The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Sports

December 29, 2013

Roundup: Hickory cops Sally Ward title; Farrell beats WM at Dresch-McCluskey

- — Like a runaway freight train or tropical storm, Hickory High girls’ basketball team has devastated everything in its path one-third of the way through the 2013-14 season.

The Lady Hornets humbled Mercer, 63-28, during Saturday’s matinee in the 4th annual Sally Ward Holiday Classic title tilt.

Tourney MVP Holly Grober garnered a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double, while Nicole Lacava lent 14 points and snared 7 caroms, Youngstown State University-bound Nikki Arbanas added 14 points, and Megan Chess dished out a team-high 4 assists. Sharing the ball, a Hickory hallmark, also had Arbanas, Grober and Brandi Beader evenly dividing an additional 9 assists.

Class AAA Hickory (8-0) harvested 23 of 54 floor shots (40.7 percent) and outrebounded Mercer, 43-20. The Lady Hornets limited leading Lady M’s scorer Lexi Arkwright to only 5 points — more than 12 below her per-game average — and only 7 field-goal attempts.

“I think we implemented our game plan. We certainly were concerned. We needed to know where Arkwright was, she’s such a great ballplayer,” 18th-year Hickory Head Coach Jeanette Whitehead (261-164) said. “I thought Brandi Beader, with the support of her teammates, did a very nice job of focusing in where (Arkwright) was.

“We played very well from start to finish, a total team effort,” Whitehead continued. “When you can put eleven girls on the floor and not lose any (potency) at all, that’s a tribute to the kids being focused, being hungry — just that burning desire to do well.”

It was a wire-to-wire win, as Hickory led 17-5 at the quarter, built a 31-8 margin at intermission, and extended its edge to 50-22 through 3 quarters.

For Class AA Mercer (5-3), Adelyn Cook collected 11 points. However the Lady M’s made 20 miscues and misfired on 34 of 46 floor shots (26 percent) against Hickory’s variety of man-for-man and zone traps.

In addition to the Walsh University-bound Grober — who has scored 1,203 career points — Arbanas (975), Lacava, Arkwright, Gen. McLane’s Michelle Jahn, and Erie-Central’s Abby Klemm were chosen to the All-Tourney Team.

McLane mustered a 48-35 win in the consolation contest.

Hickory has a non-league game Monday at Beaver Falls — not Canfield, as originially scheduled, Whitehead noted — before it commences Region 5-AAA play in earnest Jan. 6 against Franklin.

“We’re takin’ it, clearly, one game at a time,” Whitehead emphasized. “In practice we’re just trying to work hard. Right now, we’re one-and-oh, and that’s where it’s at.

“That being said, seeing the parity out there, other teams that we’re gonna be facing, they’re doing very well. So we definitely have to be ready game by game. Anything can happen on a given night. We recognize there still are some flaws — there are — and we’re trying to patch those holes. We recognize where they are; I’m just hoping that we can get them patched before region play. That’s when it truly is what’s on the line.

“When it’s all said and done,” Whitehead concluded, “we’ve gotta be ready to put it together.” — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Dresch-McCluskey Championship

ä Farrell 64, West Middlesex 58 —
The Steelers of coach Roland Shannonhouse held off a determined Big Reds squad in the final minutes to clinch the tourney title.

In a clash of two of the Mercer County area’s top clubs this season, the AAA Steelers prevailed over the defending District 10 AA titlists.

Despite the loss, it was a huge night for West Middlesex’s junior ace Trey Staunch. Staunch pumped in 30 points and went over the 1,000-point plateau for his career. He has a career total of 1,019. The state-ranked Big Reds fell to 4-4, but the losses have come against top competition.

Farrell moved to 8-0 and was led by Malik Miller with 26 points and Clifton McNair with 18.

Conneaut Area Boosters Championship

ä North East 51, Reynolds 45 —
The win streak of the Reynolds Raiders was halted at 6 straight by the Grapepickers as North East knocked down 10 3-pointers.

“They were all contested,” said Reynolds coach Dan Kilgore. “North East was on fire. They played really well and we didn’t play well at all ... lots of turnovers ... sloppy play.

“We start league play next week and this will take the pressure off a little bit. Sometimes it’s good to get knocked back down to Earth.”

The hottest player on the court was North East star Brenden Tinko who scored 28 points, canning 6 treys. McCauley added 10 points.

For Reynolds, Garhett Frable led the way with 18 points, while Cory Woods added 12.

Greenville Tourney

ä Mercer 81, Jamestown 9 —
At Greenville, the Mustangs stampeded out to a 35-2 first-quarter lead and never trailed.

Logan Clarke collected a game-high 23 points and 5 assists, Nate Guiler garnered 16 points, and Jon Scheidhauer tallied 10.

Mercer improved to 4-3; Jamestown fell to 0-5.

ä Greenville 71, Ft. LeBoeuf 34 — At Greenville, coach Todd Nehlen’s Trojans improved to 5-2 with the rout over the Bison.

Andy Emmett fired in 13 points for Greenville while Tyler Fattman, Andy Jones and Christian Riggle all scored 12. Andy and Matt Jones had 5 steals each.

Josh Greggs led the way for Ft. LeBoeuf with 10 points.

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