Bright spots put South Western on brink of breakthrough
Despite having just two seniors and two juniors on its 2016-17 roster, South Western is concentrating on building a winning program. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
For South Western's girls' basketball team and head coach Kevin Klunk, the goal was to keep building.
The team wants to reach the District 3 playoffs for the first time since 2010.
In the final days of the regular season, headed into Friday's game the Mustangs are on the outside looking in — sitting 19th in the District 3 power rankings in Class 5A, where only the top 16 head to the postseason.
It's been a difficult ride this year because the team has been so close to breaking through.
South Western has lost six games by six points or less, all while fielding a roster with two seniors, two juniors and the remainder with sophomores and freshmen.
But even if the Mustangs don't make the postseason this year, South Western sees the strides it is making as a program. The program finally had depth this season, and there is real talent on the roster.
For one, sophomore guard Taylor Geiman is a matchup mismatch for almost every team in the league. She's 5-foot-11, and while she can post up in the paint, she can also bring the ball up the court. She also has the ability to run through space, to be in the right spot at the right time — whether that means blocking a shot or poking away a pass for a steal and easy bucket.
Geiman will miss the final games of the season because of a stress fracture. Her right foot is now protected by a black boot.
Still, even before the season began, opposing coaches tabbed her as one of the best players in the league.
"We're really young, but we feel like in the future years we will have a legit chance at playoffs," Geiman said. "We want the experience, and once we have that we'll be able to exceed."
Then there is freshman Ali St. Rose, who also has no issue doing the heavy lifting in the low post.
"I do whatever I can to get the ball," St. Rose said. "You have to be tough to get the ball, and if you're not going to be tough then you're not going to get it, you're not going to score and you're not going to win."
From the outside, it might look like the program is taking baby steps. But it's headed in the right direction.
"It can be high and low, especially with younger players, but we try to keep the message consistent and they've been pretty consistent," Klunk said.