Westmoreland girls basketball notebook: Greensburg Salem developing depth

Tuesday, December 14, 2021 | 4:41 PM

Greensburg Salem knows if it is going to compete with the top girls basketball teams in Section 4-5A, it can’t rely solely on the scoring of senior guard Abby Mankins and her sister, sophomore forward Kaitlyn Mankins.

Offense will take the team only so far. There has to be more beneath the surface of the Golden Lions’ rotation.

It looks like there is.

The team’s play on the defensive end has impressed coach Rick Klimchock during a 3-0 start.

“We did a lot of things well, but I really liked our depth and defensive quickness,” Klimchock said. “Our pressure was really good.”

The Golden Lions, who have not started 3-0 since 2008-09, forced 27 turnovers in a 50-16 win over Ligonier Valley; 26 when they dumped Greensburg Central Catholic, 48-30, to win the Greensburg Salem tip-off tournament; and 22 more in a 45-31 win over Connellsville.

Abby Mankins, a Seton Hill commit, is within striking distance of the 1,000-point milestone. She scored 21 in the win over GCC and 23 against Connellsville and needs eight to get to the career mark.

Kait Mankins scored in double figures in the first two games and continues to develop as a varsity player.

“We need continued contributions from everyone,” Klimchock said.

The Golden Lions will be taking their defensive prowess out of state for a rare pre-Christmas tournament. Like their opponents’ scoring average, the team will head south.

They will play three games at the KSA Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla. on Dec. 16, 18 and 19 against South Park, Preston, W.Va., and Mazie, Okla., before returning home to play McKeesport in the section opener Dec. 23.

Klimchock has been busy. In between practices and games he is helping his son, Chris, coach the Pitt-Greensburg men’s basketball team.

Early loss for Latrobe

Latrobe is a WPIAL title contender in Class 5A with most of its lineup back from a runner-up team. But the Wildcats already have a blemish on their record.

They dropped their second game to Indiana, a team that can rival their size, 53-50.

Reason to panic? Not quite. Reason to get motivated? Yes.

Indiana is a very good team,” Latrobe coach Mark Burkhardt said. “We didn’t take care of the ball in the fourth quarter. I hope we get to see them again in the playoffs.”

Section play

It is less than a week into the season, and some teams already are jumping into their section schedules.

Some notable local openers Thursday include Penn-Trafford at Seneca Valley (Section 1-6A), Bethel Park at Hempfield (2-6A), Latrobe at Woodland Hills (4-5A), and Mt. Pleasant at Belle Vernon (3-4A).

Preseason rankings

A number of local teams opened the season with spots in the TribHSSN rankings.

Norwin was No. 4 in Class 6A, Latrobe No. 2 in 5A, Southmoreland No. 1 in 4A, and Greensburg Central Catholic No. 5 in 2A.

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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