Shaler boys basketball team hoping balance leads to successful season
Sunday, November 26, 2017 | 11:20 PM
Putting together a poster for the Shaler boys basketball team would be done best by placing every guy on the roster somewhere in the image.
Picking a standout player isn't something third-year coach Rob Niederberger could do easily. Games during the summer leagues didn't bring much separation, either.
“We're balanced, and a different player every night stands out,” Niederberger said. “During the summer, one guy would have a great night, then the next week, we'd be playing a game and he might not even finish the game. He'd be on the bench. I like this kind of team.”
Being able to have multiple players will be a must if Shaler is to improve after a 3-19 season that included an 0-12 mark in Section 1-6A. Collecting wins and chasing a playoff bid will require navigating a section filled with heavyweights.
Pine-Richland was the PIAA runner-up last season and beat section foe Butler to win the WPIAL crown. North Hills reached the district semifinals and lost to Allderdice in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
“We're going to compete,” Niederberger said. “We did last year, too. We didn't win many of our games. I think we're going to try and take a playoff spot. Our section is brutal as everyone knows. There are all kind of athletes in there and plenty of good teams. We can play with any of them. We're looking to take a bite off the top.”
The Titans graduated leading scorer Tanner Reinheimer but return three starters: senior forward Kiki Agbale, who was an honorable mention all-section selection, and senior guards Kevin McHale and Jesse Tavella.
Sophomore Mekhi Reynolds, who saw a lot of playing time at the end of the season, also will play a key role in the rotation.
Niederberger expects to have an offense with a lot of different contributors.
“We share the ball well,” he said. “We play as a team. There's no ‘me.' It's all ‘we.' ”
Shaler hopes that attitude will translate into major improvement, enough to get the Titans back to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
“I think these guys don't care who gets the credit as long as we get the results we want,” Niederberger said. “There's no selfish thinking. There's a bunch of guys who want to win and will do what it takes to win.”
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.
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