Who: Hickory (25-0) vs. Greater Johnstown (11-14).
What: PIAA Playoffs, 1st round.
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Slippery Rock University.
Top Players: Hickory — Nikki Arbanas, 5-7 Sr. (18.8); Holly Grober, 5-11 Sr. (13.7); Nicole LaCava, 5-10 Jr. (9.3); Brandi Beader, 5-9 Jr. (6.4); Megan Chess, 5-4 Jr. (4.8); Reganne O’Brien, 5-8 Soph. (3.5). Greater Johnstown — TaShayla Smith, 5-10 Jr. (14.8); Lexi Lindrose, 5-6 Soph. (13.0); Robyn Madison, 5-7 Soph. (6.1); Ikeiah Burns, 5-7 Jr. (6.0); LaTavia Butler, Fresh. (4.0); Janay Myers, 5-8 Jr. (3.6).
Bonus Shots: After rolling through the regular season practically unchallenged, coach Jeanette Whitehead’s (18th year) Lady Hornets, who are ranked 6th in the state by the Harrisburg Patriot-News/PennLive, made a big statement on Saturday with a 39-24 win over Villa Maria (ranked 5th) in the District 10 title game at Meadville High School. Villa, which played some top-notch teams throughout the state and country during the regular season and has won 3 recent state titles and played in 6 state title games, led 20-13 at halftime, but Hickory outscored Villa 16-0 in the 3rd quarter and 10-4 in the 4th to win its first district 10 title since 1983 when the team was coached by Mercer County Hall-of-Famer Sally Ward. Arbanas scored 14 points and LaCava had 10 to lead the locals. ... Hickory beat Region 3 champ Conneaut Area (45-23) in the D-10 quarterfinals and Mercyhurst Prep (62-42) in the semis. Conneaut also had a pair of 1,000-point scorers in Kristen Baker and Challen Litwiler. ... Prior to the 15-point win over Villa, the closest game Hickory had all year was a 17-point victory over 2-time defending D-10 champion Franklin on Jan. 30 at “The Castle” in Franklin. The first time Hickory played Franklin this season, the Lady Hornets blew out the Knights by 51 points (74-23) at “The Hive” on Jan. 8. ... Last year, Villa beat Hickory (49-37) in the semifinals, but the Lady Hornets responded with a 50-43 win vs. Mercyhurst Prep in the consolation game. Hickory fell to eventual state champion South Park (71-44) in the 1st round of the PIAAs. South Park beat Bethlehem Catholic (53-38) in the state title game. It was the 2nd straight year that South Park eliminated Hickory in the state playoffs. ... Coach Rich Price’s (2nd year) Lady Trojans of Greater Johnstown are a young squad that has played some good competition this season. They compete in the Laurel Highlands Conference in District 6. ... GJ started the season 0-2 after falling to Greater Latrobe (62-41) and Indiana Area (62-55) at the Indiana Tipoff Tourney. Then they beat Cambria Heights before falling to 1-6 with losses to Bishop Carroll, Penn Cambria, Ligonier Valley and Greater Latrobe again. They’ve also lost twice to Bishop McCort and Westmont Hilltop and District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle. ... GJ, the No. 6 seed in the D-6 playoffs, beat No. 3 Forest Hills (50-48) in the quarterfinals, No. 2 Westinghouse (63-51) in the semifinals and fell to Huntingdon (38-35) in the D-6 championship game at Mount Aloysius College. ... Against Westinghouse, Lindrose rifled in 30 points and Smith scored 13. ... In the D-6 title tilt, Huntingdon’s Ellie Keller scored with less than 30 seconds left to play on a bank-shot jumper and Butler's 3-point shot to tie the game fell short. Smith had 10 points and 15 rebounds for GJ and Lindrose scored 9. It was the first district title for Huntingdon since 1988. GJ hasn’t won a D-6 title since 2002. ... GJ was 6-17 last year. Prior to this season, they had 36 wins in the past 7 years. ... The game will be simulcast on News-Talk 790 (WPIC AM) and SportsRadio 96.7 (WLLF FM) with Slezak and Bob Greenburg calling the action.
Who: Mercer (18-6) vs. Greensburg Central Catholic (19-5).
What: PIAA playoffs, 1st round
When: 6 p.m. Friday.
Where: Sharon High School.
Top Players: Mercer — Alexis Arkwright, 5-8 Sr. (16.6); Megan McKinney, 5-6 Sr. (10.0); Adelyn Cook, 5-4 Jr. (7.8); Alexis Mills, 5-5 Sr. (6.3); Aubrie Angermeier, 5-7 Soph. (5.3); Jordan Fisher, 5-1 Sr. (5.2). Greensburg Central Catholic — Carolyn Appleby, 5-6 Jr. (20.3); Nikki Addisey, Jr. (13.6); Leah Bisignani, 6-3 Jr.; Abbey Marigliano, 5-6 Jr.; Morgan Stunja, 5-9 Jr.
