Pioneers back on the court

BC3 basketball returns for 2021-22

November 16, 2021 Cranberry Local Sports

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BUTLER TWP — After a year's hiatus due to COVID-19, basketball has returned to Butler County Community College.

“COVID has changed everything in life,” BC3 men's and women's basketball coach Dick Hartung said.

COVID-19 forced cancellation of the 2020-21 season.

But the Pioneers are back on the floor for the first time since the 2019-20 campaign. The BC3 women — sporting only a roster of six freshmen — opened the campaign Monday night at Lorain CC in Ohio.

The men's team already had its season opener postponed last week. The Pioneers are scheduled to host Garrett CC on Saturday.

“With the women's team, our weakness is we only have six players,” Hartung said. “Our strength is that we have six pretty good players.”

The women's roster is led by Moniteau graduate Aslyn Pry, last year's Butler County Girls Player of the Year. She is also a member of the Pioneer volleyball team, which ended its season at the national tournament over the weekend.

Pry was not scheduled to start Monday night as she hasn't been able to join basketball practice yet. But she did make the trip to Lorain.

“She got off the plane from Minnesota on Sunday and got on the bus to Ohio on Monday,” Hartung said. “I give that girl a lot of credit for that.”

Moniteau graduate Zoey Hillwig will be the point guard. Butler graduates Emma Monteleone and Hailey Metzger will be the wings.

Leah Barclay is a guard from Harvest Academy, Taylor Yost a forward from Seneca Valley.

“Monteleone and Metzger were good high school players who are even better players now,” Hartung said. “Both can shoot the ball. Monteleone is more of a take it to the basket type of player.

“Yost did not play basketball in high school. She approached me about wanting to come out for the team. She was vomiting on that first day of practice, didn't have the right shoes ... now she runs up and down the floor and is wearing the right shoes. She's the most improved player on our team and we haven't played a game yet.”

Hartung pointed out that there are other talented women's basketball players on campus, but “they're either not interested in playing or they don't have the time with their class work, which is understandable.

“But these six we have? They can get it done,” the coach added.

The men's team has two sophomores on its 10-player roster. One is Noah McLean, a 6-foot-3 forward from Moniteau. He will share time inside with 6-4 forward Ben Drake from First Baptist.

The other sophomore is Knoch graduate Julian Sanks, who is academically ineligible to play right now. He will join the team sometime in December and will join Butler graduate Mattix Clement as a starting wing.

“We have guys on this team who can shoot, but there is no question who our best two shooters are,” Hartung said of Sanks and Clement. “They are two of the best shooters we've ever had at this college.

“Clement has to dial 1 for long distance when he shoots, his range is so far. And defensively, he gets his hands on a lot of basketballs. We're very excited to have him.”

Troy Loughry, a 6-3 freshman from Grove City, will join Clement on the wing until Sanks comes back. Loughry will move to another position when that happens.

Other starters are Butler graduates Derek Butterworth and Austin Rodgers. Butterworth will be the point guard.

“He can drive past people ... very athletic,” Hartung said of Butterworth. “Rodgers didn't play much in high school, but he's a good athlete. He's working hard and will do good things for us.”

Hartung said his team will run the floor and shoot the 3-ball because “that style has worked well for us. It plays to our personnel.”

Butler graduates Chandler Miller and Luke Sherwin, along with Knoch graduate Titus Fuller, round out the Pioneers' roster.

“The type of player we haven't had at BC3 is the big-big. We always get the small-bigs, never the big-bigs. McLean and Drake play bigger than they are.

“What we have are 10 really nice guys who come to practice, they listen, they like each other and they play hard for me. That's all I can ask for.

“Our biggest strength is that these guys really like each other. That can take a team a long way,” Hartung added.

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John Enrietto

John Enrietto

I graduated with a Journalism degree from Ohio University in 1979. I started at the Eagle on August 24, 1997. My awards include 2nd place in feature writing from Ohio Associated Press (while working for the Steubenville Herald-Star), media award from Lernerville Speedway and 3rd place in a Pennsylvania AP contest for story feature.