Penn Hills junior shows 1-on-1 skills at summer showcase

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Saturday, August 6, 2022 | 8:01 AM


Penn Hills basketball player Hannah Pugliese was excited to participate in a one-on-one competition that was part of the NEO Summer Showcase last month.

To win, all the junior had to do was navigate through a field of 30 players.

No problem.

“I was trying to be as confident as I could going into the next person,” Pugliese said. “When I got to the championship, I knew she was fast. I thought I was stronger. I used what I had against her. I tried to pick up on what she was good at so I could stop her.”

Pugliese ended up beating her opponent 4-3 in the final. Event organizers said Pugliese was the first underclassman to win the event.

Pugliese, who plays basketball year-round, went to the showcase July 28 at Hoover High School in Canton, Ohio. She was also the first player not from Ohio to win the one-on-one competition.

“There were some college coaches there from Division II and II,” Pugliese said. “On Thursday, anyone could attend. Anyone who did well was invited back on Sunday.”

Pugliese was excited to get the job. The Penn Hills girls basketball team suffered through a rare down year last season. Lacking numbers and experience, the Indians finished 1-18 overall and 0-12 in section play.

Pugliese, who plays AAU in the summer, will also get some more time when she plays in a fall league hosted by Penn Hills.

“Getting more experience for sure helped,” Pugliese said. “We’re doing offseason practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and we’re doing a lot better. Last year was a rebuilding year, and we lost a lot of seniors.”

Pugliese said the biggest focus of her offseason is working on her left hand and on her footwork. As a result of going to the showcase, Pugliese said she has talked with coaches at Walsh University in Ohio.

She is ready for the next season to start. Penn Hills will be in a section with Franklin Regional, Gateway, Indiana, Kiski Area, Plum and Woodland Hills.

“I’m looking forward to playing new teams and seeing where we are,” Pugliese said.

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