Perception is reality, or so it’s said. However that can prove dangerous, particularly when underestimating others.
A misconception was spawned years ago that Hickory High kids lack toughness. Courtesy of Aaron Conley and his 2013-14 Hornets hardwood teammates, that perception, “ ... needs go out the window,” responded Head Coach Geoff Evans.
Conley collected a 5-point, 5-rebound performance Friday night, leading the host Hornets to a 64-36 humbling of Grove City. At The Hive, the Hornets’ Region 5-AAA rout avenged a 68-66 setback at Grove City earlier this season.
After a 1st frame that featured 4 deadlocks and a half-dozen lead changes, Hickory harvested a 28-24 margin at intermission. However the Hornets erupted for an 18-3 third-quarter surge.
While the Eagles endured 1-for-7 shooting with a handful of turnovers during that 8-minute nightmare — 18.5 points-per-game scorer Derek Turner was whistled for his 3rd and 4th personals, the latter with 2:01 left, by which time he had scored 4 points — a half-dozen Hornets contributed scores, led by Anthony Cannone’s 5.
Cannone connected for a game-high 22 points and he and Conley’s co-conspirators included Bubba Pryts (10 points, 4 rebounds), Donté Green (7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists), Nick Tantuo (game-high 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 points), Nate Mastrian (2 treys), and Brandon Rhoades (5 rebounds).
“Hickory kids are tough. If you want to win and you have the determination and the will-power there, all you’ve gotta do is want it,” Conley commented, confiding, “I try to get the team hyped, show a little physicality ...
“We took over the third quarter. We didn’t want to even give (the Eagles) a chance to get back in the game. We wanted to let ’em know from the start that this is ‘Hickory ball’ and we’re here to play,” Conley continued.
Insofar as the ’Stingers being “soft,” Evans challenged,
“ ... Come watch us play basketball. We’ve got guys — Aaron Conley, Bubba Pryts, Anthony Cannone, Donté Green, Ross Passalinqua — guys that are mentally tough, physically tough, and we worked hard in the offseason to get that way. And I’m happy to see the work we put in get out there, because we typically outrebound teams every night,” Evans noted.
Illustrating Evans’ contention, Hickory had a 28-19 margin against Grove City.
Hickory (8-3, 13-3) has won 4 consecutive contests and 8 of its last 9.
Conley connected on 7 of 9 floor shots and Evans said, “Aaron really does a good job in the post when he doesn’t put it on the floor. When he catches it, just gets good post position, he’s hard to stop down there, especially in this region where there’s really not too much of a post presence besides Oil City, which has a couple guys, and Farrell’s got some talent in the post.
“But Aaron really established himself (Friday) night, and he’s done that all year. The effort he gives night in and night out really helps our team,” Evans praised.
Having sat out last season — of his own volition — Conley seems consumed with compensating for lost time.
“I’m just here to win, playing with the team. We’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do to get that ‘W,’” Conley concluded.
After a pleasantly surprising 9-1 start, Grove City (6-5, 11-5) is trending in the wrong direction at the most inopportune time, having lost 3 straight and 4 of its last 6.
Turner and Danny Torok tallied 11 points apiece and Spencer Marnich — playing just days after his father’s death — hauled down a team-high 6 rebounds while Torok dished out 3 assists.
However the Eagles ended 14 for 38 (36.8 percent) from the floor and committed 19 miscues, compared with respective totals of 28 for 53 (52.8) and 14 for Hickory. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Farrell 62, Franklin 38 — At Farrell’s E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the Steelers rolled in the Region 5-AAA contest.
Coach Roland Shannonhouse’s Steelers led 15-8 after one period and 28-18 at halftime. After 3 frames the hosts were up 39-26 before putting another 23 points on the board in the final quarter.
Ike Jones led Farrell (10-1, 15-1) with 19 points, while Clifton McNair added 11 points and Chris James 10. Issac Grain paced the Knights (3-7, 6-9) with 14 markers.
ä Oil City 54, Sharon 49 — At Sharon, the teams met for the 2nd time in 3 nights, and unfortunately for the host Tigers the outcome was the same in the Region 5-AAA affair.
The teams were tied a 22 at intermission, but Oil City secured a 16-10 edge during the 3rd period, then held on in the 4th frame.
