As most Mercer County boys’ and girls’ basketball teams wrap up the regular season tonight — including some games with playoff implications — postseason wrestling gets under way in earnest.
County teams are involved in two sectional tournaments at Sharon and Greenville High Schools today and Saturday.
Competing in the Section 2-AA event at Sharon are county squads Grove City, Hickory, Lakeview, Mercer, Reynolds, Sharon, Sharpsville and West Middlesex, along with Slippery Rock and Franklin.
In the Section 3-AA tourney at Greenville are county teams from Greenville, Commodore Perry and Jamestown, battling against Cambridge Springs, Cochranton, Conneaut Area, Fairview, Girard, Maplewood and Northwestern.
In boys basketball tonight, one of the key games pits Sharon (10-5 in Region 5-AAA, 12-9 overall) at Farrell (10-5, 13-8), with the loser probably eliminated from playoff contention.
In Thursday high school sports action reported to The Herald it was:
For six days Sharpsville skipper Jeff Hanley wasn’t sure he’d be celebrating. But with the outright District 10 Region 2-AA title on the line Thursday night, his Blue Darlings delivered.
McKenzie Popatak pumped in 16 of her game-high 22 points after intermission, and Sharpsville High girls’ basketball team mustered a 42-32 win over Mercer.
Following last week’s 54-39 setback at Sharon, Hanley had a heart-to-heart and challenged his squad.
“A ton of credit to the girls. It was how we were gonna respond after that Sharon loss. We talked about how we needed to practice better, and the girls came in to practice ready to go,” Hanley explained, relating, “That Saturday practice (following the loss) wasn’t a whole lot of fun, but the rest of the week they did a really, really nice job
“I’m super proud of them for the way they fought through that practice, beat Lakeview, then beat Mercer after a little bit of a slow first half,” Hanley added.
Of Sharpsville’s quartet of seniors, Popotak produced tears during the pre-game ceremony and struggled during a 2-for-11 first-half shooting performance in which she also uncharacteristically missed 4 of 6 free-throw attempts. However Popatak composed herself, and the program’s career scoring leader posted a 22-point, 14-rebound double-double.
“You’re always concerned ... as a coach, anything that changes or something that you consider is a distraction,” Hanley admitted. “I think there might’ve been a little nervousness ... it was Senior Night, and it was a big game at home with a nice crowd ... maybe because the playoffs are coming up, I don’t know. But we came in at halftime (Mercer led 14-10), talked a few things out, and I thought the girls responded well.”
The teams were tied at 27 entering the 4th frame before the Darlings delivered a decisive 10-0 denial to Mercer’s motivation. Megan Davis and Maddie Przicina pumped in back-to-back triples approximately 40 seconds apart, the latter with less than 5 minutes remaining as Sharpsville secured a 33-27 lead. Then Scurpa slung back-door passes to both Natalie Henwood and Popatak to extend the edge to 37-27.
Scurpa scored 8 points and hauled down a half-dozen rebounds, but her defensive work on Mercer’s Lexie Arkwright most impressed Hanley. Arkwright had annexed a team-high 17.6 points per game coming into the contest, but was limited to a season-low 5 Thursday night — only the 3rd time this season she did not reach double figures.
“Paige is our unsung hero,” Hanley praised. “She doesn’t always get her name in the paper, she doesn’t always drop double digits, but she’s amazing! Her energy and her defense, that was the key. We wanted to key on Lexie, and Paige has just been doing that all year for us.”
With Arkwright and Alexis Mills mustering 5 and 4 points, respectively, Mercer made half of its dozen 3rd-quarter floor shots to earn the deadlock after 24 minutes. But the Lady M’s made 6 miscues during the 4th frame and 22 for the game. Also, Mercer (9-3, 16-6) manufactured only 34.1 percent shooting (14 of 41) from the floor.
Megan McKinney’s 13 markers and Arkwright’s 10 rebounds and 4 assists were the highlights for 2nd-year head coach Aaron Cook’s club, which has effected a complete turnabout from last season’s 6-16 ledger.
But after a 2-5 start to the season, Sharpsville (11-1, 14-7) is set for the District 10 playoffs as a region champion.
