Not done yet

The A-C Valley girls' basketball team heads into the 2019-20 season with high hopes even though the Falcons have to replace three starters from last year's playoff team

This article is part of a continuing series previewing the Clarion County girls' basketball teams for the 2019-20 season.

By Ryan S. Pugh




If there are those ready to bury the A-C Valley girls' basketball team for the 2019-20 season, Falcons' head coach Dave Sherman it to be known the reports of his program's death is greatly exaggerated.

Sure, A-C Valley lost three starters from a team that captured a KSAC title, was a District 9 Class 2A runner-up and advanced to the PIAA round of eight a year ago. But Sherman believes the players he has returning have the quality to compete for a possible league title and a district playoff bid.

"The cupboard is not completely bare," Sherman said. "We have two starters coming back in Andrea (Meals) and Rachel (Cullen) who got some valuable experience last year. And Mia Sherman is returning from injury and she can provide us rebounding as well as some outside shooting. Those three are my core leaders."

Meals, a junior, averaged 6.3 points per game and seven rebounds per game while Cullen, also a junior, averaged four ppg.

Sherman played in just six games last year for the Falcons as she was recovering from a leg injury.

Even though he has high hopes for his team, Sherman is aware of the fact he will be replacing around 37 points per game of offense.

"This is a building year," Sherman said. "I told the girls, ‘every time you come into the gym, your goal should be to get better whether its practice, a game, a scrimmage, whatever, so we can get better as the season goes on.

"And then next season, we will have three seniors and three juniors coming back. Not that we are forgetting about this season but we are trying to rebuild and reload."

Sophomores Meah Ielase, Baylee Blauser and Paige Klingler will likely see starting time this season.

Ielase will likely play in the low post while Blauser and Klingler will be guard/forward hybrids.

Senior Allison Lewis and freshman Ava Burke will likely be key reserves for the Falcons.

Sophomore Rylee Bowser could also be a reserve off the bench for the Falcons.

Sherman knows his team is a work in progress for 2019-20.

"Last year we had so many things practiced by this time because we had so many veterans coming back and now we're learning an offense they never really picked up completely," Sherman said. "It's going to be trial by fire for a little bit. Some of the younger girls had a grasp of what we are trying to do but it's not automatic. We tried to simplify some things this year but they still have a long way to go. We don't have all of our defenses in. We've got our man-to-man defense in and we've got some man-to-man offenses in and that's it."

The reason Sherman is trying to keep things simple is he doesn't want to overwhelm his young charges.

"It's amazing how complicated the game has gotten," Sherman said. "You've got press-breakers, zone breakers, you have sets for offenses, sets for defenses and you kind of lose sight that these are just high school kids."

A-C Valley opens the season Dec. 10 at Clarion-Limestone.