Pitt-Greensburg men’s basketball coach Klimchock excited about promising season

Sunday, November 20, 2022 | 1:09 PM

Chris Klimchock’s second season as head men’s basketball coach at Pitt-Greensburg is underway, and the Greensburg native is excited about the future.

Like every college basketball team, the ultimate goal is to reach the NCAA Tournament. In the Bobcats’ case, it would be the Division III Tournament.

Klimchock is a 2009 graduate of Greensburg Salem and played his college ball at Edinboro before finishing his playing career at Saint Vincent. He was an assistant coach at Penn State Behrend and Regis College. One of his assistant coaches is his dad, Rick, a longtime high school head coach at Jeannette and Franklin Regional who is now coaching the Greensburg Salem girls team.

Pitt-Greensburg (2-1) opened the season last week with a 79-65 victory against future Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Carlow.

But the Bobcats found tough going the following night when they battled Division I Robert Morris. The Colonials’ length and athleticism was too much to overcome as UPG fell 84-49.

“I was proud of the resilience we showed against Robert Morris,” Klimchock said. “We played with good defensive energy and cohesiveness.”

Despite the loss, Klimchock was pleased with the team’s performance, and he wouldn’t mind playing another Division I team in the future.

“That game will help us down the road,” Klimchock said. “Last year we started slow and steadily improved the rest of the season. We finished where I thought we’d be and made the conference tournament.”

Pitt-Greensburg finished 10-15 and lost to conference champion Medaille, 64-61, in the conference quarterfinals last season.

The Bobcats bounced back from the Robert Morris loss to rally for a 63-48 victory against Grove City on Saturday behind a 24-point performance by Jojo France.

France, a senior guard, averaged 18 points and was a second team all-conference player last season. Junior forward Reggie Priah averaged 13 points and seven rebounds per game and was a third-team all-conference player.

Those two, along with seniors Micah Jones and Jaylen Williams, will be counted on to provide leadership on and off the court.

“They have to show the way for the newcomers,” Klimchock said. “Right now, I like what I’m seeing. I’m looking for the similar improvement we got last year.”

Several Bobcats are former WPIAL players, including senior Tommy Arbuckle (Indiana), senior Connor Vehec (Steel Valley), junior guard Michael Gaffney (Hempfield), sophomore Tyler Watkins (Central Catholic) and freshmen Armend Karpuzi (Deer Lakes), Ryan Greggerson (Gateway), Ben Thomas (Greensburg Salem) and Matthew Marinchak (Ligonier Valley).

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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