“There’s doubt that sometimes creeps in at night at home,” the hyper-intense Hanley admitted, “but for the most part, yeah, we thought we had the abililty and the talent to do it and it could be our’s, and I’m so proud of the girls for accomplishing that goal.”
Notes: Sharpsville shot only 36 percent (18 for 50) from the field and the Darlings did not take care of the ball much better than Mercer, committing 16 miscues. ... Henwood handed out a half-dozen assists. ... Mercer made its lone free-throw attempt, by Analise Whenry in the 1st quarter on the back end of a conventional 3-point play. But Whenry was asssedd 3 first-half personals, and Cook kept her on the bench for the entire 3rd period to save her for the finale. ... In addition to Popatak, Scurpa and Henwood, Megan Whalen is Sharpsville’s 4th senior. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Hickory 54, Grove City 41 — At Grove City, the visiting Lady Hornets (10-2, 19-3) finished 2nd in Region 5-AAA behind Franklin, with the win over the Lady Eagles (6-6, 13-9).
The game was tied at 30-all with 2:28 left in the 3rd quarter before Hickory outscored GC 24-9 the rest of the way.
Nikki Arbanas and Holly Grober both had 18 points for the Lady Hornets. Arbanas added 4 steals and 7 assists while Grober tallied 5 rebounds, 6 steals and 2 blocks. Also for Hickory, Megan Chess dished out 3 assists, Jasmine Shephard had 3 steals, Brandi Beader tallied 5 boards and Jenna Placzek had 4 rebounds.
Danyelle Lucido was the leading scorer for Grove City with 9 points.
ä Farrell 56, Jamestown 23 — At E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, coach Ed Turosky’s Lady Steelers (5-5, 11-10) led 14-4 after the opening quarter and rolled to the Region 1-A win over the Lady Muskies, who wrapped up a tough winless season at 0-10 and 0-22.
Johntae Scott scored 13 points for Farrell and Tatyana Page posted 10 points.
Loghan Sankey was the leading scorer for Jamestown with 8 points.
ä Reynolds 46, Commodore Perry 39 — At Transfer, the host Lady Raiders recorded teh Region 1-A win.
Kayla Thompson tallied 15 points for Reynolds (4-6, 7-14), Morgan McDanel delivered a game-high 11 rebounds, and Eric Burnworth distributed 7 assists.
For Commodore Perry (5-5, 10-12), Kate Powell pumped in a game-high 15 points for head coach Bob Messina.
ä Wilmington 46, Greenville 45 — At Greenville, the Lady Hounds (5-7, 9-13) notched a thrilling 1-point Region 2-AA win over the Lady Trojans (3-9, 7-14).
Alanna Elliott scored 13 for Wilmington while Tess Sikora tallied 12 points
Jessica Burnett rifled in a game-high 22 points to lead Greenville and Rebecca Fagley contributed 10 points.
ä Saegertown 58, Lakeview 39 — At Saegertown, the Region 3 Lady Panthers (14-7) led 17-9 after the opening quarter and rolled past Lakeview (5-17) in the non-region contest.
Rachel DiBartolomeo led Saegertown with 17 points, Arianna Hanley bucketed 14 and Tori Eckhart registered a dozen markers.
Chelsea Davis rifled in 4 treys en route to 16 points for Lakeview and Casey Stringer notched 10 points.
ä Brookfield 50, Bristol 25 — At Brookfield, the host Lady Warriors won for the 2nd time in as many nights.
Kayla Boyer bucketed 11 points and Tori Thompson tallied another 11 for Brookfield (11-10), while Laura Elza ended with 9 for Bristol (12-6).
ä Brookfield 39, Youngstown Christian School 36 — At Youngstown Wednesday, coach Shawn Hammond’s Lady Warriors evened their record at 10-10 with the 3-point win over YCS.
Ashley Kirila led Brookfield with 13 points while Shanell Harris had 9 for YCS.
ä Lakeview 54, Mercer 47 — At Mercer, the host Mustangs (4-8, 9-12) nearly pulled off the upset of the potentially playoff bound Sailors (10-2, 19-3) on Mercer’s Senior Night honoring Danny Miller, Nate Brest, Vik Rymniak and Mike Handerhan.
