Mt. Pleasant boys need to overcome big loss of top scorer

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Thursday, November 24, 2022 | 11:01 AM


If the Mt. Pleasant boys basketball team wants to improve on its dismal 2021-22 season, it must do so without leading scorer Dante Giallonardo.

The junior forward who averaged 12 points per game will be sidelined this season with a knee injury sustained during football season.

And while the loss is a significant blow for the Vikings, coach T.J. Kravits feels the team can overcome it by playing together.

“I believe our overall depth will be one of our strengths,” Kravits said. “I usually like to get with a seven-man rotation, but this season will be nine or 10. That’s unusual for me.

“We’ve had very competitive practices. Everyone has to step up. Our defense will need to be solid if we want to improve on last season.”

The other starters returning are senior forward Brayden Caletri and junior point guard Luke Rivardo. Also expected to earn starting spots are junior guard Chase McCloy, senior guard Robbie Labuda and senior forward Matt Shrum.

Caletri averaged 7.5 points per game as a junior.

Others competing for playing time include senior guard Derek Donitzen, senior point guard Dylan Donitzen, junior guard Connor Pavlocak, senior guard Yukon Daniels, senior guard Lamont Rogers and junior forward Nolan Harnish.

Despite the 3-19 record, Kravits said the Vikings were in a lot of games. They just couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch to pull out wins.

“My biggest worry is where the offense will come from,” Kravits said. “I’m not sure what players will step up and fill the voids.”

One thing that should help the Vikings is dropping into a Class 3A section with Yough, Washington, Brownsville, Charleroi, McGuffey and Waynesburg.

“I expect Yough to be the favorite,” Kravits said. “I’m not sure what Washington returns, but we’re familiar with the other teams.”

Mt. Pleasant was in a Class 4A section with Belle Vernon, Uniontown, Elizabeth Forward, Yough, Southmoreland and South Park.

At a glance

Coach: T.J. Kravits

Last year’s record: 3-19 overall (1-11 Section 3-4A)

Returning starters: Dante Giallonardo (Jr., F), Brayden Caletri (Sr., G), Luke Rivardo (Jr., PG)

Newcomers: Chase McCloy (Jr., G), Derek Donitzen (Sr., G), Dylan Donitzen (Sr., PG), Connor Pavlocak (Jr., G), Yukon Daniels (Sr., G), Matt Shrum (Sr., F), Robbie Labuda (Sr., C), Lamont Rogers (Sr., G). Nolan Harnish (Jr., F)

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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