Leechburg girls looking to prove people wrong

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019 | 3:40 PM


When Andre Carter took over the Leechburg girls basketball program last season, he was met with the challenge of replacing a full starting lineup that had produced the best stretch of success in Blue Devils history.

Because of that, some people told Carter the cupboard was bare and he wouldn’t have much to work with. But the Valley grad remained optimistic and in his first year at the helm, his young team that only had nine players believe they surprised people.

“We definitely proved some people wrong,” senior guard Maddie Ancosky said. “Especially with the numbers we had.”

They finished with an overall record of 7-13 and finished 4-6 in Section 3-A play. In his second year at the helm, Carter is looking to prove the doubters wrong for a second straight year.

“I am naïvely optimistic, but I do believe that we can be in the first or second spot in the section,” Carter said. “We have some good girls, some good talent and these girls, they work hard. I’m definitely looking forward to this year. I think they are definitely ready.”

The roster and its size will be slightly smaller, with a total of eight players who are mostly guards, but what the Blue Devils lack in size and numbers, they make up for in speed and conditioning.

“Fast break, fast break, fast break, run and gun,” Ancosky said of their style of play. “Size and numbers definitely aren’t our thing. But we have quickness and we’re conditioned because with the eight of us, we have to be because we don’t have a lot of fresh legs off the bench.”

Ancosky is one senior who will lead the way for the Blue Devils. She was one of the remaining players from the Leechburg team that reached the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals two years in a row.

This year, the lone returning senior starter will play an even bigger role with a young team that has five freshmen, a sophomore and just one other senior. While the team is young, Carter had the opportunity to have the younger players in the system last year.

“I had the freshman in eighth grade last year, so they’ve been in the system even though it wasn’t varsity,” Carter said. “They’ll have to adjust to the speed. but they at least know the system, how I coach and what I’m looking for and things like that.”

Leechburg will play in a section with Clairton, Aquinas Academy, Greensburg Central Catholic, Propel Andrew Street and St. Joseph. They finished fourth in section play last year behind GCC, Clairton and Aquinas, who had a combined section record of 24-6.

This year, Carter said he saw a preseason ranking that had his team predicted to finish fourth again, which is something his team will use as motivation.

“We’re gonna shock people,” Carter said. “I don’t believe that were a fourth-out-of-six team. So those naysayers and people that doubt us, we have that chip on our shoulder. We’re trying to prove everyone wrong.”

The journey to do so starts at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 when the Blue Devils host Geibel Catholic to kick off the season.

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

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