Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

On the Rise Peters Twp. a Section Contender

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

On the Rise Peters Twp. a Section Contender

Article excerpt

To look at the Peters Township boys' basketball team in pregame warmups, there is not much about the players that distinguishes them from other teams in the WPIAL.

By the end of the season, however, the Indians may be able to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in Section 2-AAAA.

"I said this early in the year: If you watch us play, we're really not that big, not that quick and we're not that strong, but we're a very good basketball team," Indians coach Victor Giannotta said.

"Each night a different kid steps up and every kid on the team understands and accepts his role. Everybody looks to work hard and get better every day in practice."

Peters Township was off to a 4-2 overall start, 1-0 in Section 2- AAAA going into last Friday's contest at Laurel Highlands. Peters won its second consecutive one-point decision last Tuesday at home against Albert Gallatin, 64-63. Peters also rallied to edge the City League's Oliver Bears by a point on Dec. 3.

"We were down 11 against Oliver and we were down 11 to Albert Gallatin," Giannotta said. "I asked the kids in the locker room if they wanted to start the games down 10 points every night by just giving them five layups in a row. They decided that wouldn't be a good idea.

"I can't put my finger on it. I just think our kids play with confidence."

Dan Happe, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, had 22 points against Albert Gallatin, slightly better than his season average. Guard Jim Ellis, a 5-11 junior who averages 15 ppg, added 21.

Peters is perimeter oriented. Sophomore Justin Kovac runs the show at point guard.

Ryan Daniele, a 6-2 senior forward, and 6-4 senior Nick Peranteau, are the primary inside players. Daniele and Happe are the only returning starters from last season's 15-10 team that finished second in the section. Happe has increased his scoring average by almost 10 points per game, replacing the graduated Mark Smith as the team's top scorer.

"Last year, Dan was playing second fiddle to Mark," Giannotta said. "Now, he is our go-to guy. He's shooting the ball extremely well. He's up to about 38 percent from 3-point land. With Justin Kovac at point guard, he's been tremendous as far as finding people open and seeing the floor. …

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