Who’s your favorite Farrell High guard? Kind’ve like choosing your favorite child.
Steelers’ skipper Roland Shannonhouse simply smiled at the suggestion.
“Who-o-o! They’re all tough right now, I’m telling you, and they all bring something special to the table,” Shannonhouse assessed. “They’re all playing with confidence, and they’re all defending.
“I really can’t pick one out. I would like to, but I can’t,” admitted Shannonhouse. “Tough choice, tough choice, no doubt about it. ... They’re all playing well.”
Led by its bountiful backcourt the Steelers steam-rolled Grove City, 71-50, Friday night at E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium in a Region 5-AAA affair.
Farrell forged its first 10-0 season start since 1994-95, when Nick Cannone’s club commenced the campaign with a 15-0 ledger, according to Farrell High AD Matt Vannoy’s research.
Friday night, facing Farrell, it was kind’ve like picking your poison for Grove City.
There was facilitator/distributor Dewayne Burns (5 assists) ... long-range marksman Malik Miller (game-high 19 points, including four 3-point field goals) ... press-breaker Jamel Brown ... instant-offense Chris James (12 points off the bench) ... Swiss Army knife Clifton McNair (10 points, 5 rebounds) ... and on-ball defender Terrance Holloway, who added 7 points.
The best part?
“The guys are showing that they can win as a team,” Shannonhouse said. “They’re becoming confident that, as individuals, we’ll struggle; but as a team, we can come together and do something special.
“If we keep them convinced that that will continue to happen, we might be able to do something this year,” Shannonhouse added.
Farrell (5-0, 10-0) forged a 23-7 first-quarter lead, coercing the Eagles into 9 turnovers. From that point the Steelers extended their edge to 42-19 by the break and 58-35 through 3 quarters.
Grove City (4-2, 9-2) suffered its second setback in the Shenango Valley (prior to the holidays, at Sharon), and the Eagles ended with 22 miscues and connected on only 17 of 42 floor shots (40.4 percent). Derek Turner tallied a team-high 16 points, but was the lone double-digit scorer. Danny Torok dished out 5 assists, also.
“Our team defense was unbelievable (Friday) night,” Shannonhouse said. “I thought that they really made up their minds before the game that they wanted to defend, and they know that’s their bread ’n butter.
“They got in the locker room, by themselves on their own, and decided, ‘Hey, we’re gonna go out and defend our court and make a statement that we can play defense.’” Shannonhouse related. “They got back on that defensive track. After the last game (70 points permitted to Meadville) I was a little concerned. But they said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna make a statement: We’re a defensive team,’ and that’s exactly what they did. They came out and made a great defensive statement.”
Also for Farrell, Ike Jones joined in with 12 points and 5 rebounds, while Tyrone Archie annexed a game-high 9 rebounds, leading the Steelers to a 35-23 edge.
“They controlled the inside, and they got on the glass,” Shannonhouse praised.
Though only at the regular season’s midway point, unblemished won-loss records get peoples’ attention.
“It’s hard to tell, especially a youngster nowadays, ‘Hey, you’re ten-and-oh, but you still need a lot of work,’ it’s hard to convince them of that,” Shannonhouse explained, “as opposed to being oh-and-ten and saying, ‘Hey, man, you need some work,’ and them saying, ‘Yeah, I know that.’
“But we’re got some good senior leadership here. They want to win, and they want to win big,” Shannonhouse continued. “So we’re gonna ride that, we’re gonna ride those guys. I like their attitude. They come to work every day, and they’re playing hard.
“And the biggest thing,” Shannonhouse concluded, “is that they’re sold on the defensive end, and I can’t say enough about that. They’re sold on the defensive end, and if we defend, we win.” — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Hickory 68, Franklin 42 — In Hermitage, the Hornets of coach Geoff Evans burst out of the locker room to build an 18-6 lead after one quarter and rolled to the Region 5-AAA triumph.
“We came out in a box-and-one that gave them problems early,” said Evans. “And then (Ross) Passalinqua came off the bench in the second quarter and hit three threes to really open it up.
“It was a good win. It’s nice to piggyback that win with the one from Saturday (over Oil City).”
Hickory (3-3 in Region 5-AAA, 7-2 overall) was led by Passalinqua with 18 points, including 4 treys. In a well-balanced attack, Aaron Conley added 9 points and Nick Tantuo, Anthony Cannone and Donte Green 8 apiece.
Franklin (1-4, 3-6) was paced by Drain with 15 markers.
