Gentile, Shadyside Return Veteran Cast
By SETH STASKEY
SHADYSIDE — Serge Gentile called his first season at the helm of the Shadyside girls’ basketball team a “roller coaster ride.”
The Tigers certainly had their fair share of ups and downs during the course of a season in which they finished with an 11-12 record.
“We had a really good start to the season, but we hit a buzzsaw on the backend of our schedule,” Gentile said. “We had opportunities to win some of those games, but just had some things not go our way.”
While that certainly wasn’t what he had in mind, Gentile looks ahead to Season No. 2 with cautious optimism.
And rightfully so. The Tigers, who lost Layne Hendershot, Jonna Eneix, Hayley Shook and Julie Schuetz to graduation, return a veteran cast and also welcome a very talented freshmen class to the mix.
The thing about his team that Gentile likes the most is the number of interchangeable pieces that he has at his disposal. It’s created competition through the summer and pre-season as well as should yield depth to allow the Tigers to turn up the heat defensively.
“We have a lot of capable players,” Gentile said. “We hope to be able to impose our will defensively, but we can’t afford to take plays off. We’ve been stressing to the girls that since we have plenty of girls who can play quality minutes, there’s no need to take any plays off.”
Shadyside’s list of veteran returnees features five players who averaged at least five points a game.
Headlining the group is junior point guard Sydnie Destifanes (5-0). A talented perimeter shooter, Destifanes averaged eight points a game last season. She really came on late in the season.
Junior Macy Coffland (5-6) will be the chief option in the post for the Tigers.
Senior Jessica Cicogna (5-9) is a versatile swing player for the Tigers. She also possesses great length, which makes her a defensive presence.
Senior Haylee Gregan (5-7) is an adept perimeter shooter, who Gentile calls, “streaky.”
Junior Jaycee Mayers is another to keep an eye on as she saw quality action and is expected to see a more expanded role.
The freshman class is headlined by the trio of Baylee Wach (5-6), Tori Hendershot (5-5) and Brinley Steen (5-7). In junior high, the Tigers — with those three leading the way — never lost a game.
Also expected to supply depth off the bench will be sophomore Brooke Selmon (5-3) and sophomore Sarah Teasdale (5-8).
The balance of the roster includes junior Haleigh Osman (5-0), sophomores Julie Hendershot (5-8), Kaylee Savage (5-4), Madisyn Stewart (5-4), Mattie Reiman (5-4) and freshman Kamdyn Elerick (5-2).
Brandon Parr is back as Gentile’s chief assistant.