Mt. Pleasant: How basketball affects the National defense and vice-versa

Written by Cara DeCarlo on .

Mt. Pleasant head coach and US Army reservist Scott Giacobbi must sometimes enter or leave practice in uniform. The Vikings don’t always let this go.

“They bust my chops a bit,” says Giacobbi. “But it’s all good-natured.”

It makes sense that the Mt. Pleasant team is supportive of their coach’s military position, because the two things affect each other. “There are a lot of parallels between the military and coaching,” says Giacobbi. “Likewise, I’ve learned a lot from coaching that applies on the Army reserve side. The two have been very complimentary.”

One example of how coaching Mt. Pleasant affects Giacobbi in his Army reserve position is in being able to work around an individual’s concerns for the good of the group. “In the military we teach leadership stuff,” says Giacobbi, “but there’s some practical things that come from dealing with individual player issues.” Basically, Giacobbi can deal with the individual issues of his reservists by using some of his coaching skills.

Recall that the effects go both ways, though. One year, the Vikings began their season in desert camouflage team T-shirts. “It felt almost like a compliment,” says Giacobbi.

Giacobbi’s Mt. Pleasant unit is still holding things down in Section 3-AAA. In the 54-46 win over Greensburg Salem on Monday (January 16), Casey Zelenak shot for 13 points. Julia Novotny and Alexa Szelong each chimed in with 11. On Thursday versus Derry, the Vikings came out with a score of 44-11. Jordan Toohey got the game-high 12 points for Mt. Pleasant, and Zelenak had 11.

But in addition to the scoring, Giacobbi says the real highlight is the half-court man-to-man defense. “It’s allowed us to (at certain points with certain teams) dictate the tempo of the games,” Giacobbi says.

Mount Pleasant (10-3, 6-1) plays at section-top Uniontown tonight at 7:30pm.