Denise Gallo

Denise Gallo used hard work and great determination to forge an outstanding high school and college basketball career.

ìI had a basketball under my arm since I was six-years old,î Gallo said. ìTo have my dedication to the sport recognized is truly a blessing.î


Chuck Muncie  

Gallo was a standout at Geibel High School in the early 1990's before transferring to Connellsville High School for her senior year in 1991-92.

ìI played at Geibel and we had a great team the three years at Geibel,î Gallo said. ìI played Terry Jamison and we made two consecutive trips to the WPIAL Class A finals and won Section 18 titles. I left Geibel because think Quad A was more competitive and it was a fit that wasn't working for me at Geibel. I actually was going to leave my junior year and something happened and I could not transfer, so I waited and left my senior year. I wanted to play in a Quad A program for college recruitment and I thought that may be better for me.

She turned out to be a catalyst for Connellsville in 1991-92, leading the Falcons at 22-4 record and a Section 2 Quad A championship. The Falcons lost to Penn Hills in the WPIAL playoffs.

ìIt was a great situation and that team ended up working really well together,î Gallo recalled. ìWe had a great year and I got a lot of great looks from college coaches. The transfer may have confused some people and hurt me, but it actually helped me because we did go on to play in the WPIAL tournament and we went into the state playoffs. It helped having Jennifer Betters transferred as well and that helped the transition.î

Gallo averaged 21 points as a senior and wound up with a career total of 1, 671 points in her high school career at Geibel and Connellsville. She was a USA Today Honorable Mention, a first team All Section 2 and WPIAL All Star. Named to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Fabulous Five and the Pittsburgh Press Finest Five. She participated in the East-West Roundball Classic and the Keystone State Games.

ìI was pleased with my high school career,î Gallo stated. ìI loved playing basketball, put a basketball in my hand and I'll play on any team you want me to play on, as long as I get to play. I enjoyed it and it was a lot of fun.î

Gallo participated in other sports besides basketball.

ìI participated like cross country and track,î Gallo said. ìI enjoyed the other sports, but I looked at it more to keep in shape and for conditioning for my basketball. Basketball was always my passion.î

When Gallo graduated from Connellsville in 1992 she sifted through a lot of college scholarship offers.

ìI probably got a couple letters a day from schools,î Gallo explained. ìI got both Division One schools looking at me as well as Division 2 schools. When I started looking at schools and visiting, I was sort of looking at Duquesne and Pitt-Johnstown. I kept going back to Pitt-Johnstown because of the great reputation for the program and the success of Jodi Gault there. When I visited and saw the style of play that they had and visited with the academic office, it really felt like a fit for me. I wanted to play at the end of the year for something. I felt that Pitt-Johnstown was nationally recognized in Division 2.î

Pitt-Johnstown was a perfect fit for Gallo who was a key cog on Lady Cats teams that posted records of 25-5 in 1992-93, 19-7 in 1993-94, 19-8 in 1994-95 and 20-9 in 1995-96. In her four seasons at Pitt-Johnstown Gallo helped the Lady Cats to a record of 83-29.

The 5-foot-7 Gallo finished as the All Time leading scorer at UPJ with 1,962 points. She grabbed 498 career rebounds and had the most career free throw attempts for UPJ, 458-578 for an average of 79.2 percent.

ìIt was a great experience,î Gallo said. ìIt was what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be. I was extremely happy there and I left happy. I feel like I really reached a lot of my potential as a player and that felt great. It definitely lived up to my expectations.î

Gallo was a Two-Time All American Kodak Honorable mention in 1994-95 and 1995-96

ìWhen I look back years later I thought I really did something,î Gallo said with a laugh. ìThe records I enjoy them now, but Jodi Gault always did a good job of reminding me that I really wasn't that good. The All America honors was a big deal. Being in the top 40 players was a great honor.î

Gallo will be inducted into the Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame on April 11, 2015.

ìI have wonderful memories of my time there, athletically, academically and socially,î Gallo stated. ìTo be inducted with so many other talented athletes is really an honor. It was a sincere privilege to wear the Lady Cat uniform.î

When Gallo graduated from UPJ she worked in the mortgage industry for several years. Since 2005 she and Deene Yenchochic own and operate the award winning Riverís Edge Camping and Cabins in Connellsville.

Gallo and her life partner reside during the summer in Connellsville and during the winter in Florida.


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