Bonus Shots: Coach Aaron Cook’s (3rd year) Mercer Lady M’s suffered a tough 38-31 loss to Gen. McLane in the District 10 title game on Saturday at Edinboro University. Mercer, which was attempting to become the school’s first girls team to win a district title since 1986, led 27-19 entering the 4th quarter and was outscored 19-4. Arkwright had 17 points in the loss. Mercer had won 9 straight games before the loss. ... Mercer, the Region 2-AA co-champs with Sharon, beat Fairview (44-33) in the D-10 quarterfinals and Girard (48-38 in OT) in the semis. ... Arkwright has 1,295 career points. ... Mercer’s other 5 losses have come against Mohawk (40-38), Grove City (57-55), Hickory (63-28), Greenville (52-46) and Sharon (54-50). The Mohawk loss was in the Mohawk Tipoff Tourney while the loss to Hickory was in the championship game of the Sally Ward Classic. ... Last season, Mercer beat Girard (45-34) in the D-10 quarterfinals, lost to Gen. Mc-Lane (56-42) in the semis and then failed to advance to the PIAAs with a 48-29 loss to Sharpsville in the consolation game. ... Coach Joe Eisaman’s (1st year) GCC Lady Centurions are led by 3 returning starters in Appleby, Bisignani and Addisey. The team has 5 juniors, 9 freshmen and no seniors or sophomores. ... GCC was the WPIAL Section 3-AA champ with a perfect 12-0 record. ... GCC’s losses have come against Blackhawk (65-49 in Blackhawk Tipoff Tourney title game on Dec. 7 and 84-60 in Hempfield Christmas Tourney on Dec. 27), Serra Catholic (56-55) on Dec. 16, Upper St. Clair (51-50 regular season finalé) on Feb. 10 and fell to Burrell (51-47) in the WPIAL semfinals. Blackhawk won the WPIAL Class AAA championship and plays Mercyhurst Prep on Saturday, Upper St. Clair is a AAAA team and Serra faces Cochranton Saturday. ... In the WPIAL playoffs, GCC ousted Laurel (50-43) and Carlynton (63-61) before falling to Burrell. ... Against Carlynton, Appleby had 22 points, Bisignani bucketed 19 and Addisey added 17 points. ... Against Burrell, GCC led 26-22 at halftime, but was outscored 17-7 in the 3rd quarter. Appleby rifled in 26 points. ... Burrell improved to 25-0 with that win, the only undefeated team in the WPIAL and made its first WPIAL title game appearance, falling to Seton-LaSalle (55-34). Seton, which is led by 3 Pitt recruits, captured its 3rd WPIAL crown in 4 seasons (6th overall). ... The last time GCC appeared in the WPIAL title tilt was in 2007. ... GCC, which has made at least 11 straight PIAA playoff appearances, has been a thorn in the side of D-10 teams in the state playoffs. They ousted Sharon (49-45) in the 2nd round in 2010-11, ousted Lakeview 3 straight years 63-47 in 06-07 in the 2nd round, 69-48 in 05-06 in the quarterfinals and 49-46 in 04-05 in the quarters and ousted Seneca (50-32) in the quarters in 2003-04. ... Both Mercer and GCC are honorable mention squads in the state basketball rankings by the Harrisburg Patriot-News/-PennLive. ... Last year, GCC went 18-8 and lost to Seton-LaSalle (58-38) in the 2nd round of the state playoffs. ... The game will be simulcast on NewsTalk 790 (WPIC AM) and SportsRadio 96.7 (WLLF FM) with Slezak and Greenburg calling the action.
Who: Kennedy Catholic (21-2) vs. California (19-4).
What: PIAA playoffs, 1st round.
When: 4 p.m., Saturday.
Where: Slippery Rock University.
Top Players: Kennedy Catholic — Taylor Hood, 5-5 Sr. (12.3 ppg.); April Bocian, 6-2 Soph. (10.9); Tatum Kress, 5-9 Jr. (10.0); Rebekah Kish, 5-5 Jr. (9.3); Taylor Zacherl, 5-4 Soph. (5.6). California — Kylie Huffman, 6-1 Fresh. (15.6); Jenna Miller, 5-8 Fresh. (9.3); Tristen Conaway, 5-7 Sr. (8.6); Kat Pankratz, 5-6 Jr. (3.5); Dominique Gaston, 5-9 Fresh. (2.7); Brooke Clements, 5-3 Jr. (2.6).
