Pitt – Johnstown Lady Cats Basketball Adds Six Recruits

Pitt – Johnstown Lady Cats Basketball Adds Six Recruits

JOHNSTOWN, PA – Sixth-year Head Coach Sasha Palmer and the Pitt-Johnstown women’s basketball program have added six standout freshmen for the 2012-13 season.  This year’s recruiting class includes forwards Jasmine Harper (Cleveland Heights, OH) and Jamie Tabon (Pittsburgh, Pa.), and guards Kayla DeCriscio (Altoona, Pa.), Leah Hansen (Waterford, Pa.), Olivia Rizzo (Irwin, Pa.), and Dominique Smith (Maple Heights, OH).  

“We are really excited about this class coming into Pitt-Johnstown,” Coach Palmer said.  “Our team will be young with six freshmen, but they add a lot of talent and athleticism to a solid group of returning players.  We expect great things from each of these newcomers.”

Kayla DeCriscio  Freshman    Guard     5’7”     Altoona, Pa./Altoona Area High School

Kayla DeCriscio, a three-year letter-winner and 2011-12 team captain, ended her career at Altoona Area High School with 598 points on her way to leading her team to back-to-back PIAA AAAA District 6 Championships in 2011 and 2012.   She holds the school’s career three-point field goals-made record with 150 and the single-game record with nine against Ambridge High School.  Her 12.7 points per game off of three-pointers ranked first in Pennsylvania on Max Preps in 2011-12.  DeCriscio, a Second-Team Altoona Mirror All-Star as a senior, earned most valuable player honors at the 2012 Altoona Mirror Basketball Classic Game and the 2011 McKeesport High School Tournament.

Academically, DeCriscio was a member of the National Honor Society and Vice President of her senior class.

DeCriscio is the daughter of Jeff and Diane DeCriscio.  She was coached by Jill Helsel at Altoona Area High School.

Leah Hansen    Freshman    Guard     5’5”    Waterford, Pa./General McClane High School

Leah Hansen, a three-sport standout at General McClane High School, was a three-time All-Regional choice who scored 1,133 career points.  Hansen averaged 15 points per game as a senior and was named the school’s Female Athlete of the Year and a First-Team Meadville Tribune All-Star.

The four-year starter and two-year team captain started as a freshman on General McClane’s team won the district championship and advanced to the PIAA AAA Western State Finals.

Hansen, her senior class Valedictorian, was also a four-year letter-winner in track and field and a three-year letter-winner in volleyball.

Hansen is the daughter of John and Kathleen Hansen.  She was coached by Mike Urban at General McClane High School.

Jasmine Harper     Freshman    Forward/Center     6’0”     Cleveland Heights, OH/Cleveland Heights H.S.

Jasmine Harper, an Honorable Mention All-Ohio selection and a four-time scholar-athlete at Cleveland Heights High School averaged 13.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.12 steals per game in 2010-11.  Harper, also a two-time First-Team All-Lake Erie League choice and a second-team all-district selection, helped lead her team to a pair of league titles.  She was named her team’s Most Valuable Player and was tabbed a Greater Cleveland Basketball Coaches Association (GCBCA) All-Star.

Harper was also a standout on the volleyball, softball, and track & field teams where she was a two-time MVP in volleyball and the team’s MVP in softball.

Academically, Harper was in the National Honor Society with a 3.8 overall GPA.

Harper is the daughter of James and Elaine Harper.  She was coached by Kim Hansen at Cleveland Heights High School.

Olivia Rizzo     Freshman     Guard     5’5”    Irwin, Pa. / Penn Trafford High School

Olivia Rizzo was a four-year letterman in basketball and a one-year letter-winner in softball at Penn Trafford High School.  Rizzo, selected as her team’s most valuable player in 2011-12, averaged 8.1 points per game and shot 76% from the free-throw line as a senior.  She was also named to the 2011 Lady Spartan Holiday Tournament All-Tournament Team.

Rizzo, a two-year team captain, guided Penn Trafford to back-to-back WPIAL Section I Championships, the program’s first and second section titles since 1974.  Rizzo also helped the Lady Warriors to four straight trips to the post-season, including a spot in the PIAA AAAA State Playoffs in 2011.

Rizzo is the daughter of Lou and Jennifer Cortazzo.  She was coached by John Giannikas at Penn Trafford High School.

Dominique Smith            Freshman    Guard    5’6”    Maple Heights, OH / Maple Heights H.S.

Dominique Smith, a two-time All-Lake Erie League selection and a two-time recipient of the City of Maple Heights Mayors Most Valuable Player Award at Maple Heights High School, averaged 18.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 4.8 steals per game in 2011-12.  She posted single-game highs of 27 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists and 11 steals.  Smith ranks in the top-five in six Maple Heights all-time statistical records, including second in steals in a season (106) and third in both career points (841) and career steals (212).

Smith, who earned three letters in basketball and was the school’s starting point guard and team captain for two seasons, was tabbed the team’s Most Valuable Player and the Offensive Player of the Year.

In addition to basketball, Smith was an All-League member of the track team and a two-year letter-winner in volleyball.

In the classroom, Smith was her school’s recipient of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete Award with a GPA of 3.92.  Smith, who was on the honor roll for three years, ranked in the top-20 in her class of 270 students.

Smith is the daughter of Eddie and Deborah Smith.  She was coached by Rickey Watters at Maple Heights High School.

Jamie Tabon     Freshman     Forward     5’10”     Pittsburgh, Pa. / Penn Hills High School

Jamie Tabon, who earned one letter in basketball at Penn Hills High School, averaged 9.4 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.1 steals and nearly one assist per game as a senior.  She finished her career with 353 points.  Tabon, who graduated with honors, was named Most Valuable Player at the 2010 Indiana High School Holiday Tournament.

Tabon is the daughter of James, Jr. and Grace Powell.  She is also the step-daughter of Tanya Tabon.  She was coached by Scott Caticato at Penn Hills High School.

        The Lady Cats led by 2011-12 WVIAC Freshman of the Year and First-Team All-WVIAC selection Kaitlynn Fratz (Accident, MD), are coming off of a 14-13 overall record and a 12-10 mark in conference-play.  Pitt-Johnstown returns eight letter-winners and three starters, including Fratz, (17.2 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 3.3 apg.) and sophomore forward Nicole Carman (Cleveland, OH) (10.6 ppg., 6.0 rpg.).

Pitt-Johnstown opens the 2012-13 season with a WVIAC game at Concord (WV) University on November 17, before hosting a conference game against Bluefield State (WV) College on November 20 in the Sports Center.

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