Valley turns to prominent basketball alumni to help restore luster to boys, girls programs | Trib HSSN (2024)

By: Michael Love
Monday, July 8, 2024 | 9:21 PM

Valley turns to prominent basketball alumni to help restore luster to boys, girls programs | Trib HSSN (1)
Valley turns to prominent basketball alumni to help restore luster to boys, girls programs | Trib HSSN (2)

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Brice Flenory and Tonya (Pryor) Norman wowed fans of the Valley basketball teams during their time on the high school hardcourt.

Norman graduated from Valley in 1989 and went on to a collegiate hoops career at Duquesne. Flenory graduated in 1998 after a playing career that included back-to-back Valley News Dispatch first-team all-star selections.

They now are hoping to uphold the Valley basketball tradition as they take over the varsity head coaching positions. Flenory is the new boys coach, while Norman will head up the varsity girls program.

Both were hired at Valley’s most recent school board meeting. They are excited to get going with their respective programs.

“Everything is coming back full circle for me,” said Flenory, a Point Park graduate and the nephew of former Valley standout B.B. Flenory.

“I’ve had some other interviews with some 6A schools and 2A schools, but I believe God ultimately put me where he wanted me to be and where I belong, which was back home coaching the high school boys team.”

Flenory said his pride in the program drives him.

“It is all about carrying on tradition and what came before me and what came before these current players,” he said. “It’s about upholding the Valley Viking name.”

Flenory said he will hit the ground running this week and next week with open-gym workouts and training.

“We want to get back to the roots and that old-school grit of what makes a successful team and program,” he said. “Everything is fresh. Everything is new. We’re going to see what we have and how we can develop the guys into a winning team. The talent is there. We have the goal of working our way back to the top of being competitive and being a relevant basketball program again.”

The Valley boys hope to turn around their fortunes after a 2023-24 season in which they went 5-15 overall and 3-9 in Section 3-3A against the likes of defending WPIAL champion Deer Lakes, rival Burrell and playoff qualifier Derry.

The Vikings make the move up to Class 4A for the next two-year cycle and will have section matchups again against Burrell and Deer Lakes, and also Freeport, Highlands, Knoch and North Catholic.

“I want to stress to the guys that they can do anything they set their minds to,” Flenory said. “I want to come back and unify the community and bring support back to the program. I want to help bring back what has been lost over the years. Everything will be structured in a way to help bring a winning routine and a winning attitude.”

Flenory, who scored more than 1,200 points and finished fifth on the Valley boys all-time scoring list, had a chance to recall several memories from his Valley career and beyond this spring as he was inducted into the Alle-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

Norman, a three-sport standout at Valley, has given back to her alma mater as a coach at different levels in all three of the sports she played in high school: basketball, volleyball and softball.

She was a Valley girls varsity basketball assistant during the tenures of former head coaches Carrol Perroz, John Cope and most recently, Ernie Sipolino.

It is her first opportunity as the Vikings head coach.

“I am very excited,” Norman said. “The program is close to my heart. It gave me so much, and I want to help build it back up to where it once was and give the girls the respect they deserve. I want to give the girls the experience I had when I was here. It is a very sentimental thing for me. I couldn’t imagine starting a varsity (head) coaching career anywhere else.”

Norman closely followed recent seasons through her daughter, Jada, who will be a sophom*ore this winter at Penn State New Kensington.

This year’s team will feature the senior talent of coach Norman’s younger daughter, Janelle, a 6-foot-2 power forward.

“I know the girls in the community, and I know we have the potential to build something pretty special,” said coach Norman, who, at 6-1, was a rebounding stalwart during her playing days.

She finished with more than 900 rebounds at Valley. Jada broke her mother’s record as a senior in 2023.

“I want to help them tap into their abilities and see that level of competitiveness and athleticism and be able to go further and have the satisfaction of winning games.”

Norman hopes to turn around a program that struggled in a rugged Section 1-4A this past season. The Vikings went 0-20 overall and 0-12 against the likes of North Catholic, Highlands, Knoch, Greensburg Salem and Freeport.

“I hope girls come out and want to participate and be a part of a team that wants to improve and also showcase their talent,” she said. “I believe strongly that there is a lot of good talent in the community. We’re looking forward to progressing with Janelle as a leader and others. For some, we want to encourage them and get them back in the program. Starting from the beginning, we want to tap into the basics and work from there. I am really open to anyone who wants to come and learn from seventh grade to 12th grade, put the time in, hone their skills and go from there.”

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

Tags: Valley

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Valley turns to prominent basketball alumni to help restore luster to boys, girls programs | Trib HSSN (2024)
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