Head Coach John Giannikas enjoyed being with the Warriors team as they made their 2011 dents in WPIALs and states. In both cases, they were stopped by the Titans of Shaler, but Penn Trafford still finished 20-5-0. The record was a nice achievement for the Penn Trafford girls’ team.
Giannikas really just wants to move forward, though. “Last year was fun but it’s not something we really talk about,” he says. “Obviously we would love to try to be as successful as we were last year but it’s going to be even harder because the teams in our section are better this year.” Penn Trafford s in Section 1-AAAA, where teams like Hempfield, Kiski, and Latrobe compete. This year, everyone’s working harder and harder, and Norwin (also in Section 1-AAAA) has hired Coach Brian Brozeski to take over the program. Brozeski was serving as an assistant boys’ basketball coach, and brings additional sports experience from being an assistant coach for the football team. Such an evolution for Norwin is one of the things that drives Penn Trafford, though. Giannikas aims for the Warriors to play their best basketball at the end of the season. “Our goal is to make the playoffs, and after that to try to get the best seed possible.”
The Penn Trafford girls’ team returns many of last season’s key players. “We have a lot of kids back, and this year they’re a year more experienced, a year stronger, and a year faster,” says Giannikas. He cites senior guard Brittany Chiodo, senior forward Kylie O’Toole, and senior guard Olivia Rizzo as major parts of the building process that led to the Warriors’ success in the past year. Giannikas also said that the same went for junior guards Taylor Cortazzo and Nicole Hyland. Cortazzo led the team in scoring last year (9.3 points per game) and excels from behind the three-point line. From forwards Cassie Patterson and Maddie Mossellem, Giannikas expects good scoring and rebounding this year. He also says that guards Mia Barchetti, Morgan Rector, and Jacquie Bevilacqua are dependable shooters.
“We also have a few young kids who are doing very well at practice and pushing our older kids. They’re going to help us at some point though the year,” says Giannikas. He’s referring to freshman forward Maria Pallorino and freshman guard Casey Aunkst. Both players are ones Giannikas feels will continue to develop this season.
The forwards are rounded out by juniors Chelsea Poole and Emily Farbacher. “They’re two forwards that we believe can also help us,” says Giannikas.
One conclusion Giannikas has is that the tests will be telling for the Warriors. “One thing we think we can have is depth. If we play well, then we have the depth.”
Penn Trafford opens its season at home on December 12th versus Jeannette.