“This is my second year,” says Coach Janine Vertacnik, referring to her time with the Lions. “It’s kind of a rebuilding process. Last year, we were doing really well, and then our veteran starting guard broke her wrist.” Vertacnik was referring to the unfortunate twist in the 2011 season when Jayne Oberdorf had to leave with an injury to heal. This season is a new story, however. “I have four sophomores back this year, and we have a freshman point guard,” Vertacnik says. “I scheduled eight or nine Quad A schools, and we’re Triple A,” she adds. “We may not win as many games but I hope to win section games. I hope to make the playoffs.”
The Greensburg Salem girls’ basketball roster has 18 players, 12 of whom are freshmen and sophomores. However, Vertacnik has four lettermen back, and all 18 players are loaded with energy. “They’re eager. They’re excited,” Vertacnik says.
In addition to Jayne Oberdorf, the Golden Lions expect to get lots of contribution from freshman point guard Claire Oberdorf. “I’d put her against any freshman guard in the WPIAL,” says Vertacnik. “She’s strong, she’s gutty … she’s the first one into the gym and the last one out.”
Angela Balya, a junior guard, is also a key player for the Lions. This is especially true when her talents are combined with the Oberdorfs’. Balya, Jayne, and Claire have all played on AAU teams together.
Vertacnik cites senior forward Kadeedra Norris and junior guard/forward Taylor Mehan as rounding out the key players. Vertacnik notes that Mehan is well known for her skills on the volleyball and softball teams.
Although the team finished 10-12-0 (3-9-0) in 2011, the girls are ready to put their program on the upswing. “They talk about playoffs now,” Vertacnik says. “Not necessarily winning the section,” she adds, “but they talk about how ‘We’re going to go to playoffs like the boys.’”
The Golden Lions open their schedule on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at home versus Connellsville.