Young Penn-Trafford boys roster ready to tackle new challenges

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Saturday, November 26, 2022 | 12:01 PM


Just because the Penn-Trafford boys basketball team dropped from Class 6A to Class 5A this season, it doesn’t mean things will be easier.

In fact, third-year coach Doug Kelly said he knows the Warriors’ new section, which includes McKeesport, Latrobe, Gateway, Franklin Regional and Kiski Area, will be tough.

“All the teams in the new section are strong,” Kelly said. “We have to be ready for a challenge. I expect McKeesport, Latrobe and Franklin Regional to be the biggest tests.”

The Warriors were 4-6 in Section 3-6A and 9-13 overall last season. They lost a first-round WPIAL playoff game to Upper St. Clair. Their section included Fox Chapel, Central Catholic, Norwin, Hempfield and Greensburg Salem.

Penn-Trafford returns four starters from that squad, which should help ease the transition to a new section and classification.

They are all juniors: Jason Sabol, Tyler Freas, Nathan Crum and Ian Temple. Crum and Temple were part-time starters.

There is only one senior on the squad: 6-foot-7 forward Andrew Kessler. The rest of the roster is mainly sophomores, a few juniors and a promising freshman.

“The future looks bright,” Kelly said. “This will be a growing season. All the players are committed to building the program. They want to be here. They are a tight-knit group, and they play for each other.”

Kelly foresees playing time for a lot of players as he tries to combat the team’s lack of height with a pressure defense.

“We want to create havoc on the court,” Kelly said. “I can see us playing 10 players during a game.”

Two players Kelly said he’s excited to see play are sophomore point guard Brayden Stone, who transferred back from Burrell, and freshman point guard Tyler Boss.

He said both are capable of running the offense.

“It takes a special player to get things started,” Kelly said. “I’m confident that Brayden and Tyler can do that. I feel they are going to be able to create things.

“It’s going to be a challenge this season. We have to be a gritty team.”

Penn-Trafford also has a tough nonsection schedule. It will open the season Friday against Greensburg Central Catholic at Hempfield. Others on the schedule include Hempfield, Norwin, Woodland Hills, Trinity, Peters Township, Highlands, Penn Hills, Seneca Valley, York, Central Catholic and North Hills.

“The nonsection schedule will prepare for the section,” Kelly said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge facing us in every game.”

At a glance

Coach: Doug Kelly

Last year’s record: 4-6 (Section 3-6A, 9-13 overall)

Returning starters: Jason Sabol (Jr., G), Tyler Freas (Jr., G), Nathan Crum (Jr. G), Ian Temple (Jr., F).

Newcomers: Tyler Anthony (So., G), Brayden Stone (So., PG), Connor Evangeliste (So., G), Carmen Metcalfe (Jr., G), Evan Gross (So., G), Jack Weishaar (So., G), Andrew Kessler (Sr., F), Keith Otto (Jr., G), Tyler Boss (Fr., PG).

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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