Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Tough Goodbye Will Miss Coaching This Team, Mt. Lebo Coach Says

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Tough Goodbye Will Miss Coaching This Team, Mt. Lebo Coach Says

Article excerpt

Ask Mt. Lebanon coach Joe David what he will take from the 2014- 15 boys basketball season and it won't be anything that happened on the court.

What he'll take from this particular Blue Devils squad is the personal relationships the players had with each other.

"What I take with me is the closeness of the group," David said. "They had a great time. Play hard, play smart, not goof around but do all the right things.

"This group is cohesive and had a lot of fun, whether it was in Tampa or in my basement after a sleep-over we had [after the last game of the season]."

The trip to Tampa was for the Nature Coast Christmas Tournament, which saw the Blue Devils post a 2-1 mark with victories against Lutz, Fla.'s, Steinbrenner High, 62-44, and Brooksville's Nature Coast Tech, 51-29, sandwiched around a loss to Lakeland, 63-53. It provided the team with bonding experiences at Busch Gardens and a University of South Florida basketball game.

The "sleep-over" resulted in many of the players staying up playing billiards at the coach's home until the wee hours of the morning following Mt. Lebanon's regular-season 48-32 triumph against Upper St. Clair Feb. 24.

"I told them they had a big dance the next day and it was time to get their sleep," David said.

But maybe the camaraderie from such a trip helped Mt. Lebanon finish 21-7, post a 5-1 record against rivals Upper St. Clair and Chartiers Valley, and advance to the PIAA Class AAAA tournament. Take, for instance, senior Thomas Gladden. The sixth man for the Blue Devils, he provided depth on the post for fellow seniors Patrick Ehland and Matt Hoffman.

"He was instrumental in our success and he never complained," David said. "The thing Thomas did was spell our bigs. If they got in foul trouble, he'd hold down the fort for whatever team we needed to get back into the game. …

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