Girls basketball continues to make historic run, faces Central Valley Monday in WPIAL semifinals
Scottie pride has been on the rise in recent months. With the football team’s first playoff appearance in 40 years, a new sense of pride has been restored to the community. Adding to this pride has been the girls basketball teams most recent winning streak, scoring a perfect season under head coach Brian Pritts.
The Scotties (23-0) will face off Monday against Central Valley (18-6). A trip to the WPIAL finals at Petersen Events Center is on the line.
Pritts began coaching girls basketball at Southmoreland High School during the 1998-1999 season.
“There were only two people who expressed interest in the job, and some of the players asked me if I would apply for the job. I took a chance and got the job,” said coach Pritts.
Pritts continued to coach for eight seasons before stepping down to fill the position of head football coach.
These three seasons would be one of the biggest declines in Southmoreland sport history. Kim Jacobs signed the contract to coach and within weeks numbers dropped dramatically from over 20 players to being in the single digits.
This drop in participation led to records for the 2009-2010 season and 2010-11 season of 2-19 and 1-21, respectively, with one of those three collective wins being due to forfeit. The junior varsity team no longer existed, and the season was in danger of being cancelled.
Efforts were made by students and parents to save the program, with parents pleading to the school board and students such as then senior Shelby Conn putting together prospective recruitment for students that may want to play the game.
The school board was unimpressed by the efforts and voted in a 6-3 decision to open the position and relieve coach Jacobs of her duties.
This, however, may have been a blessing in disguise as Pritts, who was now the assistant athletic director, returned to the coaching position during the 2012-13 season, clinching more wins that season than the previous two.
All seemed well until a damper was put on the team yet again when at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, sophomore Bailey Kuhns transferred to Greensburg Central Catholic.
“Kuhns was a routine double digit scorer,” said coach Pritts.
Losing Kuhns could’ve been a detriment to the team; however, coach Pritts was able to rebound the team through his coaching methods.
“I try to motivate and inspire the girls to be their best in all they do, coach Pritts said. “I am also a planner and an attention to detail guy. I’m a firm believer in the fundamentals. We are always working on the fundamentals of the game. I like drill work, too.”
Because of this, coach Pritts was able to guide Southmoreland girls basketball to win every game in the season with 22 straight victories, the longest in Southmoreland history. The Scotties also win their quarterfinal game against Freeport, 54-52.
“He’s a great coach, he pushes us to do our best with each practice,” said freshman Reagan Carson.
However, the winning streak is also attributed to the hard work and dedication the student athletes have put forth this season.
“We really put our heads together and tried our best,” said freshman Maddie Moore. “We all get along and that just makes it easier for us to win because we want to see each other succeed.”
“These girls have worked so hard and have not wavered. Their desire to win and be their best is amazing. Maybe even more amazing is their desire to be their best for each other,” said coach Pritts. “I knew we had the potential to be very good, but to go undefeated throughout the regular season is amazing. It is a testament to the girls’ effort and attitude.”
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