Returning starters, influx of talent make Monessen boys contenders in Class A

Thursday, November 24, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Becoming a better basketball player wasn’t going to be accomplished by doing the same old things. Jaisen Blackman, a senior at Monessen, decided he was going to find an outlet to help improve.

By playing in a league in the Mon Valley, Blackman gave himself a boost.

“It was my first experience playing in the summer,” Blackman said. “Honestly, the most important thing was it gave me confidence. I was grateful they let me compete, and it gave me the confidence to do things I hadn’t done.”

The Greyhounds will be looking to have collective confidence as they drop down to Class A this season. Monessen reached the WPIAL quarterfinals in Class 2A last season.

This season, the Greyhounds were placed in Section 2-A along with California, Geibel, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown and West Greene.

“It’s a big challenge,” Greyhounds coach Dan Bosnic said. “There are a lot of good teams in Single-A. We will have a tough test from Geibel in our section, but Union returns a lot of players and Imani Christian is also tough with all the athletes they are getting in their school.”

Monessen will return three starters from last season in Lorenzo Gardner, Timothy Kershaw and Devontae Robinson. Daryl Ray also saw varsity experience and could find ways to contribute this season.

For Monessen to win, the Greyhounds will need to do things the right way.

“We want to hype each other up and focus on the small things,” Blackman said. “We want to screen and cut the right way and play good defense.”

In addition, the Greyhounds will have a number of other players battling for positions.

Monessen will benefit from having a strong freshmen class that includes guard TyVaughn Kershaw and Will Farrow, along with forwards Rodney Johnson and Daevon Burke.

Senior guard Dante DeFelice likes what the Greyhounds have to offer.

“I think our defense is good,” DeFelice said. “We like to do the 1-2-2. A good point of ours is that we like to trap and steal the ball.”

However things come together for Monessen, the Greyhounds will have a clear path to finding success. What Monessen will need to do is find a way to get everyone into their roles quickly.

“We want to share the ball and be disruptive on defense,” Bosnic said. “If we do those things, be unselfish and play for each other, we’ll do well.”

At a glance

Coach: Dan Bosnic

Last year’s record: 19-5 overall (10-0 Section 4-2A)

Returning starters: Lorenzo Gardner (Jr., guard), Timothy Kershaw (Jr., guard), Devontae Robinson (Jr., guard)

Top newcomers: Tyvaughn Kershaw (Fr., guard), Will Farrow (Fr., forward), Rodney Johnson (Fr., forward), Daevon Burke (Jr., guard)


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