Will Saunders steps down as Kiski Area boys basketball coach

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 | 4:28 PM

After a year in which the Cavaliers went 5-15 and lost in the preliminary round of the WPIAL Class 5A boys basketball playoffs, Kiski Area coach Will Saunders is resigning from his position.

During his three-year stint, Saunders’ record was 18-46 with one playoff appearance, which came this season thanks to the open playoff format.

Saunders said he wanted to take next season off from coaching to support his son, Aden, during his senior season of high school basketball at Montour.

“I want to support and watch him play,” Saunders said. “He has always supported me coaching, and now it’s time to support him.”

Saunders has coached boys and girls basketball and has made stops at Shady Side Academy, South Park, North Allegheny and Montour. He has won three WPIAL championships and a PIAA title.

Although he is planning to sit in the stands next season for his son’s games, Saunders didn’t count out returning to the sidelines in the future.

“Maybe after a year or two off,” Saunders said. “I still have the enthusiasm and energy to coach. I just want to support my son next season.”

Saunders said Aden will earn the first playoff start of his career Thursday when No. 3 Montour takes on No. 19 Beaver in the first round of the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs.

Last season, when the Cavaliers beat Burrell, 58-49, on Jan. 25, Saunders earned the 300th win of his coaching career. They finished 9-13, and he was starting to see improvement after the Cavaliers had won a total of five games in the previous two seasons.

But heading into this season, Saunders lost four players who had started the previous season: 6-foot-7 center Jason Baker and guards Kyrell Hutcherson and Joe Lukas transferred, and guard Kenny Blake sat out. The Cavaliers earned wins over Woodland Hills (twice), Ligonier Valley, Valley and Leechburg.

The Cavaliers had only one senior this season and will return a majority of their players next year, including their leading scorer, junior Calvin Heinle (15.3 ppg), along with freshman Isaiah Gonzalez, who came on toward the end of the season and scored 20 points in Kiski’s playoff loss to Trinity.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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