ä West Middlesex 76, Greenville 65 — At Greenville, the 2-time defending District 10 titlist Big Reds rolled to an 18-point lead entering the 4th frame, then withstood the Trojans’ ill-fated rally.
Middlesex mustered a 57-39 lead through 3 quarters in the Region 2-AA affair that saw 19 field goals from 3-point range.
Ryan Dogan drilled 6 triples en route to a career-high 24 points for Middlesex (3-0, 6-4), while Trey Staunch and Isaac Williams evenly divided an additional 34 markers.
Tyler Fattman fired in 5 from beyond the arc for a team-high 18 points for Greenville (0-4, 6-5), which dropped its 2nd straight outing in a 24-hour span. Also, Aaron Emmett ended with 16 and Luke Houpt hit a trio of treys for 14.
No boxscore was reported to The Herald.
ä Oil City 60, George Junior Republic 57 — At Grove City, Logan Way made 1-of-2 foul shots in the closing seconds and GJR’s long-range bomb fell short as the Oilers (3-2, 8-2) defeated the Tigers (1-4, 3-6) in a Region 5-AAA clash.
Way rifled in 29 points to pace Oil City and Devon Geib bucketed 10.
Ron Pearson drained 5 treys en route to 24 points for GJR while Malik Gibson had 14 points and 7 rebounds and Qayshawn Oliver grabbed 13 boards.
Eric Fuller did not play for GJR (disciplinary reasons).
ä Kennedy Catholic 79, VisionQuest 59 — In Hermitage, the host Golden Eagles moved to 2-0 in Region 1-A with the victory. Kennedy is 5-3 overall.
The game was locked at 19 after one period, but KC outscored the visitors 17-8 in the 2nd period to pull away.
Gerald Zachar scored 17 to pace the Golden Eagles, while Nickolo Lima added 13 points and Andre Campbell and Sam Crow chipped in with a dozen apiece.
Darnell Foster and Khyzeem Brown each had 18 for VisionQuest (0-1, 1-7).
ä Wilmington 66, Mercer 53 — At Mercer, the Greyhounds broke away from a 43-all tie in the fourth quarter to notch the Region 2-AA victory.
Wilmington was leading 20-12 after the first period and 31-27 at half, but the Mustangs rallied to deadlock the count after three frames. However, the Hounds outgunned the hosts 23-10 in the final quarter.
Wilmington (3-0 in Region 2-AA, 7-3 overall) was paced by Jordan Smith with 18 points and Rocco Fagan with 15. For Mercer (1-4, 5-6), Alex VanWoert hit for 14, Logan Clarke 13 and Trent Fowler 11.
ä Sharpsville 43, Reynolds 42 — At Sharpsville, the Blue Devils of coach Jim Smiley held serve at home in a much-needed Region 2-AA victory.
The win lifted Sharpsville to 2-2 in the region (5-6 overall) while the loss was the first in the league for Reynolds (3-1, 8-2).
Reynolds led 11-7 after the first period and 21-19 at halftime. However, Sharpsville outscored the visitors, 17-10 in the third period to go on top. In a furious final frame, the Devils were able to grab the victory.
Kyle Kennedy and Greg Popatak led the Devils with 13 and 12 points respectively. Garhett Frable and Jake Leipheimer each had 11 points for Reynolds.
ä Brookfield 61, Conneaut 38 — At Brookfield, the Warriors (7-3) led 20-16 after the opening quarter and 39-26 at the break and cruised past the visitors from Ashtabula County.
Caleb Hunkus fired in a game-high 15 points for Brookfield, Davon Sims scored a dozen and Nate Johnson added 11 markers.
Richie Burr led the way for Conneaut with 12 points.
ä Commodore Perry 41, Calvary Baptist Christian Academy 32 — At Sheakleyville, the host Panthers prevailed in the non-region affair.
CBCA pounced on the Panthers for a 14-7 first-quarter lead, but from that point CP posted 34 points in the game’s final 24 minutes.
Jeremiah Small scored 10 tallies for CP (4-5) and Tanner Hildebran hit another 9.
Calvary Baptist Christian Academy was led by McCrillis’ game-high dozen points.
ä Rocky Grove 75, Jamestown 41 — At Jamestown, the visiting Orioles soared to the Region 1-A opening road rout.
Garrett Gannoe garnered a game-high 21 points, Tyler Davis divided an additional 26 points with Casey Young, and Adam Kirwin connected for 11 for The Grove (1-0, 2-6).