The Mustangs rebounded from a 15-6 halftime deficit to knot the score at 33-all moments into the fourth quarter on Miller’s lay-up, but Lakeview ripped off a 14-2 run to take control of the game and pick-up the Region 2AA victory.
Lakeview was paced by a trio of double digit scorers — Dalton Boggs (20), Casey Greggs (12) and Coty Gander (10) — while Mercer was led by Logan Clarke, who scored all of his 17 points in the second half — Information submitted by sports correspondent Corey J. Corbin.
ä Sharon 5, Mercer 1 — In the 1st round of the Mercer County Playoffs at Ten Pin Alley, the Tigers beat the Mustangs.
Nick Carlo led the way for Sharon with a 258 while Dan Spanos rolled a 244. Also, Shane Young had a 233, Brent Elliott a 227 and Steven Merchant posted a 224.
Brandon Anderson led the way for Mercer with a 211.
ä Ursuline 2190, Brookfield 2020 — At Wedgewood Lanes in Austintown, Mike Wilfong fired a 502, Ryan Cox bowled a 335 and Steve Biroschak had a 299 as the Irish beat Brookfield.
Adam Brooks (352), Joey Grandon (327) and Bradley Bridge (300) were the top rollers for the Warriors.
ä Brookfield 1626, Ursuline 1487 — At Wedgewood Lanes, Heather Stanish had a 340, Jessica Neral rolled a 275 and Kourtney Husnick posted a 253 to lead Brookfield to victory.
Kayla Winner (314), Erin Styka (246) and Caryle Hernandez (205) paced Ursuline.
MERCER 3 11 13 5 32
SHARPSVILLE 9 1 17 15 42
MERCER — Arkwright 2-0-0-5, Cook 3-0-0-7, McKinney 6-0-0-13, Mills 1-0-0-2, Whenry 2-1-1-5, Ryder 0-0-0-0, Angermeier 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Cook 1, Arkwright 1, Mills 1. Totals: 14-1-1-32.
SHARPSVILLE — Henwood 1-0-0-2, Davis 2-0-0-6, Popatak 10-2-5-22, Scurpa 4-0-0-8, Kurelko 0-0-0-0, Przicina 1-0-0-3, Davies 0-1-2-1, Sloan 0-0-0-0, Schell 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Davis 2. Przicina 1. Totals: 18-2-8-42.
JV — Sharpsville, 41-24. Eugena Davies 17 points for Sharpsville; Taylor Zacherl 10 for Mercer.
JAMESTOWN 4 12 2 5 23
FARRELL 14 19 10 13 56
JAMESTOWN — Mitchell 2-0-0-4, Greenawalt 2-0-2-4, Kell 1-3-4-5, Keyser 1-0-0-2, Sankey 3-2-2-8. Totals: 9-5-8-23.
FARRELL — Scott 5-2-2-13, Oatis 1-1-11-3, Avery 4-0-0-8, Chambers 1-0-2-2, Polk 1-0-1-2, Page 3-4-10-10, Sharper 1-2-6-4, Washington 2-4-6-8, Murray 1-4-9-6. 3-pt. goal: Scott 1. Totals: 19-17-47-56.
JV — No game.
COMM. PERRY 10 9 9 11 39
REYNOLDS 10 11 16 9 46
COMMODORE PERRY — Powell 4-7-15-15, Campbell 1-0-0-2, L. Grinnell 3-1-2-7, Kitchen 2-3-5-9, Vaughn 1-0-0-3, S. Nagy 1-1-2-3. 3-pt. goals: Kitchen 2, Vaughn 1. Totals: 12-12-24-39.
REYNOLDS — Ringer 2-2-4-8, Bresnan 1-5-8-7, McDanel 2-4-7-8, Stoyer 3-2-6-8, Napadano 0-0-2-0, Thompson 5-1-2-15, Burnworth 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Thompson 4, Ringer 2. Totals: 14-14-29-48.
