Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Last Year Taught Raiders a Lesson

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Last Year Taught Raiders a Lesson

Article excerpt

Last season presented a challenging situation for the Riverview boys basketball team.

Soon after the Raiders jumped out to an 8-3 start, which included a five-game winning streak that began during the Christmas break, all-section senior guard Cory Bickert sustained a season-ending knee injury.

With a 1,000-plus career point scorer sidelined, Riverview still qualified for the WPIAL playoffs but struggled down the stretch, losing nine of its last 10 games, including a stretch of seven consecutive defeats.

"Cory was as good a 'big-impact player' as we had and he was averaging about 26 points a game when he got hurt," said 11th-year coach Kevin Krajca, whose team finished 9-12 last season after losing to Frazier in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs. "It was hard to flip around during that second half of the season and we had to put the ball in other kids' hands.

"But the kids still embraced everything and guys stepped up. Even though we were retooling our game and strategy, guys never quit and continued to work hard.

"I give them a lot of credit. They never backed down."

Krajca hopes that attitude rolled over into this season.

"We have room to grow," Krajca said. "This is a young team, as far as experience goes, so we're going to try to build from there. We'll need to build our younger guys up."

Sam Gonzowski, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, is the Raiders' lone returning starter and leads a core of seven players Krajca will rely on this year.

Junior guards Jason Anthony and Zach Lesnick both started at times during their sophomore seasons and each are expected to take on a bigger role this year. With senior Shaine Scott and junior Nick DiBucci slated to run the point guard position, junior guard Dom Conte and sophomore forward Danny Milberger also are likely to play contributing roles for Riverview.

"We're hoping some of our younger guys step up," Krajca said. "We hope one or two more guys can step in, but we're still investigating those younger guys who don't have much experience. …

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