Another day, another grind in District 10 Region 5-AAA, where no lead is safe, whether it’s 2 points on the road, or 12 points at home.
Hickory High boys’ basketball team rallied from a 24-22 halftime deficit to build a 51-39 bulge with 5:52 remaining during Saturday’s matinee with Oil City. But the Hornets had to hold on to overcome the Oilers, 55-51.
At The Hive, the host Hornets spent less than 3 full minutes at halftime in their locker room after a 7-for-21 first-half shooting performance.
“ ... I really got after ’em at halftime,” admitted 1st-year Hornets’ headmaster Geoff Evans. “It was a gut-check for us. It was a half where we needed to come out and play, and our guys responded, and I was very proud of them.”
Specifically, Nick Tantuo took to heart Evans’ challenge. Tantuo tallied 8 of his 11 points and twice set up scores during the 3rd period. While the Oilers committed miscues on their first 4 second-half possessions, Hickory hit 10 of 17 floor shots and took a 43-31 lead into the 4th frame.
“Coach lit a fire under me at halftime,” the soft-spoken Tantuo related. “I knew I had to execute. (Evans) knows he can get more out of me, and everyone knows I’m a better player than I showed in the first half.
“I’ve struggled lately, but (Satur)day was a good game,” admitted Tantuo, who tallied an 11-point, 6-assist, 4-rebound line.
“Tantuo came out great,” Evans praised, noting, “and that’s the way, as coaches and his teammates, we know he can play. We had to bring him out of it a little at halftime. I had some words with him and just expressed that I know he can give a lot better effort.
“I’m not saying I had anything to do with it,” Evans emphasized, adding, “but the kid really came out and showed how good he is.”
Hickory (2-2, 6-2) was coming off a 68-66 loss at Grove City less 48 hours earlier, which is where Oil City suffered its lone setback prior to Saturday.
“The region’s brutal, tough. Anywhere you go on the road you can get beat, no matter where, if you play poorly,” acknowledged 2nd-year Oilers’ Head Coach Mark Cochran. “You’ve gotta be on your game, every game, or you’re gonna get beat every game; (Saturday) we weren’t,” Cochran confided.
Owing to 6 Oilers’ turnovers (1 more than the 1st-half’s total) Oil City scored just 1 third-period field goal and was outscored 21-7. Andrew Williams, who went for a game-high 18 points, scored 6 of the Oilers’ 7 points during the period.
When Nate Mastrian mustered a right-wing trey with 5:52 remaining, Hickory held a seemingly safe 51-39 margin.
However the Hornets had some questionable down-the-stretch shot selection, coupled with personal-foul problems. Oil City capitalized by converting 9 of 10 fourth-frame free-throw attempts as Tyler Lukasiak lent 4-for-4 marksmanship.
Devon Geib got Oil City within 51-50 with 1:47 left. However Hickory’s Anthony Cannone caught the Oilers napping for a backside drive, extending the Hornets’ edge to 53-50 with 52.2 ticks to play.
The teams twice traded turnovers during the closing sequence. It was not until Hickory’s Donté Green garnered both ends of a 1-and-1 bonus free-throw opportunity that the outcome was finalized.
Cannone collected a team-high 15 points and dished out a half-dozen assists, while Green and Aaron Conley combined for 14 points and Bubba Pryts pulled down a game-high 9 rebounds as Hickory harvested a 25-23 edge on the glass.
In addition to Williams, Geib garnered 13 points and snared 7 caroms and Frank Serbati served up 4 assists. However standout Logan Way was handcuffed by fouls, ultimately being DQ’d with 7:03 left. He finished with just 5 points for the Oilers (1-2, 6-2).
“It was a battle,” Evans allowed. “The refs did a pretty good job of letting us play a little bit.”
Cochran said, “The (Oil City) kids showed resiliency, they never quit. That’s a senior-laden team and they work very hard. We just gave (the Hornets) back the lead. We had one bad quarter (3rd) and we let ’em back in it the second quarter (OC led 22-17 on Williams’ corner jumper with 1:50 to intermission). And when you let Hickory back in the game, you’re in trouble ...
