Westmoreland County Senior Spotlight: Yough’s Laney Gerdich

Monday, March 27, 2023 | 10:12 AM

Yough’s girls basketball team made the playoffs for the first time in 13 years this season.

The postseason didn’t end the way the team wanted, as the Cougars lost in the Class 3A preliminary round to Beaver Falls, but the feat of reaching the postseason was a major accomplishment for senior Laney Gerdich.

“It was such a wonderful experience,” Gerdich said. “We worked so hard this season, and I’m so proud of what the team accomplished.”

Laney is the daughter of coach Mike Gerdich, who finished up his sixth season with the team.

Mike, who played basketball at Saint Vincent, was known for his toughness.

Many people have compared the father and daughter to one another in their playing styles, and Laney couldn’t agree more.

“I think the biggest thing that makes us so similar is our physicality and rebounding,” Gerdich said. “I consider myself a true four or five like my dad was.”

Off the court, Gerdich has been recognized for her academics.

She is a Westmoreland County scholar-athlete nominee this year.

“School comes first for me, and I put a lot of work into it, just as I do basketball,” Gerdich said. “Without the grades, I wouldn’t get to have basketball.”

Gerdich is going to play basketball at Juniata while also pursuing a degree in early childhood education.

This week, Gerdich took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:

How did you get started with basketball?

I started basketball when I was in elementary school and participated in basketball camps. In fifth grade, I started playing organized basketball and in sixth grade, I started playing AAU.

What was the dynamic like with your dad as your coach?

On the court, my dad is my coach. Being his kid means he is 10 times harder on me than he is on everyone else. I prefer it this way because it makes me a stronger player. Off the court, he’s just my dad, but he still has high expectations of me for school and work too. Regardless of coach or dad, we still talk a bunch of basketball.

How did you try to be a leader as a senior?

The best part about this year is we had many leaders on the team, which is awesome and why I think we were so successful. For me personally, I just try to be a positive role model and lead by example on and off the court. I also like to be the hype person, encourage everyone and be there for whatever they need.

How did the recruiting process go?

I am grateful for this opportunity that coach (Danny Young-Ulrich and assistant coach Abigail Wemhoff) gave me to play at the next level. As for the process, it was a great experience. All the coaches and schools were very nice, and I really enjoyed the process.

What is one thing that people may not know about you?

I wear goggles whenever I play basketball. Many teams and student sections often refer to me as just “Goggles,” which I love because I think it’s really funny. My goggles aren’t actually prescription. They just protect my eyes and my contacts from getting knocked out. I get questions a lot about my goggles, but it has just become part of my b-ball look.


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