Westmoreland County girls basketball notebook: Tiffany Zelmore, Mt. Pleasant teammates thriving

Wednesday, January 4, 2023 | 9:01 AM

WPIAL scoring leader Tiffany Zelmore continues to put up impressive numbers. But don’t label Mt. Pleasant a one-girl team.

How can it be?

The Vikings are 9-2 overall and 1-0 in Section 3-3A.

“It’d be easy to say on paper that we’re one-dimensional,” coach Scott Giacobbi said. “That would be inaccurate. Different players contribute in many different ways to enable our play. Assists equal the hoops that they generate on our team.”

Still, Zelmore has 333 of her team’s 558 points — 59.7% of the scoring. That is impressive.

Zelmore, a 5-foot-10 senior forward, leads the WPIAL with a 30.1-point average and is coming off a career-high 41 points in a win over Burrell.

In her last seven games, she has scored 41, 37, 36, 26, 31, 35, and 38.

She has 1,299 career points.

“Tiffany has certainly elevated her game,” Giacobbi said. “She’s such a dynamic scorer in all facets of the game, and that’s why she’s difficult to defend. For the most part, attempts to limit her in one way have opened up other aspects of her game.”

Junior point guard Riley Gesinski, one of the top soccer players in the area, is a key facilitator.

“She’s quick, decisive and dangerous with the ball,” Giacobbi said. “Our young sophomores (Nina Province and Kayla Rumbaugh) and younger first-year players (freshmen Grace Arrigo, Morgan Gesinski and Carmella Spallone) play many contributory roles for us. Their early efforts have built the strengths of their individual games while complementing our collective game.”

Seniors Marissa Garn and Carly Smith are pillars of veteran leadership, along with Zelmore.

Even with teams “junking” Zelmore with double teams and help defense, trying to make the Vikings one-dimensional, Mt. Pleasant has won a number of tight games.

“Many of these games have come down to overtime or the last few minutes of the contests,” Giacobbi said. “We’ve learned how to fight through adversity and finish games, and we’re looking forward to what is shaping up to be challenging section play.”

Test for GS

Greensburg Salem is ranked No. 4 in Class 4A and riding an eight-game winning streak.

The Golden Lions (9-1) will take that momentum into one of their toughest tests of the season Thursday night when they host No. 2 North Catholic (7-3) in a Section 1 matchup.

North Catholic, the defending WPIAL 3A champion, features standout senior guard Alayna Rocco, a Trafford resident whose brother (Zach) and father (Jim) played and coached at Penn-Trafford.

Jim Rocco is the boys basketball coach at North Catholic.

Alayna Rocco is a Harvard commit.

Another key player for North Catholic is senior guard Dacia Lewandowski, an Akron commit. But she is questionable for the game with an injury she suffered against Seneca Valley on Dec. 22. She did not play when the Trojans lost to Norwin on Dec. 29.

Greensburg Salem is allowing 26 points per game, the second-lowest average in the WPIAL.

2 vs. 3

Another showdown of top-five teams will take place Thursday night when Class 2A No. 2 Greensburg Central Catholic (9-2) hosts No. 3 Serra Catholic (5-0). The Section 3 game features two of the better defensive teams so far. Serra allows 23 points a game, GCC 34.

More to watch

Thursday’s schedule has some other notable section matchups.

In Section 1-6A, No. 1 Norwin visits Butler and Seneca Valley heads to Hempfield.

Other games to watch include Kiski Area at Franklin Regional (1-5A), Knoch at Derry (1-4A), Mt. Pleasant at Deer Lakes (3-3A) and Yough at Charleroi (4-3A).

State ranks

A pair of county teams broke into the TribLive HSSN state rankings.

Norwin checks in at No. 4 in Class 6A, and Greensburg Central Catholic has the same spot in 2A.

McCoy to Grove City

Hempfield senior Brooke McCoy announced she will continue her playing career at Grove City.

McCoy is the Spartans’ top scorer this season and had the same distinction last year.

She also considered Pitt-Greensburg, another Division III program that plays in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference.

One of a kind

Lauren Marton tied her career high Tuesday with 19 points for Penn-Trafford in a 68-48 victory over Thomas Jefferson. Marton, a 5-foot-11 forward, did something she hadn’t done all season. She made a 3-pointer.

Talk about a rarity: Not only was it her first 3-point shot of the season, it was the first attempt of her career.

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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