“Still, at the end of the game we had our opportunities, you know? A few chances to score, tie it up or win it, and we turned the ball over,” Cochran commented.
Oil City shot 15 for 36 from the field (41.7 percent) — only 5 for 13 after intermission — and 15 for 18 from the line (83.4), but the Oilers were guilty of 14 turnovers, 9 during the 2nd half.
Hickory had its own shooting struggles (21 for 48, 43.7), but the Hornets had only 9 miscues, though 5 occurred during the 4th frame. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Farrell 86, Meadville 70 — At E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the Steelers (4-0, 9-0) drained 10 treys and scored 33 points alone in the 2nd quarter to notch a 16-point Region 5-AAA win over the Bulldogs (2-3, 4-6).
Malik Miller rifled in 17 points to lead Farrell. Also, Clifton McNair bucketed 14, Ike Jones had 12, Dwayne Burns scored 11 points and Chris James contributed 10 markers.
Jason Clune led the way for Meadville with a game-high 27 points while Faizon McClure scored 15 and Shequon Lindsey registered 13 markers.
ä Grove City 56, Slippery Rock 45 — At The Rock Box, the Eagles (4-1, 9-1) cruised to the Region 5 victory.
After taking a 10-8 lead into the second quarter, Grove City roared out of the gates in the second quarter with a 12-2 run fueled by six Slippery Rock turnovers. Grove City held a 27-13 lead at the break.
The Rockets (1-3, 4-4) were able to cut the deficit, which was as large as 16, down to 10 with 2 minutes left in the period, but Grove City was able push its lead to 41-23 entering the 4th.
A furious Slippery Rock comeback cut their disadvantage to 11. Brady Kadlubek scored 13 of his game-high 15 in the 4th. Freshman forward Ryan Dutton led the Rockets with a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Grove City was led by Derek Turner's 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists and Spencer Marnich's 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Danny Torok added 8 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
“It was not a very pretty game,” said GC veteran coach Don Fee. “We got into some foul trouble early and had to dig into our bench and we got some good minutes from those guys, especially Madison Yarletts. We really needed him tonight and he had a great game for us.”
“We’re happy to get the win,” added Fee, whose Eagles were swept last season by the Rockets. “It’s all attitude and effort. We are playing very unselfish and adjusting to defenses well.”
“It’s a big rivalry game,” said SR coach Phil Bushre. “We don’t play them again for another month and we have a lot of basketball to play in that month.”
“In high school ball and this environment, you have to make easy shots,” continued Bushre, whose Rockets missed several lay-ups. “The biggest problem tonight was that we didn’t finish.” — Info submitted by Madeline Williams, Herald correspondent.
ä Franklin 73, Sharon 68 (OT) — At Tiger Gymnasium, Sharon (2-1, 5-3) led 20-12 after the opening quarter, but the Knights (1-3, 3-5) clawed back and copped the Region 5-AAA win in OT.
Isaac Drain notched a game-high 19 points for Franklin. Isaiah Rutherford and Zach Guth had 11 points each for the Knights and Kyle Ritchey and Clayton Maxon had 10 each.
Mark Henry paced the Tigers with 17 points, Daunell Stovall bucketed 15, Aubray Jennings tallied 14 and Curtis Seay added a dozen points.
ä Reynolds 65, Greenville 43 — At Greenville, the visiting Raiders rolled to the Region 2-AA road rout.
Reynolds roared to 22 second-stanza points, opening up a 31-13 margin at intermission.
Jake Leipheimer led Reynolds (3-0, 8-1) with 16 points, Cory Woods went for 14, and Garhett Frable fired in 15 points and added a team-high 11 rebounds, Coach Dan Kilgore reported.
The Raiders rifled in 7 from beyond the arc, led by Leipheimer’s trio of treys. while Woods went for 2 more.
