Penn-Trafford basketball teams look to build on 2020-21 success

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Monday, March 15, 2021 | 1:02 PM


Late-season shooting woes cost the Penn-Trafford girls basketball team a longer WPIAL playoff run.

Competing in Class 6A, the Warriors (10-7, 9-5) ended the season with a 46-43 loss to Baldwin in the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs. Penn-Trafford lost five of its final six games after starting 9-2.

“We got off to good start to the season,” coach John Giannikas said. “We knew the competition would be tough, and our defense kept us in a lot of games. But our shooting was inconsistent.”

Penn-Trafford split games with rival Norwin, but North Allegheny and Butler were just too strong and exposed the Warriors’ shooters.

The Warriors were led by seniors Allie Prady, the team’s top 3-point threat, Kenzie Powell, Brooke Cleland and Jada Czesnakowski.

Giannikas said they will be missed, but he’s encouraged about the future. He said the seniors provided good leadership.

The Warriors return freshman Olivia Pepple, junior Maura Suman and sophomore Lillian Palladino.

“Hopefully, we’ll have a normal summer, and we can work on their games,” Giannikas said. “The offseason is where you see the most improvement in your game. We’ll get them ready for next season.”

The boys won their first playoff game in 20 years when they defeated North Hills, 63-50. Their season came to end in the next round when Butler hit a buzzer-beater and won, 58-55.

“I felt bad for the boys,” coach Doug Kelly said. “We had a great game plan, but we just couldn’t score. We had good looks, but we couldn’t get shots to fall.”

Kelly was proud of his team, which finished 13-6 overall and 7-4 in Section 3-6A.

He lauded leadership from seniors Chase Vecchio, Josh Kapcin, Jarred Schoffstall, Silas Koscho, Tyler Campbell and Dylan Armstrong.

“They showed the underclassmen what it took to be good,” Kelly said. “The one area we saw the most improvement was on defense.

“We have some talented players coming up. They can score, but how well they play defense will be the key to our future success.”

Kelly will lean on Noah Wright, Nick Crum, Johnny DeMarchis, Ben Myers and Tommy Kalkstein to lead the team.

“We were fortunate that we could work with the team during the pandemic,” Kelly said. “We learned a lot about the young guys in the fall. Again, if we play defense, we’ll have a chance to win every game. That’s what we’ll be working on in the offseason again, defense.”

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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