Ligonier Valley boys to lean on Sierocky and Pleskovich

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022 | 5:25 PM


It could be an interesting season for the Ligonier Valley boys basketball program.

The Rams were hit hard by graduation and return only two starters from a team that finished 8-4 in Section 3-3A and 12-11 overall. The Rams lost to Avonworth in the first round of the playoffs.

But Gustin said he’s excited to see how senior forwards Haden Sierocky and James Pleskovich do leading a young and experienced group.

Sierocky was a star football player for the Rams, and Gustin said his leadership qualities are off the chart.

“He’s always helping out the other players,” Gustin said. “He does anything you ask. I expect Haden and James to have big seasons. James is very athletic and should be a force inside.”

While Sierocky and Pleskovich, who stands 6-foot-4, will handle the inside, Gustin said finding players to fill roles will be the key. Pleskovich had some big games late in the season, and Sierocky averaged nine points and nine rebounds.

The coach expects sophomore Parker Hollick and Chet Dillaman to be starters, and the last starting spot will be a battle between Mark and John Jablunovsky, Brian Wisniewski and Nathan Smith.

“We’ll see who plays better in the scrimmages,” Gustin said. “The competition will give us a deeper bench.”

Ligonier Valley graduated eight seniors, including four-year starter Matt Marinchak, who is the starting point guard at Pitt-Greensburg.

Replacing Marinchak will be hard, but Gustin said it needs to be a team effort.

“I just want to see us improve throughout the season,” Gustin said. “Everyone needs to contribute.

“We’re in a new section. The only holdovers are Shady Side Academy, Apollo-Ridge and Valley. I’m excited to see how we fare.”

The new teams in the section are Burrell, Derry and Deer Lakes.

“We have a bunch guys who are going to get a chance,” Gustin said. “It excites me to watch young players grow. I think we can be decent, but it will take some time.”

Ligonier Valley opens the season against Derry in the United tournament. It will be the first of three meetings against the Trojans.

At a glance

Coach: Tim Gustin

Last season’s record: 8-4 (section 3-3A), 12-11

Returning starters: Haden Sierocky (Sr., F), James Pleskovich (Sr., F).

Newcomers: Parker Hollick (So., F), Chet Dillaman (Jr., G), John Jablunovsky (So., G), Mark Jablunovsky (So., G), Nathan Smith (So. G), Brian Wisniewski (So., G).

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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