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.
Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM
Cooper (400, 800, distance- and mile-relay legs), jumper Perrine and sprinter Scott (100, 200) gave the Greyhounds the giddy-up by winning multiple events.
HIGH SCHOOL SPRING SPORTS ROUNDUP
Baseball, softball and tennis teams were in action Monday as the nice weather allowed for high school spring sports action that has been limited so far by rain, snow and windy conditions.
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.
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- Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM