High school basketball notebook

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The Carmichaels girls basketball team doesn’t begin Section 3-A play until Jan. 3, with seven non-section games to open the season.


Good thing, too, as the Mikes learned Wednesday night that they will play the rest of the season without senior guard Anna Cree, who suffered a knee injury in the first quarter of the team’s first game against Belle Vernon.


As a result, those few extra weeks will come in handy when trying to figure out who will account for Cree’s leadership and 15.2 points per game.


“Part of the reason I’m thankful that we don’t have any section games until January is that it gives us time to get used to doing things differently,” Carmichaels coach Jim Lane said.


Carmichaels rebounded from that 65-27 loss to Belle Vernon by beating Perry, 65-38, in the consolation game of the Charleroi tournament and before earning a 43-35 win over Frazier in non-section action Tuesday.


But while the Mikes improved to 3-1 with last night’s 57-24 win at Brownsville, not having Cree and her best friend, Morgan Berardi, on the court together will no doubt hurt.


Each began the season with more than 800 career points and appeared destined to join the 1,000-point club – perhaps even do it together. Now, that won’t happen.


“Anna and Morgan have been playing together since the second grade,” Lane said. “Morgan’s not used to playing without her wingman.”


Carmichaels will look to center Amanda Brown, who had 18 points in the Perry game and nine more against Frazier, as well as Anna’s younger sister, Caroline, who has posted back-to-back 13-point nights.


All told, Carmichaels will have to figure out how to generate offense with Cree out, the small consolation being it has a few weeks to get those answers.


“We’ve prepared for changes, like if players get in foul trouble or have to come out of the game, but you can’t replace someone like Anna Cree,” Lane said. “She’s done all the right things, all the things you ask for as a coach. She’s versatile. She can play all five positions. She’s definitely someone you can’t replace, but we have to make adjustments.”


Pritz will sit … some

Forward Gabe Pritz sat out the Peters Township boys basketball team’s non-section game against Allderdice Tuesday night, and Indians coach Gary Goga said that’s something he’s not afraid to do to keep the 2011-12 Observer-Reporter Player of the Year healthy for Section 4-AAAA play.


Goga wouldn’t comment on whether Pritz was bothered by one specific injury or where it was, only to say that, “It’s bumps and bruises, minor stuff. It’s just stuff we have to manage. Minor stuff to make sure it doesn’t become something major.”


The Indians (2-1) open section play at Mt. Lebanon Friday, and Goga said Pritz, who totaled 44 points in wins over Westinghouse Altoona, will be in the lineup. Non-section games? That’ll be done more on a case-by-case basis.


Plenty of reasons for McGuffey’s 3-0 start

A few pleasant surprises have the McGuffey boys basketball team feeling much better about its chances in Section 5-AAA, one of the WPIAL’s toughest with the likes of Chartiers Valley, Montour, Keystone Oaks and South Fayette – teams that went a combined xx-xx last winter.


Guard Taylor Pasquariello was one of the Highlanders’ few known commodities, and he has averaged 14.3 points per game in three wins.


But perhaps the biggest surprise has been the play of Darrell Briggs, who’s averaging 14.7 points per game entering tonight’s non-section home game against Yough.


Sixth man Jesse McKee, a 6-4 forward who didn’t play basketball the past two years, has returned to give the Highlanders another big body inside next to Brennan Crimm, while head coach Greg Papson has gotten consistent production out of guard Chris Laick and forward Caleb Reihner.


“We’ve been very unselfish,” Papson said. “We have a goal every game to get as many assists as possible and limit our turnovers, and I think we’ve been moving the ball really well so far.”


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