South/East Xtra: Experienced Serra girls show versatility

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With four senior starters who are as versatile as they are experienced, the Serra Catholic High School girls basketball team can change styles game to game.

If the Eagles need to slow things down, they can do that.

If the matchup calls for a fast-paced tempo, Serra can do that as well.

And if the Eagles need to put a taller lineup on the floor … well, they can do that, too.

Big Picture — the most consistent style of basketball the Eagles have played is a winning style.

Through 14 games Serra is 13-1 overall. A non-section game Tuesday against Class AAA Belle Vernon Area was postponed due to the weather.

“Our record is pretty much the same as last year at this time,” longtime Serra coach Bill Cleary said. “With four starters returning, we are a much more seasoned and polished team. We know how to close out games and we can play a lot of different styles of games. There is a lot of ways we can approach a ballgame.”

The Eagles are in firm command of Class A Section 4 with a 5-0 record halfway through section play. A year after winning the section title with a 10-0 record, Serra is unbeaten entering its contest tonight against Geibel Catholic (4-9, 0-4). Serra has outscored its section opponents, 360-143.

“In terms of who we thought would be good in section, Frazier and Winchester Thurston have nice teams,” Cleary said. “Pretty much the rest of the teams will be battling for that last playoff spot. All the teams play hard; we knew that coming in.”

Serra has shown it can put teams away early and it has shown it can hang with some of the best in the WPIAL and play in tight, pressure-packed situations. Serra won at Quigley Catholic, 61-51, and at Greensburg Central Catholic, 56-55.

Quigley (10-5, 7-0) leads Section 1-A and Greensburg CC (11-3, 7-0) is the Section 3-AA leader.

The Eagles’ lone loss of the season came in its tip-off tournament when it faced Vincentian Academy in a rematch of the WPIAL Class A final from a year ago.

“Vincentian was the second game of the year and it was pretty much what we expected from them,” Cleary said. “It was a tough ballgame.

“Greensburg Central Catholic was a great game. We hung tough and won a big road game against a pretty good team and Quigley is always good. They made us play hard all night. We hung tough and hopefully we can use those games to our benefit as the season progresses.”

Vincentian prevailed in the WPIAL title game last season, 53-46, and it won another competitive game this season, 70-60.

“The team is playing really well. We are really satisfied with how we’re playing,” Cleary said. “We came out of the gate strong this season and hopefully we can keep it going.”

Serra’s starting five consists of Megan Sieg, a 5-foot-7 senior point guard, her younger sister, 5-6 junior guard Katie Sieg, 5-6 senior guard Leslie Hoye, 5-8 senior guard/forward Danielle Dindak and 6-0 senior center Nicole Pero.

The Sieg sisters, Hoye and Pero are returning starters while Dindak was the first player off the bench last season. The first three players off the bench this season are 5-6 freshman guard Aaliyah Coleman, 6-4 sophomore forward Felicia Moon and 5-5 senior guard Lauren Czerwien.

“The girls take care of business pretty much every night,” Cleary said. “That goes with having a veteran team that has done a lot so far and hopes to do more.”

Cleary’s scorebook could rest on the head of a pin — it’s that balanced. Dindak leads the team, averaging 13 points per game, Hoye and Pero are close behind averaging 12 points per game and the Sieg sisters both average 11 points per game.

“That is our lineup,” Cleary said. “It is a unique team. We really play as a team — everybody has about the same amount of shot attempts.”

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