Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penn-Trafford Working on Nice Turnaround

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penn-Trafford Working on Nice Turnaround

Article excerpt

For a team that posted only a .500 record last season and struggled mightily the two seasons before that, the Penn-Trafford boys' basketball players are not lacking in confidence.

Maybe that is what an early-season, seven-game winning streak will do for you.

"They go into every game expecting to win," Warriors coach Paul Maljan said.

"Even when we lost the last two, we had opportunities to win them. We just let it get away. But these players are confident. They know they can win and they know they'll be in the hunt for a playoff berth."

Penn-Trafford is 7-3 overall and 2-2 in Section 1-AAAA heading into the Gateway tournament, where it will play Mt. Lebanon tonight at 6.

The Warriors started out quickly in section play, defeating perhaps the two favorites, Greater Latrobe and Hempfield Area. A two- game skid followed, however, last week against Uniontown and Connellsville, essentially wiping out the good that was done.

"We are not happy, after we started out winning two -- and beating the favorite in the section. Against Uniontown, we got beat, but played well. Against Connellsville, we did not play well," said Maljan, in his 24th year.

"But, at 2-2, we are not in bad shape."

Part of the reason for the high confidence level is that Penn- Trafford relies on an experienced starting lineup featuring three seniors and two juniors. The Warriors boast three returning starters from a year ago and the other two starters saw significant time in past seasons.

"We only had two seniors last year, so almost everybody now played some last year," junior Matt Cortazzo said. "I think that [experience] is why we are playing so well.

"We are playing a lot better than last year, mostly because of our defense and the fact we are playing as a team more."

Cortazzo is one of those players who is playing better than last year. …

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