It was a Saturday afternoon matinee in Hermitage, but school was in session for the Kennedy Catholic and Ursuline High girls’ basketball teams.
“You have to give those kids credit. Those young ones came in and played and gave us some good minutes,” summarized KC head coach Tom Burns, whose Lady Golden Eagles edged Ursuline, 53-51.
After rallying from a pair of 19-point 3rd-period deficits, the visiting Irish had an opportunity to tie or win the game at the buzzer.
With 1.3 seconds remaining and leading by a deuce, KC committed its 14th miscue on an inbounds play under Ursuline’s basket, and Irish head coach Courtney Davidson hailed a timeout.
Sydney Beasley — who bucketed a trio of 4th-frame triples to ignite the Irish comeback — had a shot from the right wing, but it caromed off the rim at the horn.
Kennedy Catholic (3-1) commanded a 51-32 lead a half-minute into the final frame on Taylor Hood’s drive. However 1st-half personal-foul problems finally caught up to KC, as starters Courtney Sargent and Alex Ricketts were DQ’d with 45.3 and 24.5 seconds remaining. Another trio of regulars finished with 4, 3 and 3 personals, respectively.
But Ursuline’s undoing was the free-throw line, as the Irish ended 10 for 26 (38.4 percent), including 8 for 20 during the 1st half. They trailed 37-27 at intermission.
Similarly, KC could not convert a trio of 1-and-1 bonus situations that would have secured success. Ricketts misfired at the 37.4- and 34.2-second segments, and Rachel Burns missed with 11.2 ticks to play.
Also, after turning over the ball 8 times during the 1st three quarters, KC committed a half-dozen miscues during the final frame.
“It’s not one kid’s fault. I told them, ‘Every possession, including the first one in the game, is important.’ Hopefully, these kids’ll grow up from this,” Coach Burns explained, adding, “To me, this is why we’re playing Ursuline, instead of other teams.
“Yeah, we had a big lead. But we lost Alex and Courtney for a long time in foul trouble and there’s no substitute (for experience) with seniors on the bench. So other kids stepped up,” Burns praised.
The Lady Golden Eagles enjoyed a quartet of double-digit scorers, including Rachel Burns (12, plus 5 assists), Ricketts and Hood (11 apiece), and Sargent (10). The Akron University-bound Ricketts ripped down a team-high 9 rebounds, though she shot only 3 for 10 from the floor. Tatum Kress contributed 6 points, 4 rebounds and an assist and Rebekah Kish 3 points, 3 boards and 2 assists.
Ursuline (2-4) was led by Beasley’s 13-point, 10-rebound double-double and 6-foot-1 frosh post Tanaya Beacham’s game-high 17-point performance that also included 9 caroms.
The 16-player Irish roster includes 10 freshmen and a trio of sophomores, with Beasley and Mary O’Donnell being the lone seniors. That delights Davidson, the former Ursuline High and Michigan State University standout point guard.
“When you have (10) freshmen, all you can do is hope that you get better over the season. It’s moreso teaching than experience. If we can get them to grow up over the season ... our biggest thing is to get them ready by (sectional) tournament time.
“But to fight back from being down (19) and grow up, that was a big statement for them. ... We have (10) freshmen who have never been in situations like this, so it’s teaching and learning at the same time. But it’s fun. It makes you closer,” Davidson added, concluding,
“I worked hard to get to where I was as a player, and all I can do as a coach is to try to help them get to that point, as well. It’s hard trying to relay the message, but it’s also a challenge I like to face. And it’s good to see girls develop over the years after they come in as a freshman. I’m excited to see how this freshman class is in four years. That’s the type of thing that drives me as a coach.”
For his part, Burns was buoyed by the win.
“I think (the underclassemen) got high-pressure minutes. This isn’t like playing a team that we’re popping by 20. This is life or death. You’re gonna lose this or win this, and you’re in it. So I think it gives value to those minutes for those kids (Kress and Kish are sophomores; April Bocian and Alivia O’Brien are freshmen), instead of just being thrown in there with two minutes to go in the game.”
Notes: Ricketts played the entire 2nd half with 4 personals. She incurred her 3rd and 4th fouls with 1:44 and 51.7 seconds remaining to halftime. ... The 1st half included 8 ties and 10 lead changes. ... KC connected on 19 of 51 floor shots, (37.2) compared with Ursuline’s 18-for-40 effort (45.0). ... The teams battled to a 34-all stalemate on tbe boards. ... The Irish ended with 19 turnovers. ... Davidson is assisted by former Cardinal Mooney High and Thiel College standout Amber Bodrick, as well as Bodrick’s former Mooney coach Jack Bermann. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Hickory 60, Central Tech 11 — At “The Hive” in Hermitage, the Lady Hornets improved to a perfect 4-0 with the non-region rout of the Lady Falcons of Erie. Hickory led 19-2 after the opening quarter and rolled to victory.
