Sunday 5 December 2021 | 4:21 p.m.
With 59 wins, a WPIAL runner-up, two WPIAL semi-final trips and a PIAA second-round run highlighting a three-year run, the Southmoreland women’s basketball team has big plans this year. winter for the fourth year.
And a big spin to match.
Five starters return from a 16-5 team that reached the WPIAL 4A semifinals before losing to Quaker Valley, 60-50.
The Scotties are long and lean, proven and skilled as they try to keep the program going among the contenders in 4A.
Among the returning starters are 5-foot-11 forward Gracie Spadaro and 5-7-year-old junior point guard Olivia Cernuto, exceptional players in themselves but sometimes a force in tandem.
Cernuto averaged 12 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 5.3 steals per game, Spadaro 13 points and seven rebounds.
“We know we have athleticism and experience,” Cernuto said. “Now we have to get down to business and get the right idea. “
Spadaro is committed to playing IUP. Cernuto, a football and track star, has a basketball offering from IUP and an interest in football from St. Francis (Pa.).
“We have to bring energy and stay healthy,” said Spadaro, former Trib Westmoreland player of the year. “You can’t let your nerves get over you, and you have to be comfortable playing in big games with a lot of fans.”
Junior forward Maddie Moore 6-1, senior 6-foot swing guard Delaynie Morvosh and senior guard Elle Pawlikowsky are also back.
The Scotties will look to cut the net for a third straight year with another section title under the guidance of second-year coach Amber Cernuto.
“I hope the girls will work hard and work together like they have done in the past,” said Amber Cernuto. “We can go a long way, but we have to do the little things: put the ball in the hoop and play a big defense. We want to continue to develop what we did last year.
Coach Cernuto said Spadaro and Olivia Cernuto will play important roles on both ends of the pitch.
“Gracie has to be a leader in attack and defense,” she said. “Liv has to take care of the ball, guide the attack and play good defense.”
Morvosh gives the team a perimeter shooter with big game experience. Defensive spark plug Pawilkowsky will help Cernuto in the backcourt, and Moore will bring a potential double-double at the post.
A staple of the program in recent years has been defense, and the focus will not change. The Scotties have been one of the best teams in terms of points, allowing just 33.4 points last season.
“The plan is for us to be aggressive defensively,” said Amber Cernuto. “We don’t intend to run too much zone. We want to go out and run.
Junior Reagan Carson (5-7) and sophomores Kaylee Doppleheuer (5-10) and Bea Pawlikowsky also feature in the rotation.
“We’ve come out slow in the past,” Olivia Cernuto said. “We need to be able to start faster to get started. “
The sectionless schedule has teeth with Thomas Jefferson, Greensburg Salem, McKeesport, Penn-Trafford and Upper St. Clair among the clashes.
Key words: Southmoreland