Neshannock girls to take on tall, experienced Seton-La Salle
Feb 23, 2010

The Seton-La Salle High girls basketball team wants another shot at it all.

The Lady Rebels reached the WPIAL Class AA championship last year, but dropped a 51-34 decision to Sto-Rox.

With all five starters back, Seton-La Salle has high hopes to achieve even more this season. The squad begins its quest against Neshannock at 6:30 p.m. today at Moon High.

“We have high expectations, but I keep telling them what we did last year doesn’t mean anything. It’s a new team and a different year,” Seton-La Salle coach Bryan Bennett said. “They are experienced, but at the same time, it doesn’t matter what happened last year, it all depends on what we do this year.

“When the pairings came out, this matchup wasn’t one I was wanting to see,” he continued. “They are in a pretty tough section with Beaver and we saw Beaver play a couple of times and Neshannock beat them. So, as soon as I saw Neshannock on our side of the bracket, it was in my head that they were a good team. They are definitely a well-coached team; I know she did a tremendous job at New Castle.”

“She” is Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski, who, in her first year with the Lady Lancers after coming over from New Castle, has seen her team improve steadily all season. Neshannock put together one of its best efforts of the season Saturday with a 59-33 win over Charleroi in a preliminary-round matchup.

“I was just ecstatic with the way we played. It was a total team effort and we got contributions from everybody who stepped on court. If we can continue to do that, we may turn some heads,” Grybowski said. “The season had been leading up to that. The girls have made progress all year. They continued to get better and have a better understanding of what we wanted to do. They are very coachable and give their best efforts.”

The fourth-seeded Lady Rebels feature an NCAA Division-I recruit in Katie Gattuso, a 6-foot-1 center. She is a daughter of Greg Gattuso, a former football star at Penn State who’s now an assistant coach to Dave Wannstedt at the University of Pittsburgh.

She’s accepted a full scholarship to the University of Niagara.

“We definitely look to get the ball inside. Once we get it inside, teams have been collapsing on her. She has done a great job knowing when to take it to the hoop and when to pass out of double and triple teams,” Bennett said. “It’s been an adjustment for her. Other kids have stepped up when need be to take some of the pressure off her.

“I think we are a pretty balanced team,” he continued. “We just have to make sure we are executing and patient on offense and make sure we’re taking good shots.”

Grybowski knows her troops will have to limit Gattuso’s impact under the basket.

“She is a strong presence in the post. She is very well-schooled with post moves and very smart. She does a nice job,” she said. “We’re going to try some different things. We’ll try to frustrate her a little and see what happens.

“But they can all put the ball in the hoop. We are going to have to play as well as we did Saturday and even better. It’s going to take more than two people. We’re going to need a lot of great defense and not allowing second shots. We’ll see how it goes.”

Neshannock (13-8) received a balanced attack Saturday. Kylee Patton had a game-high 16 points, while Ericka Warvell and Chelsea Kauffman both had 15 points.

“They are a good basketball team and they those three are great players,” Bennett said. “They are definitely a tough matchup.

“One of the big keys for us — and it really hurt Charleroi — we definitely have to stop their penetration,” he continued. “They did a great job getting the ball to the rim and did a great job making the right decisions with it. That’s key there. If we can’t stop that, we’re in for a long night.”
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