Nikki Arbanas buried 4 treys en route to 17 points and also had 4 steals and 4 assists for Hickory. Also, Holly Grober had 16 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, Brandi Beader scored a dozen points and Jenna Placzek registered 6 points and 3 steals.
Central Tech did not have a player reach double figures in scoring.
ä West Middlesex 67, Rocky Grove 31 — At West Middlesex, coach Jody Anthony’s Ms. Reds improved to 3-1 as WM had 3 girls notch double-doubles in a win over the Lady Orioles.
Alexis Summers led the way for WM with 22 points while Kristen White had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Kelsey Murray registered 13 points and 18 boards and Molly Stitt contributed 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Christina Schiffer scored 15 to lead Rocky Grove and Amber Nerlich bucketed 11 markers.
ä Sharpsville 59, Meadville 28 — At Sharpsville, coach Jeff Hanley’s Blue Darlings (1-2) picked up their 1st win of the season with a rout of the Lady Bulldogs.
Sharpsville took a 15-6 lead after 8 minutes of play, extended it to 30-14 by halftime and rolled to the non-region win.
McKenzie Popatak went 12-of-14 from the charity stripe en route to scoring 24 points for Sharpsville. She also had 8 rebounds and 8 steals. Also, Megan Davis scored 13 points and Natalie Henwood bucketed 11 and dished out 4 assists.
Marcadi McCoy scored 9 points to pace Meadville.
ä Struthers 59, Sharon 41 — At the annual “Battle of the Border” event at Poland High School, which pits Pa. teams against squads from the Buckeye State, the Lady Wildcats jumped out to a 23-12 lead after 8 minutes of play and went on to beat the Lady Tigers (2-2).
Ashleigh Ryan fired in 16 points to lead Struthers while Brittaney Zupko scored 12.
Tanayja Sanders led the way for Sharon with 17 markers and Kristina Jacoway posted 11 points.
ä George Junior Republic 91, DuBois 54 — At Grove City, Nafis Brown had 18 points, 10 assists and 6 steals as the Tigers (3-1) rolled past DuBois.
Also for GJR, Quamere Boggs bucketed 13 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and had 4 steals, Eddie Pena posted 12 points and 9 boards, Isaiah Pace notched 12 points and Dominic Barnes added 10 markers.
Hunter Lydick fired in a game-high 22 points for DuBois and Jon Mohney contributed 13 markers.
Reynolds standout Austin Matthews was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler on Saturday after going a perfect 4-0 and winning the 152-pound title at the rugged King of the Mountain Tournament at Central Mountain Saturday in Lock Haven and Aust
Matthews pinned Jimmy Schuitema of Philipsburg, N.J. in 59 seconds in the finals to cop the crown.
Jamar Henry (182) placed 5th and went 4-2. He posted a 6-1 decision over Cody Richmond of Boyertown to take 5th place.
Logan Rickert finished 7th at 220 pounds. He went 4-2 and pinned Ryan Johnson of Bethlehem Catholic in 1:40 for the 7th-place finish.
Other records for the Raider matmen: Matt Leice (138), Levi Stoyer (3-2) and Gene Ringer (285) went 3-2; Nick Nottingham (120), Mason McCollum (132) and Austin Moffett (170) were all 1-2 and Seth Hogue (106), Kegan Miller (160) and Denton Zeronas (195) went 0-2.
URSULINE 15 12 5 19 51
KENNEDY 12 25 12 4 53
URSULINE — Beasley 4-2-4-13, O’Donnell 2-4-7-8, Beacham 8-1-8-17, Berry 0-1-2-1, Miklandric 3-2-3-10, King 1-0-0-2, Rich 0-0-2-0, Bowell 0-0-0-0, Ross 0-0-0-0, Carnathan 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Beasley 3, Miklandric 2. Totals: 18-10-26-51.
KENNEDY CATHOLIC — Burns 2-8-11-12, Ricketts 3-4-8-11, Sargent 5-0-0-10, Hood 5-0-0-11, Kish 1-0-0-3, Kress 3-0-1-6, Bocian 1-0-0-2, O’Brien 0-0-1-0. 3-pt. goals: Ricketts 1, Kish 1, Hood 1. Totals: 19-12-21-53.
JV — Kennedy Catholic, 36-19. Taylor Hood 12 points for KC; Rachel Strollo 8 for Ursuline.
