Rebuilding ahead after breakthrough season for Franklin Regional girls

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019 | 7:49 PM


Franklin Regional made a rare appearance in the WPIAL Class 5A girls basketball quarterfinals last season with a senior-heavy team.

How quickly graduation can change things.

Second-year coach Anthony Kobus went from having a veteran group to directing a fledgling lineup that lacks varsity experience.

In most cases, new coaches start out with youth and build to established experience.

“I’m going backwards,” he said with a smile. “I want to build a program. We might take our lumps, and it might take some time, but I want to get to the point where we can reload. Hopefully the girls took something from the girls who played in the quarterfinals.”

That group, which finished 17-7 before falling to Penn Hills, featured guard Cali Konek and forward Jordan Yaniga, both of whom moved on to college basketball — at Charlotte and Point Park.

The Panthers not only doubled their wins from the previous season but also flirted with their first semifinal trip since 1979.

Achieving that caliber of success is a lot to ask of this year’s team, but the Panthers could contend for another playoff berth.

A few key returners are senior Noelle Boyd and juniors Maria Brush and Angel Kelly.

“Noelle played a lot and Maria and Angel came off the bench last year,” Kobus said. “We lost five seniors, five starters. With only one senior coming back, it’s a rebuilding process.”

Defense could be what kick-starts the offense for the young and somewhat undersized Panthers.

“We won’t play the same way we did last year,” Kobus said. “We won’t walk the ball up the floor.”

One senior, four juniors, three sophomores and 10 freshmen comprise the roster.

Other key players will be sophomore guards Sydney Lindeman and Sydney Breitkreutz and junior forward Kathryn Nardo.

“We’ll have to see how it all comes together and see how it goes,” Kobus said. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, but the key is to keep building.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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