Westmoreland County girls basketball notebook: New coaches win debuts

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Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | 1:18 PM


It didn’t take long for new coaches to get their first win.

Four local first-year coaches won in their season debut last Friday in Christy Hajjar (Ligonier Valley), Bob Madison (Hempfield), Mackenzie Livingston (Latrobe) and Brian Znavor (Yough).

Hempfield, Yough and Latrobe doubled down with wins the following day to start 2-0.

Yough won the Deer Lakes tournament, and Latrobe took home the title at the River Valley tournament.

Former Jeannette coach Jonathan Bass also won his first game as coach at Frazier.

Jeannette getting along

With five players and a fearless approach, Jeannette girls basketball is plugging along.

After finishing a game last week against Northgate with only three players after two fouled out, the Jayhawks posted their first win Monday, 48-37, over Springdale.

Jeannette (1-2) was 2-22 last season with a larger roster.

Second-year coach Anna Leonard calls her team the “Fab 5.”

“What is happening at Jeannette is so much more than basketball,” she said. “We are breaking boundaries.”

Leonard said Northgate pressed her team in the fourth quarter, despite the 5-on-3 situation.

She said she needed to be more aware of fouls late in the game. Jeannette played the last 5 minutes, 30 seconds with three players.

“These are learning opportunities for all of us,” Leonard said. “Even for my book keeper. We will build from here.”

Pulling rank

Three area girls teams opened the season with spots in the TribLive top-five rankings.

Norwin is No. 2 in Class 6A, Greensburg Central Catholic is No. 2 in 2A and Monessen checks in at No. 3 in A.

He said it

“I’m so nervous, I might puke. I wasn’t this nervous for the 6A (football) championship.” — Hempfield first-year coach Bob Madison before his first game. He also is a football referee and officiated last year’s PIAA 6A title game in Mechanicsburg.

Layups

Greensburg Central Catholic won both of its games at the North Allegheny tournament, including an impressive 43-40 victory over Altoona, a perennial playoff team in 6A. … Penn-Trafford’s Lauren Marton had a double-double in the season opener, posting 13 points and 10 rebounds in a 47-35 win over Bethel Park. … An all-local matchup to watch Thursday is Hempfield (2-0) at Penn-Trafford (1-1).

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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