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February 14, 2014

Roundup: Lady Hornets go 22-0; KC, Mercer win

- — Kennedy Catholic High and Rocky Grove girls basketball teams are preparing for the postseason, so they staged a playoff preview Thursday night.

At Hermitage, the host Lady Golden Eagles earned their 11th consecutive conquest, 44-31, over the stubborn Lady Orioles. KC swept the home-and-home regular-season Region 1-A series.

“It was a playoff atmosphere,” commented Kennedy Catholic Head Coach Chris Mele. “Rocky Grove, you gotta hand it to them — they play hard, they never give up. I thought they did a real nice job in the second quarter. I think we were up close to twenty, but they came back on us ... and they played hard to the final whistle, and I commend them for that.”

The Lady Orioles’ offense did not connect for its 1st field goal until Amber Nerlich notched one with 1:33 remaining to intermission. But with Nerlich knocking down 6 straight points, Rocky Grove got within 25-15 by the break.

Midway through the 3rd period KC commanded a seemingly safe 35-17 margin, before Rocky Grove responded again on a pair of Nerlich buckets, one of which was a trey. While Kennedy was in control at 36-22 entering the final frame, the Lady Orioles outscored KC, 9-8, by coercing 4 turnovers.

Though intense, aesthetically it was not a well-played game. Both teams committed 19 micues, Kennedy connected on only 15 of 55 floor shots, and the ’Grovers garnered only 8 fielders in 51 attempts.

On Senior Night after being recognized pre-game, Taylor Hood had a 13-point, 3-rebound, 2-steal outing to key Kennedy Catholic (9-0, 17-2). She was bolstered by April Bocian’s 11-point, 15-rebound double-double and Tatum Kress’ 9-point, 14-rebound contribution.

Kennedy commanded a 49-34 margin on the boards.

Coach Todd Wetjen’s Lady Orioles (6-4, 12-9) were led by Amber Nerlich’s game-high 15-point performance, while Aleece Schiffer scored a dozen and dished out 3 assists and Lauren Swatzler snared 7 rebounds, as did Kellianne Nerlich.

“I think our defense in the third quarter really was a key for us, we got that lead built back up,” Mele mused, adding, “but we got a little sloppy, and we’re gonna have to work on that in practice.

“(Thursday) night brought a few concerns. But, hey, every team goes through that,” continued Mele, who admitted, “we didn’t play our best game, but I’m sure we’ll come back and be ready for the playoffs.

“We have a target on our back, and the girls realize that,” Mele continued, adding, “We’ll clean up a few things, and we’ll be fine.”

Note: Mele noted KC concludes the campaign Saturday afternoon at Jamestown with a make-up game. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

ä Hickory 61, Grove City 37 —
At Grove City, the visiting Hornets harvested the Region 5-AAA road rout and an undefeated regular season — the first directed by veteran mentor Jeanette Whitehead.

For Hickory (12-0, 22-0), the wire-to-wire win was led by Nikki Arbanas’ game-high 21-point performance, Holly Grober, who garnered 18 points, and Nicole LaCava, who lent 10.

For Grove City (6-6, 12-10), which scored only 14 second-half points. Brenna Deyamin led with 8 markers.

Hickory swept the home-and-home regular-season series.

ä Mercer 36, Sharpsville 29 — In the County Seat, the host Lady M’s muzzled Sharpsville. Mercer’s defense denied the Blue Devils, yielding only 9 field goals in the Region 2-AA affair.

Alexis Arkwright and Megan McKinney mustered 14  and  11  markers, respec-tively, for Mercer (10-2, 16-5) and mentor Aaron Cook.

For Sharpsville (5-7, 9-11) and skipper Jeff Hanley, Maddie Przicina pumped in a game-high 18 points.

ä Reynolds 41, Commodore Perry 39 — At Sheakleyville, Brooke Bresnan scored on a driving lay-up with 5 seconds left to lift the Lady Raiders (6-4, 7-13) past CP (3-7, 11-11) in Region 1-A action.

Bresnan finished with a game-high 14 points for Reynolds, Rose Stoyer scored 12 and Kayla Thompson registered 10 points.

Emily Kitchen was the leading scorer for the Lady Panthers with 11 points.

ä Farrell 72, Jamestown 40 — At “The Fish Tank” in Jamestown, coach Ed Turosky’s Lady Steelers improved to 5-5 in Region 1-A and 7-15 overall with the win over the Lady Muskies (0-9, 0-21).

Whitney Murray scored 19 for Farrell, which rebounded from a 50-34, loss to Youngstown East on Wednesday, and Oriana Smith added 16 points.

Mikayla Keyser paced Jamestown with 9 points.

ä Saegertown 47, Lakeview 40 — At Stoneboro, the visiting Lady Panthers posted the inter-region win.

For Saegertown (12-8), Sadie Mondie manufactued 16 markers, Jessica Tomiczek tallied 13, and Victoria Eckart ended with 12.

Lakeview (5-17) was led by Raygen Fischer’s 13 points.

BOYS BASKETBALL

ä Commodore Perry 63, Rocky Grove 55 —
At Sheakleyville, the Panthers (4-4, 11-10) rallied from a 30-21 halftime deficit to beat the Orioles (4-4, 7-13) in a Region 1-A clash.

Cody Beachy and Tyler McCracken scored 15 points each for Commodore Perry while Jeremiah Small added a dozen points.

Nate White drained 5 treys en route to a game-high 22 points for RG, Garrett Gannoe tallied 19 markers and Evan Sharp had 11.

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