Standout sophomores have Yough boys basketball team ready to compete

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Monday, December 6, 2021 | 6:33 PM


It’s hard for Yough boys basketball coach Jim Nesser to hold back his excitement for the upcoming season.

But the veteran coach, while not predicting a section title, feels his young Cougars are ready to take a giant step forward after struggling in 2020-21 and finishing 3-13 overall and 0-6 in Section 3-4A.

Yough opens the season Friday in the Marion Center Tournament. The Cougars open section play Dec. 17 at Uniontown.

So why is Nesser so excited? It’s simple; the Cougars return three starters in senior guard Christian Park and sophomores guard Terek Crosby and center Austin Matthews and a couple key reserves in sophomore Zander Aird, junior Parker Rost and senior Kaden Bizzozero. Junior transfer Tyler Travillion will also be in the mix.

“We’re starting three sophomores,” Nesser said. “We have to learn how to win. We have athletic ability.

“We’ll see how long the process takes. They put in the work in the offseason.”

Crosby, a 6-foot-2 guard, and Matthews, a 6-5 center, started as freshman. Crosby averaged 16 points per game and Matthews six points and eight rebounds per game.

Nesser said he expects both are capable of performing at a higher level, which means the team is capable of being competitive for a playoff berth in the section.

He said Belle Vernon will be the favorite, but his team should contend with Uniontown, Elizabeth Forward, Southmoreland, Mt. Pleasant and South Park.

Nesser added: “Uniontown is Uniontown. Elizabeth Forward is good. South Park is talented. You can put us in the mix.

“We played well all summer. They attended team camps and worked on different skills.”

And Nesser said he has a good mix of players, just not Crosby and Matthews.

“We have players who can shoot the ball and we’re athletic,” Nesser said. “I feel we’ll have better depth. I feel good about the season. We should be competitive.”

Nesser said Crosby and Matthews have worked hard on their games. Matthews is currently slowed by a hand injury, but Nesser expects him to be back soon.

“They put in some time in the gym.” Nesser said. “They’re a lot stronger. They worked on their skills.

“Austin had a nice freshman season and has improved his game. Terek has fine-tuned his game and will be a leader. We just have to come together as a team. I expect us to improve the entire season.”

No wonder Nesser is so excited about his team.

Yough boys at a glance

Coach: Jim Nesser

Last year’s record: 3-13 (0-6 Section 3-4A)

Returning starters: Terek Crosby (So., G), Austin Matthews (So., C), Christian Park (Sr., G)

Top newcomers: Zander Aird (So., G), Parker Rost (Jr., G/F), Kaden Bizzozero (Sr., F), Tyler Travillion (Jr., G)

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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