophomores Christine Guo and Madeline Mastalerz will be leaders after starting last season, and Carter is hoping they can help guide the freshmen who are joining the team. Carter believes the incoming freshman class has a lot of talent, and he said freshman forward Olivia Vigna has a bright future ahead of her.

“Once she realizes her full potential, she’s going to be phenomenal,” Carter said. “In junior high, she probably scored 90-95% of our points. She can dribble, shoot, good defense, hand-eye coordination, everything like that. Once she figures out that she can’t be stopped, she won’t be stopped.”

In 2020, the Blue Devils will look to build a foundation for the future.

They have a good crop of talent and will add pieces along the way, but this season is a great opportunity for the Blue Devils to start something special.

“With them being so young, I told them recently that they have the habits that it takes a while to develop,” Carter said. “So, with them coming in as freshmen and sophomore on the varsity level, those habits are going to take us a long way.”

Leechburg girls at a glance

Coach: Andre Carter

Last year’s record: 2-16 (0-10 Section 3-1A)

Returning starters: Maggie Hack (Jr., G); Christine Guo (So., G0; Madeline Mastalerz (So., F)

Top newcomers: Olivia Vigna (Fr., F); Alyssa Foley (Fr., G); Cassidy Wright (Fr., G)

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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