On Friday, December 9th, the Vikings began their season at the Franklin Regional tournament. Mt. Pleasant played a little team you may have heard of before: 2011 Class AA WPIAL finalist Jeannette.
In the game, the Vikings beat the Jayhawks 58-53. The following night, Mt. Pleasant lost to Beaver Area 50-41.
“I think that we have a really selfless team, and that selflessness will be to a fault,” says head coach Scott Giacobbi. “We’ll take an extra pass where there could have been a scoring opportunity.” In early scrimmages, Giacobbi noted, the Vikings threw away balls that should have been made layups. But, he also explained that things are changing this year. “There has been a lot more competition for playing time this year,” Giacobbi says. The Vikings are driving to become scorers without losing the selflessness they use to set up their teammates.
Returning this year for Mt. Pleasant is senior guard Taylor Nitkiewicz. “She’s a consistent rebounder,” says Giacobbi. “Really good off-the-ball player.”
Similarly, Giacobbi mentions Julia Novotny for her skills playing defense on-the-ball. Novotny is also a senior guard. Together with Nitkiewicz and one other senior, she helps to lead the team. Mt. Pleasant’s third senior is guard/forward Kayla King, who plays strong defense for the Vikings. “She’s a really smart player who knows where she has to be to influence play all the time,” Giacobbi says. King’s versatility is mirrored by Nitkiewicz; both players are “guard/forward types.”
Overall, Giacobbi describes his roster as a nice mix. “We have sort of a defense-first mentality. It’s something I really emphasize. If you are the best defensive player, then you will be on the floor in some way, shape or, form.”
Hopefully it is the form of a human basketball player…
Regardless of how the weekend’s tournament went, Giacobbi has three goals for his team year in and year out: “To qualify for the WPIAL playoffs, to be in a position of contention for a section title at end of the season, and if we do make the playoffs then to try to advance farther than we have previously,” Giacobbi says. Last year, Mt. Pleasant advanced through two rounds of WPIAL playoffs before being defeated by Blackhawk.
The Vikings next game is at home tonight against Hampton, at 7:30pm.