Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Position Switch Should Make Seneca Guard More Effective

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Position Switch Should Make Seneca Guard More Effective

Article excerpt

The Seneca Valley basketball team had four senior starters last season, but it was missing a point guard following the graduation of Christian Durbin, a standout during the 2010-11 season.

So early in the season, Raiders coach Victor Giannotta moved Easton Bazzoli, who was a 6-foot-5 junior at that time, to the point guard spot. It wasn't Bazzoli's natural position, but the Raiders started to heat up after the move.

From Jan. 7-27, the Raiders won eight of 10 games. That run eventually helped them qualify for the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs, where they lost in the quarterfinals to Gateway. The Raiders went on to win a preliminary-round state playoff game before losing to the Gators again to end the season.

The four seniors are gone, but Bazzoli returns to lead the team this season after a spring and summer playing against some of the best players in the country.

In the offseason, Bazzoli played AAU basketball for the Basketball Stars of America. He got to play against some of the top high school players in the country, including the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, from Texas.

The Harrisons are both ranked among the top five players in the country in the class of 2013 by and and both signed letters of intent with the University of Kentucky earlier this month.

Bazzoli said the experience of playing against that caliber of opponent was beneficial.

"They're so much faster and stronger," Bazzoli said. "It was a good learning experience to play against them. It's good to play against that level of talent."

Bazzoli will use that experience as he prepares for his senior season with the Raiders. Although playing point guard last season helped him a lot with his ball-handling and decision-making, he said he is glad that he will move back to the wing this season with junior Matt Darby taking over the Raiders' point guard duties.

"It's better for me," he said. "I prefer playing on the wing."

He will also move into more of a leadership role this season, although Giannotta said it shouldn't be much of a transition.

"He played a big role for us last year and a lot of times he had the ball in his hands in end-of-game situations," Giannotta said. …

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