With young, talented roster set to return, Gateway boys turn focus to future

Monday, March 15, 2021 | 1:05 PM

All Will Kromka could do was watch.

The Gateway junior guard/forward missed the Gators’ WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinal game at No. 1 Chartiers Valley on March 6 after suffering a broken wrist in his team’s first-round win over Albert Gallatin three nights earlier.

“It was obviously really tough not being out there, but I tried to be as supportive as I could,” said Kromka, who averaged 16.4 points and 7 rebounds this season.

“I wanted to bring as much energy to the bench as I could. I was proud of the guys. We had a chip on our shoulder going in. Chartiers Valley was the No. 1 team, and we took it to them. It showed how good we actually were. I think a lot of people overlooked us all year. That showed all the progression throughout the year.”

The Gators took Chartiers Valley to the limit before the Colts prevailed 53-47.

“The guys were positive. We talked a lot about adversity,” said Gateway coach Alvis Rogers, who dealt with his own adversity this season with being away from his team for more than a month recovering from heart surgery.

“That was what they had gone through all year. We talked about next man up. We wanted them to stay mentally strong and prepared. We had good practices leading up to the game.

“It is tough to replace almost 17 points a game as well as (Kromka’s) knowledge, leadership and calm demeanor on the court. That was a challenge in only a couple of days before going up against a team like Chartiers Valley.”

Junior forward Ryan Greggerson led the Gators with 13 points, while sophomore guard Jaydon Carr added 12.

“We battled and we had our chances,” Rogers said.

“We both missed shots. The guys showed toughness and pride. They played their hearts out. They played well for much of a game. We just had a couple of communication breakdowns defensively. They hit two crucial 3s in the fourth where we weren’t near the guys shooting.

“It was tough. I really felt for my seniors. They put in a lot of hard work. This was their last chance.”

Gateway won six of eight to end the regular season, and then held off Albert Gallatin, 62-59, in the first round at Gateway’s Furrie Sports Complex. Four Gators finished in double figures against the Colonials. Greggerson had 13, freshman Bryson Pavlik had 12 and Kromka and Carr had 10 apiece.

Kromka had X-rays on his wrist right after the game, and they revealed the break. He had surgery last Wednesday and is expected to be away from athletic competition for eight to nine weeks.

He hopes to come back for the tail end of the boys volleyball season this spring and also get back into AAU basketball.

The Gators capped their season at 9-8 overall, and they went 6-4 in Section 3.

Only one senior — guard Quincy Germany — will be lost to graduation. Germany finished the season with 41 steals and 70 assists.

Greggerson finished the season averaging 9.5 points and 7 rebounds, while Carr added 9 points a game and provided 46 assists and 47 steals.

Sophomore guard M.J. Stevenson contributed 7.5 points a game.

With the starting and reserve talent coming back in the rotation, Rogers said he is confident his team can challenge for the section title.

“We as coaches have already talked about the nucleus we have coming back,” he said.

“We lose just the one starter, we had a good bench, and we also had some guys who were hurt that would’ve probably also helped coming off the bench. We have a unanimous first-team player coming back, two second-team players and an honorable mention. We feel really good about where we are right now. We also feel really good about the next couple of years and even some years after that because there are some guys coming down the pike who are pretty good.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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