Jamestown (0-2, 0-7) was led by Kyle Melton’s 10 markers and 12 rebounds, while Todd Depree divided 16 points with Austin Kilgore. Depree and Willie Graham grabbed 6 and 7 rebounds, respectively.
No boxscore was reported to The Herald.
ä Kennedy Catholic 51, Grove City 40 — At Grove City, the visiting Lady Golden Eagles battled from behind in the 4th quarter to pull out the inter-region victory.
“We went into a three-quarter-court trap and forced a lot of turnovers,” said KC coach Chris Mele about the final-frame rally. “We shot really well from the foul line. We build up a lead then went 12 of 16 from the foul line which was good.
“I’m really proud of the girls. We were down three at the end of the third quarter and were a little big of foul trouble. It was a great effort. Grove City is a really good team.”
Kennedy led 8-7 after the opening period, but Grove City went on top 23-18 at intermission. The host Eagles were up 33-30 at the 4th-quarter turn.
Kennedy (7-1) was paced by April Bocian and Rebekah Kish with 14 points each, while Taylor Hood added 13.
For Grove City (7-3), Jenn Ferguson hit for a dozen markers, while Corianne Hyduchak added 11.
ä Commodore Perry 35, Farrell 34 — At Sheakleyville, coach Bob Messina’s Lady Panthers (1-0, 7-4) edged the Lady Steelers (0-1, 2-8) in a thrilling Region 1-A opener for both teams.
Farrell led 10-7 after the opening 8 minutes, but were outscored 10-1 in the 2nd quarter as CP took a 17-11 lead at halftime. The Lady Panthers led 22-17 after 3 quarters and Farrell held a 17-13 advantage in scoring in the 4th.
The Lady Steelers went up 34-31 with 38 seconds to go, but CP’s Stephanie Vaughn drained a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to tie it at 34-all. Farrell got the ball back, but missed a shot and the ball went out of bounds. CP’s Sarah Nagy then drove for a lay-up and was fouled. She sank the winning foul shot with 1.4 seconds left.
Vaughn finished with 11 points for CP while Emily Kitchen recorded a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Farrell’s Bria Gambill, who turned her ankle and missed the majority of Thursday night’s loss to Brookfield, scored 11 for the Lady Steelers.
“It was a gut-it-out, grind-it-out kind of game,” said Messina. “The girls played their hearts out. It was just a great effort and I’m proud of them.”
ä Reynolds 34, Fort LeBoeuf 19 — At Waterford, the only two teams ever to win District 10 Team Duals titles collided in what could be a precursor of post-season action.
The Raiders of coach Casey Taylor rolled to victory this time to move to 10-1 on the season, while the Bison dropped to 5-1.
Levi Stoyer (145), Cole Rickert (220) and Mike Bartolo (126) notched falls to spark the Raiders, while Austin Moffett (170) copped a major decision.
ä Slippery Rock 56, Sharon 45 — At Sharon on Thursday, the Rockets beat the Tigers. Winners were:
200 free: Luch Tomasello (Sn), 2:10.78.
200 IM: Dylan Cerroni (Sn), 2:12.06.
50 free: Austin France (SR), 24.38.
100 free: Clayton Cupec (SR), 1:01.85.
500 free: Cerroni (Sn), 5:20.28.
200 relay: France, Cupec, Dan Masterson, Johnston (SR), 1:50.75.
100 back: Matt Johnston (SR), 1:14.81.
100 breast: France (SR), 1:16.21.
400 relay: Johnston, Masterson, Cupec, France (SR), 4:07.12
ä Slippery Rock 113, Sharon 29 — At Sharon Thursday, the Lady Rockets rolled past the Lady Tigers.
200 MR: Fair Reott, Broad Shumway (SR), 2:14.47.
200 free: Abigail Parsons (SR), 2:10.63.
200 IM: Lindsey Lueken (SR), 2:31.93.
50 free: Mari Reott (SR), 28.32.
100 free: Anna Beckert (Sn), 1:02.34.
500 free: Parsons (SR), 5:37.43.
200 relay: Tabitha Donaldson, Reott, Lueken, Parsons (SR), 1:44.47.
100 back: Donaldson (SR), 1:14.06.
100 breast: Lueken (SR), 1:14.37.
400 relay: Donaldson, Shumway, Lueken, Parsons (SR), 4:16.54.
Who’s your favorite Farrell High guard? Kind’ve like choosing your favorite child.
GC coach Bell retired — sort of!
You can take the man out of coaching, but you can’t take coaching out of the man.
