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Penn Hills’ Robertson, Brisker value experience during AAU season

July 21, 2018

During the most important summer in their basketball careers, Penn Hills teammates Tayonna Robertson and Adia Brisker have played pivotal roles on their AAU team, the Western PA Bruins-Lewandow­ski, as they head into their senior seasons.

Robertson, a guard/forward, and Brisker, a guard, were part of a Bruins team that captured the 2018 Adidas 17U Platinum Gauntlet Crazy Explosive Division championship. The Bruins claimed the title after winning all four games they played in Kansas City, from July 10-12.

“It shows how hard we work as a team and how much time we put in together as a team. I’m just excited for the journey I’m about to experience when we go to the national tournament. I’m so proud of my team for what we’ve accomplished so far,” Robertson said.

The Lewandowski team includes Robertson, Brisker, Ambridge’s Aniya Walker, Bethel Park’s Maria Cerro, Peters Township’s Makenna Marisa and Isabella Mills, Mars’ Tai Johnson, Southmoreland’s Maggie Moore and Chartiers Valley’s Gabi Legister.

Penn Hills coach Robert Cash also is involved in the Western PA Bruins AAU program and provided a comfort level with coach Joe Lewandowski.

“When you put a team together, especially one you’re going to be competitive and play across the country with the best teams in the nation, you have to have kids with high character,” Lewandowski said.

“If you don’t, then you’re going to be in trouble because you know you’re going to face adversity at some point. They are both fantastic kids, fantastic people and they come from a terrific high school setting.”

During their junior seasons, Robertson averaged 13.1 points, while Brisker averaged 13.2 for the Indians (13-9, 5-5 Section 2-6A). Robertson missed significant time during her junior season after dislocating her kneecap in the fourth game of the year.

Penn Hills’ season ended after a 31-30 loss to Mt. Lebanon in the WPIAL Class 6A first round.

“Tay can shoot the ball and rebound as well as anyone in the country. Adia is probably as good as anyone off the bounce in Western Pa.,” Lewandowski said.

“It’s tough for players to stand in front of her, and it’s tough to rebound against Tay, who is giving up 5 or 6 inches against certain players.”

Even though they play alongside the top players in the WPIAL on their AAU team, Robertson and Brisker being on the same AAU team provides advantages when it comes to chemistry.

“We play with each other all year round. We’ve had chemistry and we still do. We know when to go and when not to go. She knows what we’re doing,” Robertson said.

“We know each other’s ins and outs. We know what we’re good at and what we’re not strong at. It’s very fun to play with her.”

The Bruins qualified as the No. 1 seed in the Adidas Summer Championships to be held July 27-29, at Lakepoint Champions Center in Atlanta, Ga.

Even with coaches from major college programs in attendance, Robertson and Brisker continue to focus on the task at hand on the court.

Robertson has scholarship offers from St. Francis (Pa.), Youngstown State and Niagara, while Brisker has offers from Buffalo and Niagara.

“I’m just going to play my game,” Brisker said. “They’re just eyes. We just have to be tougher than our next opponent. I just play to play. It’s not anything more or anything less. This is your chance to shine, so go get it.”

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