Off to good start, Penn-Trafford girls basketball in middle of tough stretch of schedule

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Sunday, January 17, 2021 | 9:01 AM


When Penn-Trafford girls basketball coach John Giannikas talked about his team prior to the start of season Dec. 9, he felt confident his squad could compete in Section 1-6A.

And despite being shut down by Gov. Tom Wolf for a month, Giannikas was pleased with how the team returned from the long, unexpected break.

Penn-Trafford went 2-0 in the section and 3-0 overall. The Warriors defeated Pine-Richland, 53-42, on the road and then dumped North Hills, 55-27, at home. They opened the season Dec. 9 with a 49-21 victory over Sto-Rox.

Penn-Trafford jumped up a classification. It competed in Class 5A the last few seasons.

Now, the Warriors are in the middle of a string of tough games: at Shaler (Jan. 14), Norwin (Jan. 18), at Seneca Valley (Jan. 21) and North Allegheny (Jan. 25).

“I was pleased how they came back from the break,” Giannikas said. “They were in decent shape, which helped. The biggest thing is getting back in rhythm with each other.

“There were times in the first games back that they were, and other times they weren’t. We’re getting back into it.”

Giannikas said winning on the road was big for a lot of the players. He felt after a slow start, the team shot the ball well in the second half at Pine-Richland.

“It was an up-tempo style,” Giannikas said. “It was first time for a lot of the players to play that style. Everyone has helped out and played their roles. A lot of them grew up that game.”

Giannikas said Allie Prady has shot the ball extremely well, Maura Suman’s all-around game has improved, Mackenzie Powell has played well at multiple positions, and freshman Olivia Pepple has made contributions along with Lillian Palladino and Kylee Piconi.

“Everyone is doing their jobs,” Giannikas said. “Brooke (Cleland) and Jada (Czesnakowski) have done a good job on the boards. We can be and we’ll have to play a lot better.”

Prady averaged 12 points per game last season, Suman 11.5 and Powell 11.

Penn-Trafford was scheduled to play two of the top teams in Class 6A within a week — Norwin and North Allegheny.

“We’ll find out a lot about the team,” he said. “Norwin and North Allegheny are two high-profile programs. It will be a tough challenge, but we’re excited about it.”

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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