Devon Geib garnered a game-high 17 points for the Oilers (8-2, 13-2), while Andrew Williams went for 14. Oil City shot 15-for-20 from the free-throw line.
In its 6th straight setback, Sharon (4-6, 7-9) was led by Carnell Hawkins’ 15 points and ’Bray Jennings’ 11, which included a trio of treys. However the Tigers tallied only 6 of 9 freebies.
ä Kennedy Catholic 80, VisionQuest 62 — At Franklin High, coach Rick Mancino’s Golden Eagles improved to a perfect 6-0 in Region 1-A and 10-6 overall with the win over the Eagles (3-2, 4-11).
Sam Crow posted a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double to key KC, Gerald Zachar scored 13 points and dished out 8 assists, Andre Campbell registered 11 markers, and Gavin Cianci grabbed 7 rebounds.
Jessie Robinson scored a game-high 22 points to lead VQ and Dominik Robinson had 19.
ä George Junior Republic 53, Meadville 50 — At Grove City, the host Tigers notched the hardfought Region 5-AAA victory as Ron Pearson drilled a key trey with about 10 seconds remaining in the contest.
The game was tight throughout with GJR up 15-11 after one frame and 27-19 at half. The Bulldogs hacked the GJR lead down to 38-32 at the 4th quarter turn and then closed the gap near the end.
Qayshawn Oliver led the Tigers (4-7, 7-9) with 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Hadari Baker had 12 points, 7 assists and 2 steals. Malik Gibson had 6 rebounds and 9 points.
Jason Clune had 27 points for Meadville (3-7, 5-10), including 7 treys.
ä Wilmington 66, Lakeview 62 — At New Wilmington, the Hounds (6-2, 11-7) edged the Sailors (1-7, 6-11) in a Region 2-AA thriller.
Wilmington led 15-14 after the opening 8 minutes, but Lakeview stormed back and took a 31-22 halftime lead. The ’Hounds pulled away in the 3rd by outscoring the Sailors 22-9.
Jordan Smith rifled in a game-high 24 points for Wilmington and Rocco Fagan added a dozen markers.
Brandon Rice scored 21 points for the Sailors and Austin Rice bucketed 20.
ä Mercer 67, Sharpsville 54 — At Red Johnston Gymnasium, Sharpsville, the visiting Mustangs mustered free-throw marksmanship en route to the Region 2-AA road win.
Mercer manufactured a 26 for 46 free-throw performance, compared with Sharpsville’s 10-for-16 sin stripe shooting.
Mercer led 43-42 entering the final frame, but the ’Steads sank 13 of 19 freebies during the final 8 minutes, led by Justin Schmid’s 10-for-15 accuracy. Schmid sank only 2 field goals, but finished with 16 points.
Also for Mercer (4-4, 9-8), Jon Scheidhauer, Logan Clarke and Nate Guiler garnered 19, 15 and 10 points, respectively.
For Sharpsville (3-6, 7-10), Kyle Kennedy connected for 21 points, Sage Barringer bucketed 14, and Tanner Morris mustered 10 markers.
ä Reynolds 45, Greenville 34 — At Transfer, the Raiders of Coach Dan Kilgore survived a weak shooting night at the foul line to win the Region 2-AA contest.
“It was agonizing,” said Kilgore as his Raiders made only 13 of 27 at the charity stripe. “We had the lead, but we just couldn’t make a foul shot.”
Reynolds was on top 10-5 after the opening frame and led 21-16 at the half. The Raiders were up 37-21 at the fourth-quarter turn.
Garhett Frable led Reynolds (5-3, 12-4) with 21 points, including 7 of 10 at the foul line. Jacob Reimold added 11 points.
For Greenville (2-6, 8-8), Tyler Fattman set the pace with 10 points, while Trent McErlane added 9.
ä West Middlesex 71, Beaver Area 55 — At Beaver, coach Chad Mild’s Big Reds improved to 12-5 with the win over WPIAL Section 2-AAA Beaver Area (6-12).
Trey Staunch recorded a 21-point, 21-rebound performance for WM while Josh Porterfield also tallied a double-double with 16 points and 13 boards. Also, Ryan Dogan had 15 points for the Big Reds and Isaac Williams added a dozen markers.
