With 5 starters returning, Greensburg Central Catholic girls in position to contend

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Thursday, November 25, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Chris Skatell is a practicing attorney.

The new Greensburg Central Catholic girls basketball coach hopes his defense doesn’t rest.

“We want to mix it up on defense and never give teams the same look,” said Skatell, a former assistant under recent coaches Sam Salih and Joe Eisaman. “If you play good defense, good things can happen on offense.”

GCC, which finished 9-5 last season and lost to Sewickley Academy, 38-21, in the WPIAL quarterfinals, returns five starters from a team that allowed just 30.9 points per game.

The returnees are seniors Bailey Kuhns, Meghan Zambruno, Maddie Pisula, Emma Riley and Laura Kondas.

Sophomore Mya Morgan also played a significant role and will do so again this season.

Kuhns, a Mercyhurst recruit, averaged 17 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. Her presence on both ends of the floor will be pivotal to the team’s success.

“We think Bailey can be one of the top forwards in the WPIAL,” Skatell said.

Kuhns is anxious to take on an authoritative role for the Centurions.

“Last year, we didn’t have any seniors so it was like, who is going to lead us?” Kuhns said. “It’s a big want-to to have that senior season mentality.”

Moore and Kuhns should make for a nice inside-outside scoring tandem, but the backcourt will have experience with Zambruno, Kondas, Riley, Pisula and Molly White.

Skatell, a Latrobe graduate, has coached at the AAU level for about 10 years, the last six with the Western PA Bruins.

One of Skatell’s top goals when official practice started was to administer a fitness test to his players. Moans and groans were fleeting, and the girls gradually improved their run times.

“It makes no sense to try and play catch-up on conditioning in-season,” he said. “It’s almost not possible. It’s a waste of time. We want our girls to be in shape early and ready to play.”

That feeds into the way Skatell wants to play.

“Fast and physical,” he said. “You can win a lot of games playing that way.

“We want the girls to be in shape and be mentally tough. But we want them to be comfortable in what we’re doing. It’s OK to make a mistake; another opportunity is coming.”

Additional players looking to contribute include seniors Natalie Ward, White and Ella Zambruno, junior Caddie Peters and sophomore Cara Dupilka. Peters transferred from Greensburg Salem, Dupilka from Latrobe.

Ward was a top defender for the soccer team that finished second in the WPIAL and PIAA this season. The Zambruno twins have won multiple WPIAL and state titles in golf.

“We’re looking to get all of them minutes,” Skatell said.

GCC will open the season at the Greensburg Salem Tip-Off Tournament against Mt. Pleasant.

The Centurions have qualified for the WPIAL playoffs 21 consecutive years.

Greensburg Central Catholic girls at a glance

Coach: Chris Skatell

Returning starters: Laura Kondas (Sr. F), Bailey Kuhns (Sr., F), Maddie Pisula (Sr., G), Emma Riley (Sr., F), Meghan Zambruno (Sr., G)

Top newcomers: Cara Dupilka (So., G), Mya Morgan (So., G), Caddie Peters (Jr., F), Molly White (Sr., G), Natalie Ward (Sr., F), Ella Zambruno (Sr., G)

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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