JV — Reynolds, 47-18. Kayla Thompson 12, Jessica Mack 11, Alex Napadano 10 points for Reynolds.
MIDDLESEX 14 4 14 13 45
SHARON 10 21 16 13 60
WEST MIDDLESEX — Murray 0-0-3-0, Atterholt 9-1-1-19, Stitt 1-3-6-5, Summers 8-3-7-21. 3-pt. goals: Summers 2. Totals: 18-7-20-45.
SHARON — Mal. Torr 7-3-4-22, Mag. Torr 3-2-6-10, Jacoway 1-1-2-3, Chester 1-0-0-3, McGranahan 1-1-2-3, Reed 1-0-0-2, Sanders 6-3-4-15, Harper 1-0-0-2. 3-pt. goals: Mal. Torr 5, Mag. Torr 2, Chester 1. Totals: 21-10-18-60.
JV — Sharon, 45-16. Maggie Torr and Tamia Hopson 12 for Sharon.
HICKORY 14 14 8 18 54
GROVE CITY 8 10 12 11 41
HICKORY — Placzek 3-1-1-7, Bible 0-0-0-0, Arbanas 4-9-10-18, Chess 1-0-0-3, Moore 0-0-0-0, Shephard 0-0-0-0, Beader 3-0-0-8, Grober 5-8-10-18. 3-pt. goals: Beader 2, Arbanas 1, Chess 1. Totals: 16-18-21-54.
GROVE CITY — B. Deyarmin 4-0-0-8, Hall 0-1-2-1, Young 1-0-0-3, A. Deyarmin 0-0-0-0, Hyduchak 3-2-2-8, Wyllie 0-4-6-4, Lucido 3-0-0-9, Ferguson 3-0-0-6, Sprando 1-0-0-2. 3-pt. goals: Lucido 3, Young 1. Totals: 15-7-10-41.
JV — GC, 37-29. Catie Jaskowak 10 for GC. Katie Gustas 14 for Hickory. Hickory JVs, coached by Rochelle Green and Cheré Marshall, finished with a 17-2 record.
LAKEVIEW 9 6 7 17 39
SAEGERTOWN 17 10 16 15 58
LAKEVIEW — Stringer 4-2-2-10, Adams 3-0-0-6, Scott 0-0-0-0, Riddle 0-0-0-0, Foster 0-1-2-1, Fischer 0-2-2-2, Casciotti 1-0-0-2, Ruediger 0-0-0-0, Davis 5-2-2-16, Womer 1-0-1-2. 3-pt. goals: Davis 4. Totals: 14-7-9-39.
SAEGERTOWN — Hanley 6-0-0-14, Shouey 1-4-4-7, DiBartolomeo 7-3-4-17, Lilly 0-0-0-0, Siple 2-0-0-4, Kapanick 2-0-0-4, Mondi 0-0-0-0, Caldwell 0-0-2-0, Eckhart 6-0-0-12. 3-pt. goals: Hanley 2, Shouey 1. Totals: 24-7-10-58.
JV — Saegertown, 37-30.
WILMINGTON 19 46
GREENVILLE 14 45
WILMINGTON — Christofferson 2, Slonaker 3, Sikora 12, Marett 6, Elliott 13, Drake 8, Romeo 2.
GREENVILLE — Fagley 10, Burnett 22, Montalvo 7, Fenton 2, Leary 4.
JV — Greenville, 41-26.
BRISTOL 6 7 5 7 25
BROOKFIELD 12 9 14 15 50
BRISTOL — Blake 0-0-0-0, Weirich 0-0-0-0, Adams 2-0-3-5, Marino 0-0-0-0, Pate 0-0-0-0, Lin. Elza 2-0-0-4, Jones 1-1-6-3, Lau. Elza 3-3-4-9, Stoneman 2-2-7-6. 3-pt. goal: Adams 1. Totals: 10-6-20-27.
BROOKFIELD — Hawley 4-0-0-8, Boyer 5-0-0-11, DiCristofaro 3-0-0-6, Kirila 1-2-6-4, Thompson 4-3-4-11, Harpster 0-0-0-0, Corns 1-0-0-2, Foster 0-0-0-0, Quinlan 0-0-0-0, May 1-0-0-2, Saxton 2-2-2-6. 3-pt. goal: Boyer 1. Totals: 21-7-12-50
JV — Brookfield, 39-14.
