North Hills boys basketball begins task of replacing core

Friday, November 24, 2017 | 11:00 PM

It can be argued that no team in the WPIAL suffered a more significant lost at the end of the season last year than the North Hills boys basketball team.

After the Indians' 85-61 defeat to Allderdice in the first round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs, it was time to move on from the senior class that consisted of Nick Smith, Luke Chutko and Andrew Paulauskas.

Smith will be the hardest to replace as he exited North Hills as the all-time leading scorer. Chutko was a three-year starter, and Paulauskas was a two-year starter in the post for the Indians.

“It will be a different way of playing,” coach Buzz Gabos said. “More than the numbers, it is how many seniors we lost. We lost about eight seniors, with a number of players who have never played in a varsity game. It will be a little bit different. A lot of new faces and some inexperienced players.”

Entering the 2017-18 season, the Indians only have three guys who played quality minutes on a team that went 19-7 last year and finished second in Section 1.

North Hills will expect a lot from seniors Kamron Taylor, Garret Barto and Alex Glatz.

Taylor was a starter the last two years and will come into this season with the most experience on the team. Barto started last year, and Glatz started a number of games last year when Paulauskas was out with an injury.

Although they were relied on to be prolific scorers in the past, Taylor, Barto and Glatz also can pass on their experience.

“If nothing else, they understand what it takes,” Gabos said. “You need some guys that return know what it is like to play those tough section battles. You like that experience factor. You hope some of the other guys buy into it.”

North Hills starts the season with injury concerns. Senior Alex Brown and junior Jordan Albright look to be out until about when section play starts. One newcomer Gabos is looking to is junior Daniel Ritchey.

The Indians will have their first shot to test out their new-look team when they host Bethel Park on Dec. 8 in the North Hills Tip-Off Tournament.

“I've always enjoyed our tip-off tournament,” Gabos said. “It is always nice to open up home. I think Allderdice is the best team in the city, and Bethel Park and Hampton should be playoff teams. There will be quality games. I know we will get a good task right away.”

Drew Karpen is a freelance writer.


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