The venue was E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, but Friday night it was all West Middlesex.
Both the Big Reds and Ms. Reds won semifinals at the annual Dresch-McCluskey Holiday tourney, thereby earning berths in today’s title tilts.
The Big Reds avenged a setback at Sharon earlier this season via a 60-46 victory, following the Ms. Reds’ 54-42 win over Farrell. West Middlesex girls will meet Chartiers-Houston, a 40-37 winner over Sharpsville, while Farrell faces the Big Reds in the nightcap.
ä West Middlesex 60, Sharon 46 — Unlike the first meeting, the Tigers turned over the ball 17 times, and their full-court traps did not phase the Reds’ press-breaker.
“That’s one thing we do, we spend twenty-five minutes to a half-hour on that every night, then we finish with it for five-ten minutes,” mused Middlesex mentor Chad Mild, who emphasized, “especially after the last time we played these guys (27 Middlesex miscues in a 72-56 loss).
“We knew we’d struggle a little bit early this year, but we figured we’d be a different team by the time (Region 2-AA) play rolls around, and I think we’re headed in the right direction,” Mild added.
Despite combining for only 15 field-goal attempts, Big Reds’ bigs Trey Staunch and Josh Porterfield pounded Sharon in the paint. Staunch secured a 12-point, 14-rebound double-double, while Porterfield produced 16 points.
“Trey and Josh pose a lot of problems, they’re very big (stout),” Mild noted. “I thought they hit the offensive glass real nice. The second half (when Sharon shot 8 for 27 from the floor), especially at the defensive end, they altered a lot of shots, so I’m pleased with where we’re at right now.”
Christian Porterfield pumped in a game-high 21 points, sinking 6 of 8 first-half shots, though Sharon shaved a 26-23 margin at intermission.
But the Big Reds rolled to a 32-31 lead with 4:01 remaining in the 3rd period as Ryan Dogan delivered to Josh Porterfield in the paint, and Middlesex never trailed thereafter.
Led by the sharpshooting Staunch’s 6-for-8 effort, Middlesex made 15 of 19 freebies (73.6 percent), including 10 of 14 during the 4th frame. Isaac Williams went 4-for-4, and also dished out a game-high 5 assists.
As the new year approaches Middlesex (4-3) is looking to defend its back-to-back District 10 titles (A, AA).
“From where we started out at the beginning of this year until now, there’s been drastic improvement,” Mild assessed, cautioning, “There’s still a long way to go — we need to improve on defense and we need to take care of the ball (20 miscues Friday night) and handling the pressure — but I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
For Sharon (4-2), which had a 4-game win skein snapped, ’Bray Jennings jolted Middlesex fora team-high 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting, including a trio of treys. However Sharon shot only 17 for 44 (38.6 percent) from the field. Also, Jamal Waller went for 13 points but fouled out.
Middlesex made half of its 40 floor shots and outrebounded Sharon, 30-20. Sharon shot just 9 for 13 from the line — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Farrell 81, New Brighton 53 — In the day’s nightcap, the host Steelers stormed to the rout
Farrell (7-0) finished with 30 field goals and converted 16 of 25 freebies.
Malik Miller mustered 12 markers, Dewayne Burns and Jamel Brown bucketed 10 each, and Ike Jones joined Chris James in splitting 18 additional points.
For Brighton, Zeph Rombold recorded 14 points.
Greenville Holiday Tourney
ä Mercer 63, Fort LeBoeuf 55 — They say that defense wins ballgames in football. Sometimes in basketball, it’s the same story.
The Mercer Mustangs of coach Doug Schmid trailed 51-44 after three quarters, but turned up the defense in the final frame and outscored the Bison, 19-4, for the victory. A big difference in the contest was that the Mustangs converted 23 of 35 foul shots, while LeBoeuf made only 6 of 11.
Jake Schmid led the charge for Mercer (3-3) in the final quarter with 8 points, while Jon Scheidhauer added 5. For the game, Scheidhauer pumped in 22 points, while Logan Clarke added 12 and Schmid 10.
For LeBoeuf, Miller was the big gun with 23 points, including 5 treys.
Grove City Tourney
ä Harbor Creek 69, George Junior Republic 55 — A close game turned against the Tigers in the third quarter when they were outscored 25-6 by the Huskies. GJR actually led 33-32 at halftime.
Adam Whitecome had 19 points and Issac Matson 18 to pace the winners. For GJR (2-4) which fell into today’s consolation game, Eric Fuller led the way with 23 points.
ä Grove City 74, Sharpsville 44 — The home team jumped out to a 21-10 lead in the opening period and never looked back in moving to the tourney title tilt.
The Eagles, who will take on Harbor Creek in the championship game at 7:30 tonight, led 40-10 at halftime. Grove City (6-1) was paced by Derek Turner with 19 points, while Foster Reznor added 17 and Danny Torok 13.
Sharpsville (3-4) was led by Kennedy with 13 points and Barringer with 10. The Blue Devils will take on George Junior in the consy game at 6 p.m.
Conneaut Boosters Holiday Tourney
ä Reynolds 77, Maplewood 34 — In Thursday’s semifinal, the Raiders rolled, running out to a 73-32 lead, effectively mercy-ruling Maplewood.
For Reynolds (6-0), Cory Woods went for 15, Garhett Frable fired in 12, as did both Anthony Beck and Kyle McConnell, and Jake Leipheimer lent 10. The Raiders rifled in 10 triples for head coach Dan Kilgore.
