Westmoreland girls basketball notebook: Belle Vernon boasts deep rotation

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Wednesday, December 22, 2021 | 9:31 PM


When it started three different lineups in its first four games, it was evident Belle Vernon’s girls basketball team had depth.

With a bench that stretches eight to 10 deep, the Leopards (3-1) have a fresh set of guards ready to take the floor in a constant flow.

The rotation is a byproduct of talent, practice effort and the style in which the Leopards play the game: fast and physical.

“If our girls play hard like we want them to, they should be tired,” coach Kaitlyn Slagus said. “We want them to play their heart out until the next girl comes in.”

When Belle Vernon beat Mt. Pleasant, 54-44, in the Section 3-4A opener last Thursday, eight girls found the scoring column.

Junior guard Viva Kreis and sophomore Kenzi Seliga came off the bench to combine for 16 points. Seliga had nine and Kreis, seven.

“Our girls can play so much better than we showed tonight,” Slagus said. “We’re trying to get the right mix together to see what works best. It’s nice to have that depth.”

Mankins hits 1,000

Senior guard Abby Mankins joined the 1,000-point club at Greensburg Salem, reaching the career milestone during the surging Golden Lions’ trip to the KSA Tournament in Florida.

Needing eight points, she had 15 in a 48-34 win over South Park.

Mankins, a Seton Hill commit who earned all-tournament honors during the road trip, joins other 1,000-plus scorers Danielle Dawson, Megan Kallock, Jessica Greene, Claire Oberdorf, Laura Klimchock, Sandy Tucci, Anne Maria Oleski, Rachel Roddy and Mary Cook.

Golden Lions 6-0

With a 6-0 record, Greensburg Salem is off to its best start since 2006-07, when that team opened 12-0 en route to the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA second round (23-6).

This year’s Golden Lions was tied for the best record into the WPIAL heading into Wednesday. They are set to visit Gateway in the Section 4-5A opener Jan. 3. They play Charleroi and Mt. Pleasant at the Mt. Pleasant holiday tournament next week.

Goodies at Latrobe tournament

Latrobe will host the Holiday Hoops Fest on Dec. 29-30 at the school’s man and auxiliary gyms.

Teams in the field include Latrobe, Chartiers Valley, Indiana, Uniontown, Brashear, McLean (Va.), and South Park.

Chartiers Valley beat Latrobe in the WPIAL Class 5A semifinal last year. The teams will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 30.

McLean is coached by former Latrobe star Jen Sobota, who is the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,093 points. She played from 1995-99.

Ranking ‘em

The season is picking up momentum and so are the rankings.

Although local teams did not move much in the TribLive HSSN top 5s.

Norwin remained No. 4 in Class 6A at the start of the week, while Southmoreland still held the No. 1 spot in 4A, Greensburg Central Catholic was No. 5 in 2A and Monessen No. 5 in Class A.

Latrobe dropped out of the top 5 in 5A after opening the season at No. 2.

Layup lines

Former Jeannette girls coach Jonathan Bass is an assistant at Albert Gallatin. … Greensburg Salem is allowing the fewest points among Westmoreland County girls teams, with a 25.8 average. … Forty-three WPIAL teams have yet to start section play. That includes all of Class A and most of 2A.

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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