East Xtra: Despite youthful lineup, Greensburg CC knows how to win
January 16, 2014 12:00 AM
Greensburg Central Catholic's Carolyn Appleby drives to the basket against East Allegheny's Katlyn Keenan last week in a 77-22 victory in Section 3-AA.
By Nicholas Tolomeo / Tri-State Sports & News Service
By grade, the Greensburg Central Catholic girls basketball team does not appear to have much experience.
There are no seniors on the team and more than half the roster is made up of freshmen.
Looking beyond their class, however, this Centurions team has plenty of experience with three returning starters, including a pair of three-year starters.
“They have seen Seton-LaSalle twice last year, saw Blackhawk twice this year, there is really nothing they haven’t seen,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Joe Eisaman said. “This will the fifth time the juniors have seen Jeannette.”
Junior guards Carolyn Appleby and Nikki Adisey and 6-foot-3 junior center Leah Bisignani are the returning starters. Appleby, who is 5-5, and Adisey, 5-7, have started since their freshman years.
The trio has helped Greensburg Central Catholic (9-3) take control of Class AA Section 3. The Centurions are 6-0 and atop the section standings after routing arch-rival Jeannette, 82-26, Monday night.
Greensburg Central Catholic owns non-section wins against Mars Area, Mount Pleasant and Greensburg Salem and it played Blackhawk in a tipoff tournament and Christmas tournament. The Centurions were competitive against Blackhawk, one of the top Class AAA teams in the state.
Sophie Czamecki and Megan Stunja, a pair of 5-9 junior forwards, 5-6 junior guard Abbey Marigliano and 5-8 freshman guard Brittany Stawovy all see significant playing time. Stunja is recovering from a back injury but Eisaman is counting on her to be a key contributor down the stretch.
“Megan Stunja is an eight and eight girl,” Eisaman said, referring to her scoring and rebounding averages. “She is very athletic and very strong. She is our most athletic forward.”
Appleby handles the point guard responsibility but she also leads the team in scoring, averaging almost 20 points per game.
“She is a very explosive player and a good shooter,” Eisaman said. “Carolyn is a very instinctive defensive player. If you get sloppy with the ball, it will be in her hands and in the basket on the other end of the court. She is very fast.”
Adisey and Bisignani average around 16 and 13 points, respectively. In two games against Blackhawk, the Post-Gazette’s No. 1-ranked Class AAA team, Bisignani combined for 40 rebounds.
“Leah is a volleyball player; she gets the ball,” Eisaman said. “She can get off the ground, she probably leads the section in rebounds.”
In the second meeting against Blackhawk, Greensburg Central Catholic was able to jump out to a 12-6 lead.
“We weren’t shell-shocked [from the first meeting, a 65-49 loss],” Eisaman said.
As the season goes on, Eisaman plans to rely on more freshmen. While Greensburg Central Catholic was without Stunja, a pair of freshmen stepped up, 5-8 Haley Moore and 5-7 Carolyn Perz. Eisaman refers to Moore and Perz as “hybrid players” capable of playing as guards or forwards, depending on the matchup and the rest of the lineup.
Another freshman, 5-3 Maddie Coddington can back up Appleby at the point guard position.
“I am obviously going to need some of my freshmen to come in and spell some of my juniors,” Eisaman said. “We play an up-tempo style and they have shown me that they can play varsity basketball.”
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