For Sharpsville skipper Jim Smiley, success is slow but steady.
“ ... We have a saying: ‘We don’t want to be good, we want to try to be good,’ which means you’re always giving your best effort,” Smiley said.
With the Blue Devils’ defense limiting Lakeview, Sharpsville secured its 3rd consecutive success in Region 2-AA — by a total of 7 points — 41-39, Tuesday night at the Devils Den.
Sharpsville started the season in a win one/lose one mode, and at one point stood 3-5. However the Blue Devils decisioned Mercer (55-50), Reynolds (43-42) and Lakeview and are now 6-6 overall, 3-2 in Region 2-AA.
“ ... We have improved dramatically since the beginning of the season,” Smiley assessed.
The troika of Kyle Kennedy, Sage Barringer and Greg Popatak produced 37 points and 21 rebounds. Kennedy keyed Sharpsville with a game-high 15-point, 10-rebound double-double, including both ends of a 1-and-1 bonus free-throw situation with 35.1 ticks to play. That staked Sharpsville to a 39-34 lead.
Jake Doddo had a potential game-tying trey attempt from the top of the key, but misfired. Popatak rebounded with 8.6 seconds left, then popped in a pair of insurance freebies, which proved decisive for the Devils.
At the buzzer, Doddo drained a triple from the corner, but the Sailors came up shy, nonetheless.
At the season’s midway point the Sailors have yet to surpass the 50-point plateau in a game. Lakeview’s leading scorer, Brandon Rice, did not light the lamp until 6:02 remained, though Rice recorded all 8 of his points during the 4th frame. A 2nd Sailors’ starter from last season’s successful squad, Zach VanDusen, did not score, misfiring on 4 free-throw attempts.
Lakeview (1-3, 5-7) was led by 6-foot-4 sophomore post Matt Partridge, who posted 15 points and 8 caroms. However he was the Sailors’ lone double-figure scorer.
The Sailors shot only 15 for 41 from the floor (36.5 percent) and 50 percent from the line, while committing 11 miscues. in the paint Partridge battled Barringer all night. Barringer, the 6-5 senior, scored a dozen and hauled down a half-dozen.
“We have a little bit of girth,” Smiley said. “Greg Popatak’s made a big difference, Kyle’s a wide kid and Sage is a tall kid, and it helps us on the interior.
“Greg Popatak picked up his second foul (2:44 of the 1st frame). The rule of thumb is, you get your second foul in the first half, you’re comin’ out,” Smiley said. “We had to let him know that the second half was gonna be his, and he came up strong (all 10 points, plus 4 of his 5 rebounds).
“I think once Greg started putting the ball in the hoop, that sure helped us,” Smiley said when asked for the pivotal point. “That’s one more offensive weapon that we did not have in the first half.”
Sharpsville shot 17 for 39 from the field (43.5), but led by Kennedy, Barringer and Popatak, the Blue Devils doubled up Lakeview on the boards, 34-17, compensating for 20 turnovers.
“We’ve said, short term (goals), so we’ll take ‘’em one at a time, come in (today for practice), and try to get better,” Smiley summarized. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Hickory 78, Slippery Rock 60 — At The Hive, the host Hornets harvested the Region 5-AAA rout by outscoring Slippery Rock 25-6 during the decisive 3rd quarter.
For Hickory (4-2, 8-2), Anthony Cannone canned a game-high 22 points and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Also, Donté Green grabbed a game-high 8 rebounds and lent 11 points, while Bubba Pryts posted 12 points.
Overall, Hickory hit 8 from beyond the arc, led by Cannone’s handful.
Jake Whitmer went for 20 for Slippery Rock (1-6, 4-7), while Matt Badger bucketed 12 and Ryan Dutton delivered 10.
First-year Hornets’ headmaster Geoff Evans noted Aaron Conley was out due to illness.
ä Sharon 80, George Junior Republic 64 — At Tiger Gymnasium, Sharon (4-1, 7-3) jumped out to a 26-8 lead after the opening 8 minutes and rolled past the Tigers of GJR (1-5, 3-7) in a Region 5-AAA clash.
Mark Henry and Aubray Jennings rifled in 23 points each for Sharon while Jamal Waller bucketed 16 and Daunell Stovall added 10 markers.
Ron Pearson and Malik Gibson both had 16 points for George Junior Republic while Dan Hogg and Qayshawn Oliver tallied 10 markers each.
ä Oil City 55, Farrell 50 — At “The House of Hustle,” the host Oilers outscored the Steelers 26-20 during the decisive 4th frame, and Farrell fell for the first time this season.
Farrell forged a 35-33 lead through 3 quarters.
Malik Miller mustered 13 markers and Chris James joined him in double figures with 11 for Farrell (5-1, 10-1), but the Steelers shot only 12 for 17 from the free-throw line.
Oil City (4-2, 9-2) was led by Jackson McFall, who fired in 15, Devon Geib, who garnered 13, and Andrew Williams and Logan Way, who evenly divided an additional 20.
The Oilers overwhelmed Farrell from the free-throw line, converting 25 of 37 (67.5 percent). Oil City’s lone losses thus far occurred at Grove City and at Hickory.
ä Grove City 57, Meadville 54 — At Grove City, the host Eagles edged MASH in a Region 5-AAA thriller.
Meadville led 40-32 entering the 4th frame.
Derek Turner tallied a career-high 28 points — tossing in 6 triples — for Grove City (5-2, 10-2), while Spencer Marnich and Foster Reznor recorded 10 apiece.
For Meadville (2-4, 4-7), Faizon McClure and Trevor Clune connected for 18 and 15 points, respectively.
ä West Middlesex 63, Reynolds 28 — At Transfer, the visiting Big Reds rolled to the Region 2-AA road rout.
Defending District 10 titlist Middlesex (4-0, 7-4) mustered a wire-to-wire win: 11-2 at the quarte,r 26-11 by the break, and 38-18 through 3 quarters.
The Big Reds’ twin towers of Trey Staunch and Josh Porterfield posted 15 and 12 points, respectively, while Ryan Dogan delivered 15, tossing in a handful from beyond the 3-point line.
For Reynolds (3-2, 8-3), which suffered its 2nd straight setback. Garhett Frable fired in 12, but he was the Raiders’ lone double-digit scorer.
ä Wilmington 68, Greenville 56 — At New Wilmington, the Greyhounds improved to 4-0 in Region 2-AA and 8-3 overall with the 12-point victory over the Trojans (0-5, 6-6).
Travis Brumbaugh fired in 17 points for the Hounds while Jordan Smith scored 13, Spencer DeMedal bucketed 12 and Rocco Fagan added 11 markers.
Trey VanAken and Trent McErlane had 9 points each for Greenville.
ä Cochranton 51, Kennedy Catholic 30 — At Cochranton, the Region 3 leader Cardinals (11-2) registered the non-region win over 1-A Kennedy Catholic (5-4).
Josh Vanderhoof (13), Kendell Dickson (12) and Logan Hershberger (10) scored in double digits for
Nolan Cianci led the way for Kennedy Catholic with 11 points.
ä Commodore Perry 75, Jamestown 33 — At Sheakleyville Tuesday, the Panthers (1-0, 6-5) won their Region 1-A opener in a rout over the Muskies (0-3, 0-9).
Tyler McCracken scored 16 points to lead CP, Cody Beachy bucketed 12 and Paul Jewell tallied 10 markers.
Stacy fired in 3 treys en route to 17 points to lead Jamestown.
ä Commodore Perry 73, Youngsville 31 — At Youngsville Monday night, the Panthers rolled over the winless Eagles (0-11) in non-region action.
McCracken fired in 17 points for CP, Jeremiah Small bucketed a dozen and Beachy added 11.
Youngsville had no players in double digits.
Brookfield’s Zach Jamieson won the 170-pound title at the recent invitational. Jamieson pinned all four opponents, including Trevor Hicks of Washington Courthouse in the finals. Jamieson is 14-0 on the season.
Also for the Warriors of coach Brad Harnett, Zach Hackett was 2nd at 195, Gavin Miglets (113) and Rico Totunna (132) 3rd, and Chris Bernadella (145) 6th.
Brookfield finished 8th with 188.5 points. Urbana won the team title with 382.
ä Mercer 39, Grove City 29 — At Mercer, the Mustangs evened their slate at 4-4 with the Region 1 victory over the Eagles.
Ben Shaffer (120), Colton Smith (220) and Brian Phillips won via pin for Mercer. Eli Rutter (160) earned a major decision for the Mustangs and Jon Hennegan won at 195 pounds by technical fall.
Luke Walter (132) and Dalton Meals (138) earned major decision victories for Grove City.
ä Reynolds 81, Canton Central Catholic 0 — At Canton Monday, the surging Raiders of coach Casey Taylor blanked the Ohioans in a match postponed from last week during the cold spell.
Every match was a pin or forfeit except one for Reynolds, where 220-pounder Cole Rickert edged Sam Fuchs, 5-4.
ä Cambridge Springs 57, West Middlesex 15 — At West Middlesex, the visiting Spa secured the non-league win, as Zach Krien (152), Devin Simpson (170), Zack Stafford (195), Ryan East (220), Jake Kohn (106) and David Schwabb (126) posted pins.
For West Middlesex (1-8), Jeffrey Spencer (285) notched a fall, while Mitchell Murray (113), Walter Drda (120) and Brandon Dick (138) decisioned opponents.
ä Brookfield 1736, Mineral Ridge 1236 — At Bell-Wick Lanes in Hubbard recently, the Lady Warriors rolled past Mineral Ridge.
Jessica Neral fired a 355 for Brookfield, Samantha Neral had a 308 and Christine Lowers rolled a 253.
Bobbie Reinhart (299), Jenna Breedlove (233) and Amanda Prusha (218) led the Lady Rams.
For Sharpsville skipper Jim Smiley, success is slow but steady.
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!