Upsized roster boosts enthusiasm in Valley girls basketball program

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Monday, December 6, 2021 | 6:09 PM


There was an unfamiliar sight at a Valley High School girls practice last week — players.

After struggling with player turnout so often over the past few years, the Vikings had 14 girls on the floor practicing and 22 listed on the roster under new coach Marta Regus.

Regus has been teaching in the New Kensington-Arnold School District for 32 years and is familiar with the girls.

“Part of the reason why I’m here is that I am the assistant girls volleyball coach and the middle school head coach,” Regus said. “Someone came to me and asked me about becoming the girls basketball coach because of my rapport with girls. They thought I could get more people out. I have a big group, and we’re rolling from there.”

The Vikings finished last season 1-8 overall, 0-7 in Section 1-4A, with the only victory coming over Jeannette.

Valley hasn’t been to the WPIAL playoffs since losing to Thomas Jefferson in 2011 and hasn’t won a playoff game since defeating Keystone Oaks in 2002.

With so many new players out for the team, the immediate goal is teaching fundamentals.

Said Regus: “Some of the girls are experienced. We started off conditioning early and went all the way back to the basics. Now, we’re running our plays and we’re pretty smooth and knowledgeable about basketball.”

Jenale Cole, another teacher in the high school building, will serve as Regus’ top assistant. Volunteer coaches are Marvin Wright of Penn Hills and Destiny Battiste, who moved in from Louisiana recently.

Sharing point guard duties will be juniors Aelan Wyley and Tori Campbell, who welcomes the new teammates.

“Last year we only had five girls,” Campbell said. “We have a lot more support from my teammates. I have more than four people to pass the ball to.”

“I’m excited for the season,” Wyley said. “I’m glad we’ve got a lot more girls, even the ones who have never played basketball, and I’m excited about the girls who did come back to play basketball.”

Junior Jada Norman and sophomore Ryleigh Kasten will also see considerable action, and Regus is pleased with the progress of freshman Janelle Norman, Jada’s younger sister.

Regus will make her basketball coaching debut Friday in the Springdale Tip-off Tournament. Section 1-4A opponents for the Vikings will include Derry, Freeport, Burrell, Deer Lakes, Highlands and Knoch in a tough grouping. Valley opens section play Dec. 16 at Derry.

“We want to try and go far this season and make the playoffs,” Wyley said. “It’s a lot easier to know you’ve got a lot of people with you. I’m looking for a bigger group of fans and more supporters.”

Valley girls at a glance

Coach: Marta Regus

Last year’s record: 1-8 (0-7 in Section 1-4A)

Returning starters: Aelan Wyley (Jr. G), Tori Johnson (Jr G), Jada Norman (Jr. F)

Top newcomers: Ryleigh Kasten (So. F), Janelle Norman (Fr. F)

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