Bonus Shots: First-year KC coach Chris Mele guided his Lady Golden Eagles to their 4th straight District 10 title on Saturday and 10th in 14 seasons (21 overall). Bocian had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Kress bucketed 14 as KC beat Cochranton, 49-38, for the crown for the 2nd straight year. KC trailed 22-16 at halftime and rallied to win. ... KC beat Cochranton, 67-45, for the district title last year. ... KC, which is on a 14-game winning streak and is ranked 6th in the state by the Harrisburg Patriot-News/PennLive), has lost to Neshannock (60-56) on Dec. 9 and to Hollidaysburg (52-39) on Jan. 11 at Gateway Fest at Gateway High School. Neshannock (22-2), which lost to Bishop Canevin in the WPIAL quarterfinals, plays Gen. McLane in the 1st round of the PIAAs on Friday at Meadville High School and is ranked 7th in the state. Hollidaysburg, the defending District 6 Class AAAA champs, fell to Altoona Area in the D-6 semifinals. ... KC went 24-3 last year. They beat North Catholic (45-36) and Port Allegany (70-21) in the PIAA playoffs and then Vincentian Academy (68-51) ended their season ffor the 2nd straight year. Vincentian ended up losing the state championship game to Tri-Valley, 59-42. ... Coach Chris Minerd’s (4th year) California Lady Trojans, ranked 10th in the state, were the WPIAL Section 3-A champs with a 10-0 record and are led by freshman Huffman, who also averages 11.4 rebounds per game. ... Cal has played good defense this season, only allowing its opponents 31.7 points per game. ... The Trojans lost to Brownsville (38-26) and Chartiers-Houston (44-27) in the Brownsville Tipoff Tourney on Dec. 6-7, fell to Brentwood (41-33) in the California Christmas Tourney on Dec. 29 and lost to Serra Catholic (60-40) in the WPIAL semifinals at Baldwin High School on Feb. 26. ... In that game vs. Serra, the 1st time California had ever reached a WPIAL semifinal game, Cal jumped out to a 15-6 lead, but was outscored 11-2 in the 2nd quarter. Huffman scored with 10 seconds left in the 1st quarter and then Cal didn’t score another field goal until Huffman’s basket with 5:21 left in the 3rd frame. She finished with 14 points and it snapped Cal’s 13-game winning streak. ... Serra ended up losing the WPIAL championship game to No. 1 state-ranked Vincentian (66-46). It was Vincentian’s 3rd straight D-7 title. ... California beat Cornell (38-25) in the 1st round of the WPIAL playoffs and defeated (Cardinal Wuerl) North Catholic (45-43) in the quarterfinals. ... In the upset win over 3rd-seeded North Catholic, Miller fired in 18 points for 6th-seeded Cal, Conaway had 14 and Huffman scored 9. North Catholic had a 5-point lead with only 1:10 left, but Cal went on a 9-2 run to close out the game. It was the first time since 2007-08 that NC didn’t advance to the WPIAL semifinals. ... Last season, the Lady Trojans went 14-8 and lost to Quigley Catholic (81-38) in the 1st round of the WPIAL playoffs. ... The game will be broadcast on NewsTalk 790 (WPIC AM) with Ryan Briggs and Chris Burtch calling the action.
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.
Oprah lands first interview with Jerry Sandusky's adopted son, Matthew
Matthew Sandusky, the adopted son of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, is breaking his silence for the first time since his father's 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, sitting down with Oprah to tell his story.
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.
SPORTVIEW: Ex-Greenville man to enter Bedford County Hall
HUGHEY TATE was the greatest baseball player that ever lived — hitting 10,000 home runs and never making an out in 50 years on the diamond.
OK, that’s not true of course. But that’s the way Hughey would have told it before bursting into laughter.
Tate, a Greenville man who was as good at spinning a yarn as well as he was in hitting home runs, will be inducted posthumously into the Bedford County (Pa.) Hall of Fame Saturday. Some of his relatives from this area will attend the ceremonies.
Wilson wins Herald-Tamie Jr. golf crown
It was a case of family history trumping golfing history!
Hickory High golfer Billy Colbert had a chance to become only the second player ever to win the Herald-Tam O’Shanter Golf Championship four times. But he missed the final round of the tourney Wednesday along with his brother Colbert to attend his great-grandma’s funeral in Pittsburgh.
“I kind of wish he was here,” said the 2014 champion Jacob Wilson, a Kennedy Catholic High player who lost in a sudden-death playoff to Colbert last year. “But you play whoever is here. And in golf, you play against yourself too.”
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