Ronnie Klingensmith and Dane Barker both bucketed 10 tallies for Maplewood.
Reynolds will play in today’s title tilt at 5 p.m. They play the winner of Friday’s Conneaut Area vs. North East game.
Franklin Dick Russell Tourney
ä Franklin 41, Lakeview 21 — The Salors fell behind 14-8 after one period and never got back in the game against the host Knights.
Franklin was led by Rutherford and Green with 8 points apiece. Lakeview (3-4) was paced by Brandon Rice with 12 points.
Lakeview will play the consolation game today against John Moore of Toronto, Canada. Moore lost to John Hays of Cleveland in a close contest.
Dresch-McCluskey Holiday Tourney
ä West Middlesex 54, Farrell 42 — The Ms. Reds recorded a substantial sin-stripe surplus, converting 22 of 41, compared with 6 for 16 for Farrell.
Middlesex (6-3) manufactured balanced scoring, as Kristen White went for 14, Allie Staunch scored 11, Noelle Murray mustered 10 markers and Alyson Pierce produced 8 for 1st-year Head Coach Mike Williams.
For Farrell (2-5), Whitney Murray’s 12 markers were tops, but no other Lady Steeler scored in double figures.
Middlesex meets Char-Houston today at 5 p.m., preceded by the Sharpsville-Farrell consy contest at 3:30.
ä Chartiers-Houston 40, Sharpsville 37 — Char-Houston’s Abby Knetzer connected for a game-high 17 points, and the Bucs (5-2) braved Sharpsville’s second-half comeback bid (24-22).
For the Blue Devils (2-5), Madison Sloan scored 11 points, but ended as the only Sharpsville shooter in double digits. The Blue Devils also were without standout Madison Przicina (ankle), after starting the season without senior standout Megan Davis.
Sharpsville shot 12 for 13 from the line, but connected on only 13 fielders in 32 minutes.
Hickory Sally Ward Classic
ä Hickory 59, Gen. McLane 38 — The host Lady Hornets rolled to the championship of the tournament named after former Hickory High coaching great Sally Ward.
Hickory (7-0) will face Mercer in the title game at 5 p.m.
“It was good showing,” said Hickory coach Jeannette Whitehead. “The team showed a lot of balance.”
Hickory led 27-20 at intermission, then turned up the defense in holding the Lady Lancers to only 6 points in the third frame.
Holly Grober pumped in 19 points and Nikki Arbanas 15 to power the winners. Nicole LaCava pulled down 7 rebounds while Shawna Moore had 4 steals and Arbanas 5 assists.
For McLane, Katie Rodrigues led the way with 10.
ä Mercer 61, Central Tech 55 — The Lady M’s of coach Aaron Cook led 29-22 at halfltime, then held off a late rally by the Erie squad for the victory that jumped them into today’s championship game.
Mercer (4-2) was led by Lexie Arkwright with 24 points, while Megan McKinney added 14 and Alexis Mills 11. For Central, DePalma hit for 13.
8th annual PSU-Beaver Tourney
ä Kennedy Catholic 55, Rochester 32 — In Beaver County, the Lady Golden Eagles (5-1) eased to the rout of Rochester.
Tatum Kress and April Bocian boarded 11 times apiece. Bocian bucketed 13 points and Rebekah Kish conncted for 10. Also, Kress contributed 4 steals and 3 assists, Alivia O’Brien added 4 assists, and McKayla Fusco finished with 3 assists and 3 steals, according to 1st-year Head Coach Chris Mele.
McFraser fired in a game-high 17 points for Rochester.
Kennedy will contend with Beaver Area in today’s 6:30 p.m. title tilt Baver beat Shenango (no score reported).
Greenville Holiday Tourney
ä Greenville 47, Jamestown 21 — At Greenville, the Lady Trojans (4-2) led 9-4 after the opening quarter, 24-10 at the break and rolled past Jamestown (0-7).
Jillian Herrick scored 10 points to lead Greenville while MiKayla Keyser and Emily Robinson had 6 points each for the Lady Muskies.
Greenville plays Ft. LeBoeuf in the title game at 6 p.m. tonight while Reynolds battles Jamestown in the consolation game. Stats on the Reynolds-LeBoeuf game were not reported to The Herald.
Conneaut Boosters Holiday Tourney
ä Grove City 53, Franklin 50 — Coach T.L. Eller’s Grove City girls held off a 4th-quarter rally by Franklin for a victory in the opening round of the Conneaut Tournament Thursday.
The Lady Eagles (6-1) moved to the tourney finals against Conneaut Area (6-1) at 7 p.m. tonight.
Brenna Deyarmin led the Lady Eagles with 19 points, including 4 treys. Jordyn Wyllie also hit double digits with 11 points. For Franklin, Starr led the way with 19.
The venue was E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, but Friday night it was all West Middlesex.
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.
SPORTVIEW: Johnny Football claims he has learned from his 'rookie mistakes'
HERE ARE some thoughts from a guy who might have made a few “rookie mistakes” in his life, ala Johnny Manziel.
Johnny Football admitted this past week that he made some rookie mistakes. Really?
Usually rookie mistakes for most NFL newbies are throwing into coverage or fumbling the football because you don’t tuck it tightly to your side.
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.
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- GC coach Bell retired — sort of!