With new drop in classification and 4 starters back, Yough boys have look of contender

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Monday, November 28, 2022 | 3:20 PM


A drop in classification. A new section. A host of letterwinners returning.

Are the stars aligning for Yough to have one of its best basketball seasons in recent memory?

Potential is bubbling up but expectations are measured, for now.

“We hope so, but we need to win first,” coach Jim Nesser said. “Our kids have worked really hard in the offseason, and I like where we’re at. But we have to go out and do it.”

Four starters return from a 13-10 team that qualified for the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs.

Yough moves to 3A and will play in Section 4 with Brownsville, Charleroi, McGuffey, Mt. Pleasant, Washington and Waynesburg.

“We’re not going to be a good team until we prove to ourselves that we can beat a good team,” Nesser said. “We need to get that signature win.”

Yough got a taste of how the other half lives in the first round of the playoffs last year when it lost to Lincoln Park, 90-38.

The Cougars took a five-game winning streak into the postseason.

“We had some momentum going into that game,” Nesser said. “Our guys got that experience of being there, and I think it was good for them.”

Yough has not won a playoff game since 2004-05, but this team has the look of a section contender.

Junior Terek Crosby is one of the most athletic players in the class. Crosby averaged 24.7 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists last year. He has 730 points in two seasons. Aside from the obvious traits he possesses — quickness off the dribble and the ability to play above the rim — Crosby can draw attention away from other players.

“He has really worked on his game and can really do some big things for us,” Nesser said. “We’re going to go as far as he takes us. There are times, though, when we might be better when he passes the ball. He sees the floor well.

“We need to share the ball more on offense. Sure, they’ll be times when we just say, just go play. But we need to move the ball and run some sets.”

That sharing will better showcase 6-foot-5 junior forward Austin Matthews, who also has honed his skills in the offseason.

“He’s just a tremendous kid,” Nesser said.

Another junior is Zander Aird, and senior Parker Rost also is a returner to the starting five.

“They’re good kids, all of them,” Nesser said. “They’ve put in the time. Work, work, work.”

Aird is the point guard but could share the spot with Crosby. Rost also can get to the rim and has had his share of dunks in practice.

Junior guard Tyler Travillion, the sixth man last year, will likely slide into the first string.

Yough should be a fun team to watch.

It’s likely fans are going to see some dunks and 3-pointers, but Nesser wants just as much flair on the other end of the floor.

“We are athletic, no question,” Nesser said. “We have some guys who can defend. If we play hard on the defensive end, hopefully, it will lead to (transition) buckets.”

Nesser will look to develop depth to complement his starters. That starts with seniors Matt Sandin, Brendon Converso and Casey Sciore and sophomore Charlie Quinn, among others.

Converso is another shooting threat.

“I feel comfortable with this group,” Nesser said. “Chemistry is good, and they work well together. The work ethic is there. They were here in the summer and fall. We’re all committed to the process — me, my staff, Boo (Sherbondy) and Sam (Sunder) — all of us are a part of it.”

Yough opens the season Dec. 2 at the Indiana Tournament against Purchase Line.

Norwin is a notable nonsection opponent. The Cougars and Knights will meet in the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Showcase Dec. 10.

Yough boys at a glance

Coach: Jim Nesser

Last year’s record: 13-10 (6-6 Section 3-4A)

Returning starters: Zander Aird (Jr., G), Terek Crosby (Jr., G), Austin Matthews (Jr., F), Parker Rost (Sr., G)

Top newcomers: Brendon Converso (r., G), Charlie Quinn (So., G), Casey Sciore (Sr., G), Matt Sundin (Sr., G), Tyler Travillion (Jr., 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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