BROOKFIELD 13 7 7 12 39
YG. CHRISTIAN 7 8 11 10 36
BROOKFIELD — Hawley 1-0-0-2, Boyer 4-0-0-8, DiCristofaro 2-0-0-4, Ash. Kirila 5-3-3-13, Thompson 1-1-2-3, Harpster 3-0-1-6, Corns 0-0-0-0, Foster 1-0-0-3, Saxton 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goal: Foster 1. Totals: 17-4-6-39.
YOUNGSTOWN CHRISTIAN — Chiconoski 0-0-0-0, Snyder 1-3-7-5, Rios 2-0-0-6, N. Hoclzel 2-3-6-8, Harris 4-1-2-9, Brown 2-1-3-5, Moyer 1-1-2-3. 3-pt. goals: Rios 2, N. Hoclzel 1. Totals: 12-9-20-36.
JV — Brookfield, 36-19.
LAKEVIEW 10 5 18 21 54
MERCER 2 4 25 16 47
LAKEVIEW — Greggs 5-0-0-12, Boggs 4-11-14-20, Gander 5-0-0-10, B. Rice 2-0-0-4, VanDusen 1-1-3-3, A. Rice 1-2-2-5, Fowler 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Greggs 2, A. Rice 1. Totals: 17-16-23-54.
MERCER — Clarke 5-6-9-17, Miller 2-0-0-4, Brest 1-0-0-2, Rymniak 1-2-4-4, Handerhan 2-0-0-4, Guiler 3-0-0-7, Fowler 2-0-0-5, Davis 2-0-0-4, Scheidhauer 0-0-0-0, Leonard 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Clarke 1, Guiler 1, Fowler 1. Totals: 18-8-13-47.
As most Mercer County boys’ and girls’ basketball teams wrap up the regular season tonight — including some games with playoff implications — postseason wrestling gets under way in earnest.
Breese defends heavyweight title at PIAA Championships
HERSHEY, Pa. — Move over Rod Wright!
Lakeview senior heavyweight star Sam Breese had a goal coming into the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships this weekend at Hershey Giant Center — besides winning a second state crown, that is.
WM knocks off Neshannock in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — The notion of Trey Staunch sneaking up on opposing teams is laughable. At 6-foot-3 and approximately 225 pounds, the stout Staunch is not sneaking up on anyone.
However after posting a game-high 31-point, 18-rebound performance in West Middlesex High basketball team’s 76-66 PIAA Class AA playoffs opening-round win over Neshannock Saturday night, Staunch said opponents may have been overlooking the Big Reds.
Hickory girls 26-0, oust Johnstown
SLIPPERY ROCK — At Morrow Field House Saturday evening, the Hickory Lady Hornets kept the perfect season alive with a 63-37 state playoff first round win over the Greater Johnstown Trojans from District 6.
“It feels great to get the win (Saturday),” said veterans Hickory coach Jeanette Whitehead. “We’ve been at this place over the last few years and we’ve been sent home in the first round so it was a huge win for us. I’m very proud of our team effort."
KC girls roll past California in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — Kennedy Catholic High girls’ basketball team was in the ’hood Saturday afternoon.
Led by senior Taylor Hood, the Lady Golden Eagles eased past California, 53-34, in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
Lakeview's Breese to defend PIAA title
HERSHEY, Pa. — If you are Major League Baseball player, a .333 batting average is great. But in wrestling at the state tournament — not so much!
Out of the dozen wrestlers that Mercer County sent to Hershey for the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships, only four (.333) will reach the medal stand today — led by Lakeview senior Sam Breese who shoots for a second straight gold medal.
Farrell edges Montour, 60-57, in PIAA opener
Montour High boys’ basketball coach Adam Kaufman lamented another season-ending setback. However there are several hundred coaches across the Commonwealth who envy his program’s recent success and would trade places with him in a heartbeat.
