Southmoreland boys basketball team shows signs of growth

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Sunday, December 5, 2021 | 5:05 PM


Southmoreland mixed and matched its starting five last season as coach Frank Muccino and his staff sought to develop a baby-faced group.

Starting wasn’t about prestige, it was about reps.

“Plug and play,” said Muccino, who begins his 13th season with the Scotties. “We had a lot of guys playing JV and varsity. We have a lot of guys back who played a ton of minutes.”

Southmoreland didn’t win a section game in its jump to Class 4A and only averaged 37.9 points. It lost to Derry, 64-39, in the first round of an open WPIAL playoff tournament.

“You have teams that might have one freshman seeing varsity time,” Muccino said. “We had three or four of them who lettered. Out of our top seven or eight, six were freshmen.”

With a year under their belts — two or even three for others — players know what to expect from the nightly grind of a season.

“Physically and mentally, we need to be ready for the challenge,” Muccino said. “The guys have been working. The physicality has to be there for us to compete.”

Sophomore Ty Keffer, a 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 12 points as a freshman. He likely will be the go-to scorer again, but he could have help.

“Ty had a great offseason after a good freshman year,” Muccino said.

“He has the work ethic, and he wants to be good. He is a perfectionist.”

Senior guard Isaac Trout returns as a fourth-year starter and figures to be the glue that holds the team together.

“Isaac knows what I want from our guys and how I want us to play,” Muccino said. “We’ll look to get more scoring input from him.”

Trout said the underclassmen are meshing with the older ones.

“All the young guys put in so much work over the offseason and improved a lot,” Trout said. “I think we can have a pretty successful season this year.”

Other returnees who started at one point or another are sophomore guards Ronnie Collins and Wyatt Richter, 6-3 junior forward Nick Dzambo and junior guard Kelvin Lin.

A variable is 6-6 senior forward Luke Brandner, a transfer from Connellsville. He did not play last year after transferring from Mt. Pleasant.

When he played at Mt. Pleasant two years ago, he showed post skills and athleticism, finishing breaks with dunks and blocking shots.

“We’ll see what he can do for us,” Muccino said. “Right now, he is a work in progress.”

Southmoreland boys at a glance

Coach: Frank Muccino

Last year’s record: 2-17 (0-11 Section 3-4A)

Returning starters: Ronnie Collins (So., G), Nick Dzambo (Jr., F), Ty Keffer (So., G), Kelvin Lin (Jr., G), Wyatt Richter (So., G), Isaac Trout (Sr., G)

Top newcomers: Luke Brandner (Sr., F), Elijah Myers (Jr., G)

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

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