Teams prepare to play conference foes

Nathan Bottiger, Managing Editor

Pitt-Johnstown’s men’s and women’s basketball players won their games last Thursday, both by large margins.

The men’s team opened their season Nov. 11 against Penn State-Altoona. The Mountain Cats won 88-51 with all nine active scoring players.

Senior Bill Luther hit five 3-point field goals and an additional bucket, adding up to his 17-point game total.

Junior Ian Vescovi also had a good day, scoring a double-double.

“We have very capable scorers, so that isn’t a main focus (for me),” Vescovi said. “I try to rebound and block shots and do whatever I can to help our team,”

In their second game, last Thursday, the team trampled over Penn State-New Kensington, 93-47.

During the game, red shirt freshman Jake Laravie was able to score 18 points and Freshman Adam Shaheen scored himself a double-double.

Vescovi said it was good to play two Division III teams to start the season because it gave the new, young players a chance to see some court time and get valuable experience, heading into conference play.

“We’ll really be tested Wednesday at (Indiana University of Pennsylvania). They are ranked 14th in the country.”

Vescovi said he and his teammates are hoping the momentum continues, so they might have a chance of upsetting the tough Indiana Univeristy of Pennsylvania team.

“That’s what we’re hoping for. Practice has been going well, and I think we are all extremely focused for Wednesday.”

The women’s team lost 80-91 to Davis & Elkins (W.Va.) College.

During the game, Sophomore Kayla DeCriscio led the Lady Cats, scoring all of her 24 points from beyond the three-point line. She reached a career-high.

Junior Kelsey Sleighter scored 22 points, making over half of her shots.

The Lady Cats came back from their season-opening defeat, beating Washington Adventist University (Md.), 91-58.

DeCriscio achieved another career high, beating her 24-point performance in the first game with 26 points in the second.

DeCriscio said she was able to put up a lot of points due to good team work. She said the team has stepped up to prove themselves in the new conference.

“It is such a great feeling, starting the season out like this.”

DeCriscio said the team has been pushing the ball in transition in order to open up more shooting options, and she and her teammates have been taking advantage of it.

“We have great shooters on the team and to be able to convert in transition and hit shots is key to our game,” she said. “It is a good way to reward our hard work on the defensive end.”

Senior Rachel Johnson said she felt both games went well, and minor errors cost the team a win in the first game.

“We just didn’t put Davis & Elkins away when we had the chance,” Johnson said. “We knew we couldn’t let that happen again, so we made necessary adjustments to make sure we won the second game.”

Johnson said the team changed their offense type from dribble-and-drive to a motion offense. She said the new formation concentrates on utilizing the whole team instead of individualized efforts.

“That allows us to have more possessions on offense and to score more.”

Johnson said she thinks the team has good momentum heading into their first conference games. She said the team has to stay consistent on both sides of the court.

“I think we are going to have to play the way we know how for the full 40 minutes.”

Johnson said their upcoming game against Indiana University of Pennsylvania should be a tough game, but she is confident they will maintain the momentum.

“It should be a really fun, competitive game for us.”