Zavasky shows some shooting touch off the bench for Pine-Richland boys’ basketball
Sunday January 23, 2022 | 11:01 a.m.
When Nate Zavasky has an open look, Pine-Richland boys’ basketball coach Bob Petcash usually yells “shoot it.”
Zavasky showed why late in the third quarter in a game with North Allegheny on Jan. 14 when he drained a deep 3-pointer that gave the Rams the lead, and they went on to win 72-64.
That shot scratched the surface in terms of the impact Zavasky, a senior, had on the bench that night. He scored 13 points, hit a 3-point line and provided a boost after Andrew Alexander committed his second foul minutes into the game.
He also showed that even though Zavasky doesn’t start on the Rams’ senior team, he plays a pivotal role in their success.
“He gave us a spark early on, and that’s what I expect from Nate is to come in and shoot it,” Petcash said.
“He has the best clean shot on the team. You’ll hear me screaming at him in the shoot game, because I believe in him more than he believes in himself. Once he has that confidence, he can have a night like (Last Friday). These are the little things I tell everyone. You never know when your number is going to be called and you’re going to be asked to play your role. If everyone plays their part, it helps this program to put itself in a good place.
If Zavasky needed a confidence boost, the North Allegheny game provided it, but he also said what he had done to improve as a player was worth it.
“It’s a long period of preparation,” Zavasky said. “I’ve waited my whole life for this and worked really hard. It all starts in the offseason. When I’m not working I feel like someone else is working. Every day of the been working on ball handling, shooting, watching old movies and I think we all do well as a team.
It also helps that Zavasky has fully embraced his role in the team behind five other seniors: Alexander, Jameson O’Toole, Joey Dudkowski, Andy Swartout and Luke Shanahan.
He embraces being the sixth man and the attributes necessary for that responsibility.
“The five guys at my head are very good players,” he said. “When I need to play hard in defence. If I’m not there, when I come in, I have to bring a spark to the team.
The Rams will need more input from Zavasky and other bench players like Owen Luellen and Andrew Lamendola as they continue to navigate a tough Class 6A. They had lost five games by a total of 14 points through Jan. 14, including three in overtime, but sat in second place in Division 1 at 4-2 entering a Friday showdown with first-place North Hills. Four of the five teams in the division will make the playoffs and all have at least two wins, so the race should be tight throughout the regular season.
“We need all of our guys to step up. I can’t have just five,” Petcash said. “We need 13 guys to play their part because 6A is a beast this year. For us, every game is a war and every section game is a playoff game. All of the coaches in our section are exceptional, making it a battle every night. »
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer