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.
Players relent, agree to play for reinstated football coach
Minnesota State University-Mankato's football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
Hickory track coaches near finish line
While the Shenango Valley lionizes legendary gridiron greats and hardwood heroes, the sport of track & field at Hickory High has resonated its relevance throughout District 10 and commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
For the better part of the last 3 decades that was due, to a great extent, to the efforts of Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak.
More than 200 dual-meet victories combined between the girls’ and boys’ programs, 9 district championships (7 girls, 2 boys), 2 statewide runners-up berths and another pair of 3rd-place finishes, culminating in the Lady Hornets’ 2012 PIAA Class AA championship.
Their collective resumé would be envied by any coach, regardless of sport. Which makes this recent revelation regrettable: Dzuricsko and Slezak simultaneously will step down at this season’s conclusion.
SPORTVIEW: Cavaliers are example of how an owner impacts a team
WHEN LEBRON James vacated Cleveland for South Beach a few years ago, angry Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert declared that the Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before James and the Miami Heat.
How’s that working out, Dan?
Miami is seeking a third straight title this postseason while the Cavaliers are headed for the golf courses. Pretty sad.
Roundup: Trojans, Hounds win team titles at WM Invitational
Wilmington High girls and Greenville boys dominated the annual Big Red Track & Field Invitational Thursday afternoon in West Middlesex.
A half-dozen girls’ and 7 boys’ teams competed.
Wilmington overwhelmed the female field, as the Lady Greyhounds garnered almost twice as many points as runner-up Lakeview (236-5 to 133.5).
Roundup: WM diamondmen edge Reynolds, 6-4
ä West Middlesex 6, Reynolds 4 — At Transfer, the Big Reds snapped a 4-all tie by plating a run in the 4th inning and another in the 7th in a 2-run win over the Raiders.
Mark Colella earned the mound win in a relief appearance for WM. No pitching stats were submitted.
Roundup: Hickory, Wilmington softball teams win
Paced by Chelsea Marriott’s muscle, Hickory High hammered 4 home runs Saturday afternoon en route to a 19-1 rout of Sharon.
At Wengler, Marriott mauled 2- and 3-run round-trippers to right-center and straightaway center field, respectively. Her Lady Hornets’ teammates Hannah Gallagher and Morgan McBride mustered 3-run bombs, also.
Fired coach in Mankato unjustly accused of visiting porn sites
Minnesota State University-Mankato officials wrongly accused former football coach Todd Hoffner of viewing pornography sites on his work computer before firing him last May, a state arbitrator has disclosed.
Roundup: Hickory track coaches to step down following season
Hickory High track & field co-head coaches Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak announced they will step down at the season’s conclusion.
Dzuricsko and Slezak, who led the Lady Hornets to the 2012 PIAA Class AA crown, jointly made the announcement via e-mail late Wednesday.
Roundup: Devil diamondmen roll past Sharon
An old-school baseball bromide states that, early in any season, pitching is always ahead of hitting. However Sharpsville shunned that axiom Wednesday afternoon.
The Blue Devils banged 15 hits, and Sharpsville short-circuited Sharon, 16-4, in 5 innings.
Roundup: Hounds, Hornets notch track sweeps
ä Wilmington 116, Reynolds 44 — At New Wilmington, the host Lady Hounds were led by Rikki Brumbaugh (4x8, 4x4 relay legs, 400- and 800-meter runs); Hannah Drake (long, triple jumps, 4x4 relay); Allison Baldwin (4x8 and 4x4 relay legs); Lexi Brumbaugh (1600-, 3200-meter runs, distance-relay leg), and Tessa Sikora (high jump, 200-meter dash, sprint-relay anchor).
SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians fans looking for big things this year
LIFE IS GOOD if you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Cleveland Indians. At least for now!
Heading into Saturday, both teams were 3-1 and looking pretty sharp. Since both made the playoffs last year, there are high expectations for both clubs. But in baseball, every year is a new season and there are no guarantees.
Still, it’s always nice when your favorite teams get off to a good start. In too many seasons, Pittsburgh and Cleveland fans were only talking about the NFL draft because hopes were bleak for their baseball teams.
Hickory's Arbanas 1st team All-State; KC's Hood 3rd team
ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Teams from the WPIAL won three of the four PIAA girls basketball championships this year, and southwestern Pennsylvania is turning out to be just as dominant when it comes to postseason honors.
Pittsburgh-area programs produced seven of the eight major award winners on this season’s Sports Writers Pennsylvania High School Girls Basketball All-State Team, including all four players of the year.
WM's Staunch named 2nd team All-State
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Finishing on the winning side in a championship game — or coming mighty, mighty close — scored plenty of points with the panel that selected Pennsylvania’s all-state boys’ basketball team.
Especially when it came time to choose those — whether players or coaches — who claimed the top individual awards.
Roundup: Hickory, Mercer, Reynolds, WM baseball teams earn wins
ä Hickory 12, Sharpsville 10 — At the McCullough Run Complex in South Pymatuning Twp., the visiting Hornets improved to 4-0 with the win.
Brady Leunis went 2-for-3 for Hickory with a double and 3 RBI, Tommy Cannon belted a 2-run homer, Noah Orndorff was 2-for-4, Nate Mastrian ripped an RBI-double, Ethan Davis was 2-for-4 with a double and a run driven in and Jake Andrzjewski doubled.
Roundup: WM, Wilmington, Mercer softball teams win
ä West Middlesex 11, Grove City 1 (5 inn.) — At the Richard J. Kritz Softball Complex in West Middlesex, Jordyn Allen fired a complete-game 2-hitter with 8 strikeouts and no walks as the Ms. Reds (1-1) rebounded from a tough loss to Lakeview on Monday.
Offensively, Allen doubled and ripped 2 singles for WM, Abby McAdams and Aly Andrusky doubled and singled, Macy Siefert collected 4 singles and Hannah Havens, Megan Hazlett and Oivia Slater added 2 singles each.
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