CENTRAL TECH 2 2 2 5 11
HICKORY 19 18 14 9 60
CENTRAL TECH — Dixon 0-0-0-0, Winarski 0-0-0-0, Wayne 0-0-0-0, Spizary 0-0-0-0, Sebastian 2-0-0-4, Bickerstaff 0-0-0-0, Wallimone 2-0-0-4, Klemm 0-0-2-0, Williams 0-0-0-0, Clayton 0-2-2-2, Watson 0-1-2-1. Totals: 4-3-6-11.
HICKORY — Placzek 3-0-1-6, Bible 0-0-0-0, Arbanas 6-1-1-17, Chess 1-1-3-3, Moore 0-0-0-0, Gustas 0-0-0-0, Marchand 0-0-0-0, Zreliak 0-0-0-0, Beader 4-2-4-12, White 0-0-0-0, Lacava 2-2-2-6, Grober 3-10-15-16, Little 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Arbanas 4, Beader 2. Totals: 19-16-26-60.
JV — Hickory, 43-15. Lexi Bible 12, Elana Marchand 10 for Hickory.
ROCKY GROVE 8 7 4 12 31
W. MIDDLESEX 14 21 13 19 67
ROCKY GROVE — Lepley 0-0-2-0, Nerlich 3-4-5-11, Larson 0-0-1-0, Schiffer 6-1-4-15, Taylor 1-1-2-3, Swatzler 0-2-2-2. 3-pt. goals: Schiffer 2, Nerlich 1. Totals: 10-8-16-31.
WEST MIDDLESEX — Murray 4-5-10-13, Stitt 2-8-9-13, Summers 8-5-8-22, Pierce 1-0-1-2, Nitsche 1-1-2-3, White 6-1-3-14. 3-pt. goals: Stitt 1, Summers 1, White 1. Totals: 22-20-33-67.
JV — No game.
MEADVILLE 6 8 4 10 28
SHARPSVILLE 15 15 16 13 59
MEADVILLE — Dewalt 2-1-2-5, Glatch 0-0-1-0, Vactor-Pope 3-0-0-7, McCoy 3-3-4-9, Newsome 2-0-0-5, Schweter 1-0-1-2, Wickham 0-0-0-0, Mullen 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Vactor-Pope 1, Newsome 1. Totals: 11-4-8-28.
SHARPSVILLE — Davis 4-2-2-13, Przicina 2-0-3-4, Popatak 6-12-14-24, Henwood 4-3-4-11, Kurelko 0-4-4-4, Anderson 1-1-2-3, Whalen 0-0-0-0, Davies 0-0-0-0, Scurpa 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Davis 3. Totals: 18-22-29-59.
JV — Sharpsville, 39-22.
Battle of the Border
SHARON 12 4 14 11 41
STRUTHERS 23 10 20 6 59
SHARON — Mal. Torr 2-0-0-4, Mag. Torr 0-2-2-2, Jacoway 5-1-5-11, Chester 1-1-2-3, Hilton 0-1-2-1, D. Smith 1-1-3-3, Sanders 6-5-7-17. Totals: 23-11-20-41.
STRUTHERS — Ryan 6-4-5-16, Hefferon 3-0-0-6, Kam 0-1-2-1, Shives 3-1-2-7, Perez 2-0-2-4, Zupko 5-2-2-12, Thomas 2-0-0-4, Kane 1-0-0-2, Smrek 1-1-2-3, Leonard 1-0-0-2. 3-pt. goals: Ryan 2. Totals: 22-9-15-59.
DuBOIS 14 15 12 13 54
GEORGE JUNIOR 23 21 27 20 91
DuBOIS — Hillebrand 1-0-0-2, Kriner 1-0-0-3, Shepherd 3-2-4-8, Mohney 3-6-7-13, Lydick 9-4-7-22, Foley 3-0-0-6. 3-pt. goals: Kriner 1, Mohney 1. Totals: 20-12-18-54.
GEORGE JUNIOR REPUBLIC — Boggs 6-1-2-13, N. Brown 8-2-2-18, Pearson 3-0-1-7, Toney 2-2-2-6, Barnes 5-0-0-10, Plowden 4-0-0-8, Gibson 2-1-2-5, Pena 6-0-0-12, Pace 5-0-0-12. 3-pt. goals: Pace 2, Pearson 1. Totals: 41-6-9-91.
JV — GJR, 72-47. Ron Pearson 17, Qayshawn Oliver 12, Rasa Williams 12, Justice Brown 10 for GJR. Devin Clark 11, Bryce Ackerman 11 for DuBois.
It was a Saturday afternoon matinee in Hermitage, but school was in session for the Kennedy Catholic and Ursuline High girls’ basketball teams.
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