Former Grove City High football coach Jeff Bell has spent his first few months of retirement hearing the ping of a baseball ricocheting off an aluminum bat instead of clap of shoulder pads coming together.
“My grandson Maddox (Bell) and a few of his friends play on a traveling team, so I’m helping out with that,” said Bell, who retired as the Eagles’ football coach this past winter. “They’re a good group of kids to work with and this is a lot more enjoyable. It’s a lot less stress.
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NFL NOTEBOOK: Ex-Sharon star Austin hopes to spark Lions' defense
THE TALENTED — albeit underachieving — Detroit Lions commence camp July 27 in Allen Park, Mich. as the National Football League prepares for the 2014 season.
Racing to fight cancer
Former Hickory High athlete Amanda Budzowski is on the run — the run to raise money to fight cancer.
Budzowski is part of Team in Training, an organization that has raised more than $1.4 billion for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since forming in 1988. Her division is known as IRONTEAM and she is currently training for the 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon in Mont Tremblant, Canada, in August.
SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians need fast start after All-Star break
SO FAR, so good. I’m referring to the start of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians after the All-Star break on Friday night.
Both teams rallied to win. The Buccos beat the Colorado Joints — err, I mean Rockies — by coming from behind in the 8th inning. Since they legalized marijuana sales in that state, it gave new meaning to John Denver’s song “Rocky Mountain High.”
Rutters earn spot in national motocross event
The brother-sister racing duo of Elijah and Dannah Rutter of Mercer are set to travel to Hurricane Mills, Tenn., to compete soon in the prestigious 33rd annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships presented by AMSOIL at Loretta Lynn Ranch.
Elijah, 18, and Dannah, 16, earned a ticket to the event with their performances at qualifiers and then regionals and are among the top 5 percent of riders in the U.S. Overall, 20,000 hopefuls from across the U.S. competed and there are only 1,446 qualifying spots at nationals.
Notebook: Sharon football greats meet, reunite at inaugural golf scramble
Mid-July, with the temperature 80-plus degrees at Avalon at Buhl Country Club; however, it felt like a fall, football Friday.
The inaugural Sharon Football Boosters 4-man golf scramble took place recently, and served as a Who’s Who in the Tigers’ triumphant tradition.
SPORTVIEW: All is right with the world - LeBron has come home!
HAPPY DAYS are here again. The prodigal child has returned!
The announcement that “King James” is returning to Cleveland has created a level of euphoria not seen since the Browns won the city’s last major sport championship a couple of years ago.
What’s that? Oh, yeah — make that 50 years ago (1964).
Full text of LeBron's essay in SI
LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday in an essay that he wrote for Sports Illustrated. The following is the full text of that essay.
Snyder, Gordon, Popatak named to All-State team
Grove City High’s David Gordon, Sharpsville’s Greg Popatak and Lakeview’s Logan Snyder recently were named to the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association all-state team.
Synder was selected 1st-Team in Class A as a designated-hitter, while Gordon was honorably-mentioned in Class AAA and Popatak similarly was honored in AA. Gordon gained his laurels as a pitcher; Popatak as a 3rd baseman.
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Little League Tournaments
Sharon won the District 2 Major Division (12-year-olds) Championship, while Greenville 9-10 and West Middlesex 11 teams notched tournament victories in recent action.
Hermitage Brennan Chiropractic won the Mercer County 14-under championship recently.
Following are game reports:
The First Tee of Sharon celebrates 15th anniversary
Professional golf star John Cook has received many honors and awards in his illustrious career, but probably none mean as much as those similar to the one he received Monday afternoon at The First Tee of Sharon.
During a special ceremony to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the local program, a permanent plaque was unveiled in his honor describing the contributions he has made to junior golf.
SPORTVIEW: John Cook here Monday for First Tee; other celebs on July 11
THE RETURN of Tiger Woods to a PGA event sparked a lot of interest this past week. The return of John Cook to Buhl Farm Golf Course Monday will do the same locally.
Cook, a standout on the Champions Tour and outstanding TV golf analyst, will conduct a clinic at 11 a.m. Monday at the course to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of The First Tee of Sharon program.
It is open to the public at no charge.
Hickory honors Tri-Athletes
Hickory High honored its 2013-14 tri-athletes in a recent ceremony, the latest installment in a program that began in 2003-04.
Fifty student-athletes (grades 9-12) were cited for having competed in at least one sport in the fall, winter and spring while maintaining a minimum B (85 percent) grade-point-average during the first three 9-week grading periods of the academic year.
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- GC coach Bell retired — sort of!