But during Friday night’s PIAA Class AAA playoff opener, Kaufman & Co. could not overcome those streaky Steelers ... those survivin’ Steelers.
“ ... Hey, survive and move on,” summarized Steelers’ skipper Roland Shannonhouse following Farrell’s 60-57 win at Sharon High.
GCC ousts Mercer in 1st round of PIAAs
The Mercer Lady Mustangs were outscored 16-4 in the final quarter of the first round of the state playoffs by the Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions, ending their season Friday night 56-31 at Sharon High School.
Senior Lexie Arkwright had a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double performance for the Lady M’s. She also snagged three steals. Adelyn Cook and Haylie Glass each added 4 points for Mercer.
5 area matmen to quarterfinals in Hershey
HERSHEY — Mercer County matmen had mixed results on the opening day of action in the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center.
Only 5 of the county’s dozen entries — led by defending state champ Sam Breese of Lakeview (285) — won their preliminary matches to move into the tournament quarterfinals which begin at 9 a.m. today. However the other 7 lost their first matches, although 3 are still alive in the consolations heading into this morning’s action.
Coach Chad Mild's Big Reds are road warriors
West Middlesex High boys basketball team did not play its first home game until after the first of the year, but competing at New Castle, Farrell and Youngstown’s Covelli Centre has served it well.
Witness West Middlesex’s 55-54 win over Fairview in last weekend’s District 10 Class AA championship game — at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House.
Boys PIAA basketball preview boxes
Who: Farrell (22-3) vs. Montour (16-8).
What: Opening round.
When: 7:30 p.m. today.
Where: Sharon High’s Tiger Gymnasium.
Hickory, Mercer, KC girls PIAA playoff boxes
Who: Hickory (25-0) vs. Greater Johnstown (11-14).
What: PIAA Playoffs, 1st round.
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Slippery Rock University.
Shannonhouse's Steelers set for statewide stage
With the approaching spring, a young man’s fancy turns to ... what else? The PIAA playoffs. And when Shenango Valley scholastic basketball aficionados think of the postseason they think of Farrell.
Recently at E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the banners above were blowing in the breeze — ’52 ... ’54 ... ’56 ... ’59 ... ’60 ... ’69 ... ’72 — swaying as sprinting players created a vacuum of air rising from the floor. Melodramatic maybe, but there’s a feeling at Farrell that harkens back to the heyday when playoff success was a rite of passage.
Breese eyes repeat at state mat tourney
There is no doubt that winning a state championship in wrestling is a difficult thing to do. Winning two is even tougher.
“There’s a target on your chest,” pointed out Lakeview High coach Tom Tingley in preseason this year, referring to his star wrestler Sam Breese who won a state heavyweight crown as a junior last year.
Obviously that target hasn’t bothered the Sailors big man who is a perfect 32-0 this season as he attempts to become only the 12th Mercer County matman to win multiple titles.
WRESTLING NOTEBOOK: It's a young group of county matmen headed to state
THERE’S definitely a youth movement in Mercer County wrestling as demonstrated by the group of 11 matmen who are advancing to the PIAA State Class AA Championships on Thursday.
Eight of the locals are underclassmen. The only seniors are Lakeview’s Sam Breese (285), Reynolds’ Levi Stoyer (145) and Jamestown’s Mohamed Messai (182).
Breese and Stoyer are the only returning state place-winners. Breese, who has verbally committed to Kent State University to wrestle next season, won the heavyweight class and is seeking a second gold medal. Stoyer placed 7th at 145 and wants to climb much higher on the medals stand.
Kennedy boys forfeit win, are out of playoffs
The PIAA basketball playoffs do not begin until Friday, but Mercer County already lost a team.
Kennedy Catholic High disclosed Monday the discovery of an academically-ineligible player, who competed in last Friday’s District 10 Class A consolation contest.
Kennedy Catholic edged Eisenhower in double-OT, 66-62, earning a berth in the statewide tournament. The Golden Eagles were to meet District 9 champion Ridgway Friday at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium in the opening round; instead, Eisenhower will represent D-10 as its 3rd-place team.
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- Breese defends heavyweight title at PIAA Championships