Leechburg girls working toward improvement this season

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 | 1:25 PM

The West Leechburg steel mill is long gone, but fourth-year girls basketball coach Andre Carter has his team clocking in and clocking out.

Carter has each girl sign in when she arrives at practice and sign out when she leaves.

“When you talk about doing things outside of basketball, we have the quote of the day,” Carter said. “I have them sign in and sign out. I want to to know who comes into practice early and who stays late. That helps me out as to who’s putting in the work, who wants to get better and who wants to help out the team.”

There are 10 girls out for the team this year. Olivia Vigna, the team’s tallest player, is out with an injury. A handful of others have been in and out of covid quarantine.

The bottom line is that all 10 players have yet to practice on the floor at the same time.

“We can have two teams of five since the first time I’ve been here,” Carter said. “I want them to compete against each other.”

Six players were working out earlier this week, but Carter expects all 10 to be in uniform at 3 p.m. Dec. 10 when the Blue Devils open the season in their home tip-off tournament against West Shamokin.

Other teams there will be Nazareth Prep and River Valley, the new merger of Saltsburg and Blairsville high schools.

There is one senior on the team — Maggie Hack.

“Maggie‘s going to be a major leader,” Carter said. “Christine Guo and Maddie Mastalerz will be our captains. Since these girls have had me, they know the system.”

Sophomore forward Alyssa Foley is expected to be a solid contributor, along with Calllie Ancosky, Hannah Henry, and the Richard twins — sophomores Ava and Grace — are expected to see action.

A newcomer to the lineup is freshman point guard Jade Schuffert.

“I’ve played with a few of the teammates in eighth grade, so I figure we can play well,” Schuffert said. “I feel communication is important, and we have a good bond since we know each other.”

Schuffert played the point in the earlier grades.

“I want to work on my shooting a lot and seeing who’s open around the court,” she said. “l’m very ready for the season.”

Assisting Carter this season will be Raevann Mottley, who also handles the fall junior high program.

Leechburg finished 3-9 last season overall, and 2-5 in Section 3-A against the likes of Propel Andrew Street, Aquinas Academy, Clairton, Riverview and St. Joseph.

Leechburg girls at a glance

Coach: Andre Carter

Last year’s record: 3-9 (2-5 in Section 3-A)

Returning starters: Maggie Hack (Sr., G/F), Maddie Mastalerz (Jr., C), Olivia Vigna (So., F)

Top newcomers: Jade Schuffert (Fr., G), Christine Guo (Jr., G)


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