Nicklaus Barney scored 16 to lead Beaver Area while Alex Rowse and Darius Wise had 10 points each.
˝ WM coach Chad Mild noted that the Mercer at West Middlesex boys game scheduled for 5 p.m. today was moved to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Mercer at WM girls game at 3:30 p.m. today will still be played.
ä Commodore Perry 65, Youngsville 34 — At Sheaklyville, the host Panthers kept the visitors winless (0-16) on the season in the non-region contest.
CP led 44-21 at intermission and never looked back in sweeping a pair of games from the Eagles.
CP moved to 8-8 on the year, led by Tyler McCracken with 17 points and Cody Beachy 16.
Lehnan led Youngsville with 13 points.
ä Rocky Grove 65, Jamestown 39 — At Rocky Grove, the host Orioles rolled in the Region 1-A contest against the winless Muskies.
The ’Grovers (2-2, 4-10) were led by Gannoe with 18 points and White 15. For Jamestown (0-6, 0-13), Kyle Melton hit for a dozen markers.
ä Brookfield 57, Youngstown Christian 47 — At Youngstown, the “Road Warriors” were victorious, owing to a 19-point 4th frame that included 11-for-18 free-throw shooting.
Brookfield boasted a 38-30 lead entering the final frame.
Seth Wallace went for a game-high 19 points, including 7-for-9 free-throw marksmanship, for Brookfield (9-5), while Davon Sims scored a dozen for Head Coach Bill Kovach.
For Youngstown Christian (3-9), Houston hit for 15 points and Townsend tallied 11. YCS turned in 15-for-18 free-throw accuracy, but got to the line only a handful of times during the 4th quarter.
ä Grove City 46, Oil City 39 — At “The Eagle’s Nest,” Grove City (6-3, 11-6) trailed 15-9 after the opening quarter and 23-19 at the break, but outscored the Lady Oilers 15-4 in the 3rd frame and pulled away for the Region 5-AAA victory.
Jordyn Wyllie scored 13 points to lead Grove City and Brenna Deyarmin registered 11 markers.
Riley Davis led the way for Oil City (2-6, 10-7) with 13 points.
ä Hickory 42, Conneaut Area 25 — At Linesville, the Hornets won 9 of the 14 matches over CASH.
Dominic Vadala (106) and Justin Walter (113) notched falls for Hickory while Stanford Dessaw (126), Jacione Cromartie (152) and Ethan Collins (195) won by major decision. At heavyweight, the Hornets’ Connor Bettua won 6-1 in double-OT.
Ryan Lowery (132), Taylor Ellis (145) and Connor Overman (220) posted falls for CASH.
ä Lakeview 39, Grove City 31 — At Stoneboro, the Sailors edged the Eagles.
Dylan McConnell (120), Marquis Spence (195), Andrew Clayton (220) and Sam Breese (285) notched pins for Lakeview.
Jared Sample posted the lone fall for GC at 145 pounds.
Perception is reality, or so it’s said. However that can prove dangerous, particularly when underestimating others.
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.
Oprah lands first interview with Jerry Sandusky's adopted son, Matthew
Matthew Sandusky, the adopted son of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, is breaking his silence for the first time since his father's 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, sitting down with Oprah to tell his story.
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.
SPORTVIEW: Ex-Greenville man to enter Bedford County Hall
HUGHEY TATE was the greatest baseball player that ever lived — hitting 10,000 home runs and never making an out in 50 years on the diamond.
OK, that’s not true of course. But that’s the way Hughey would have told it before bursting into laughter.
Tate, a Greenville man who was as good at spinning a yarn as well as he was in hitting home runs, will be inducted posthumously into the Bedford County (Pa.) Hall of Fame Saturday. Some of his relatives from this area will attend the ceremonies.
Wilson wins Herald-Tamie Jr. golf crown
It was a case of family history trumping golfing history!
Hickory High golfer Billy Colbert had a chance to become only the second player ever to win the Herald-Tam O’Shanter Golf Championship four times. But he missed the final round of the tourney Wednesday along with his brother Colbert to attend his great-grandma’s funeral in Pittsburgh.
“I kind of wish he was here,” said the 2014 champion Jacob Wilson, a Kennedy Catholic High player who lost in a sudden-death playoff to Colbert last year. “But you play whoever is here. And in golf, you play against yourself too.”
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