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YSU’s Magestro comes from basketball family

YOUNGSTOWN — Malia Magestro spent the previous four years at Kennedy Catholic High School near Hermitage, Pa., about 25 minutes away from the Youngstown State University campus.

The 5-foot-9 freshman guard finished her career with the Golden Eagles with 11 school records, averaged almost 29 points per game, was named the Pennsylvania Class A Player of the Year and led Kennedy Catholic to four straight district titles.

She scored 2,169 career points, which is the most in her high school’s history and the second-most in Mercer County history.

The Golden Eagles were 22-3 and advanced to the Elite Eight of the PIAA postseason when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all sports in mid March.

She spent the next couple of months shooting a basketball. Luckily enough, her father, Justin, is the Kennedy Catholic head coach and her siblings all play basketball. Drew is a redshirt junior at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, while Gio is a junior on the Kennedy Catholic boys team. Her sister, Bella, is a seventh-grader playing quite well for her age.

Malia is a coach’s daughter and takes advantage of having her father’s guidance.

“Us always being able to play with each other and make each other better, that’s something I’m really thankful for,” Malia said. “I’m also glad to have siblings who play and love the game.”

YSU women’s basketball coach John Barnes said Magestro had a great grasp of Xs and Os coming from an accomplished Kennedy Catholic program. She also has a head start on the college game because of coming from a basketball family.

Magestro, like all freshman, has to get used to the speed of the game, getting used to bigger, stronger and faster players, especially on defense.

“She could sprint out to a player and pressure them really hard at the high school level,” Barnes said. “Now she goes flying out to a player, they can get by her quickly unless she does a great mechanically sound closeout, understanding where we want to steer the offensive player and things like that.

“All the freshmen are doing a great job, including Malia, of picking up those things, working hard, watching film and doing the right things in practice.”

Coming to the Penguins was two fold, being a business administration major, she was attracted to the YSU’s Williamson College of Business Administration.

Magestro loves being around the team and has made good friends with everyone. She loves the fun-loving YSU women’s team.

“I think it’s a really good atmosphere,” she said. “Everyone is helping each other, being there for each other. I think that’s really good and fun to be around.”

Having a player of Magestro’s caliber is a reason YSU recruited the former Kennedy Catholic standout.

“Her ability,” Barnes said. “Her IQ of the game. Her ability to score. Her ability to shoot. The fact that she came from a great high school program. Her understanding of the game. I’m sure she watched more film than she wanted to with her dad. That definitely helps her at this level, also.”

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