For Greenville (0-2, 6-3), Matt Jones’ 10 points led the Trojans.
“Reynolds-Greenville is a gigantic rivalry. ... I’m proud my guys were able to rise to the occasion,” Kilgore summarized.
ä Sharpsville 55, Mercer 50 — At Mercer, the Mustangs (0-3, 4-5) led 9-6 after the opening 8 minutes and 24-20 at halftime, but the Blue Devils (1-2, 4-6) outscored the hosts 18-13 in the 3rd quarter and 17-13 in the 4th to earn the Region 2-AA victory.
Sage Barringer rifled in 24 points to lead Sharpsville and Kyle Kennedy bucketed 17.
For the Mustangs, Logan Clarke scored 13, John Scheidhauer tallied 11 and Nate Guiler added 10 points.
ä Wilmington 56, Lakeview 41 — At Stoneboro, the visiting Greyhounds garnered the Region 2-AA road rout, outscoring the Sailors 17-4 during the decisive 4th frame.
Brandon Rice recorded 10 points to lead Lakeview (1-2, 4-6).
Wilmington improved to 2-0 and 6-3, respectively; no individual statistics were reported to The Herald.
ä Ft. LeBoeuf 58, Jamestown 16 — At “The Fish Tank” in Jamestown, the Region 6-AAA Lady Bison (5-3) led 11-2 after the opening quarter and 33-9 at the break and cruised to the non-region win over Region 1-A Jamestown (0-9).
Alayna Seggi and Julia Boyd had 12 points each to lead Ft. LeBoeuf.
Savannah Miller drained a pair of treys for 6 points to pace the Lady Muskies.
Region 1 Duals
Coach Casey Taylor’s Reynolds High Raiders went 5-0 Saturday at Sharpsville High. His matmen went 66-4 and Mason McCollum won his 100th career match.
Reynolds beat Hickory (75-4), West Middlesex (75-6), Mercer (77-0), Sharpsville (67-9) and Slippery Rock (81-0).
Posting 5-0 records for Reynolds were Gage Bayless (106), Seth Hogue (113), Chase Hauck (120), Joel Leise (132), Alex DiGregorio (138), McCollum (152), Kegan Miller (160), Mike Millero (170), Denton Zeronas (195), Cole Rickert (220) and Gene Ringer (285).
Mike Bartolo went 4-0 at 126, Trevor Griswold was 4-1 at 182, Damion Gearheart went 2-3 at 145 and Alec Reiter was 1-0 at 126.
˝ Reynolds 75, Hickory 4; Hickory 57, Mercer 15; Hickory 66, West Middlesex 12; Hickory 51, Sharpsville 24; Hickory 56, Slippery Rock 24.
For Hickory, Noah Bianco bested 4 of 5 foes, including a major decision, 2 pins and a technical fall.
Hickory results: 106 -- Dominic Vadala 4-1 (1 pin 3 via forfeits); 113/120 -- Justin Walter (4-1, 2 pins, 2 forfeits); 120 -- Dylan Fox (0-3); 126 -- Mason Dean (4-1, 2 pins, 1 forfeit); 132 -- Stanford Dessaw (4-1, 3 pins); 138 -- Thomas Berkinyi (2-1, 1 forfeit); 145 -- Noah Bianco (4-1, 1 major decision, 1 techical fall. 2 pins); 152 -- Jacione Cromartie (1-2, 1 pin); 160 -- John Sims (4-1, 3 forfeits); 170 -- Robbie Thomas (2-3, 2 forfeits); 182 -- Dominic Lenzi (1-4, 1 forfeit); 195 -- Ethan Collins (2-3, 1 pin, 1 forfeit); 220 -- Jared Miley (0-1); 285 -- Gary Facemyer (1-1, 1 forfeit).
Tool City Tournament
A pair of Greenville High matmen advanced to championship matches on Saturday at the Tool City Tourney at Meadville Area Senior High’s “House of Thrills.”
The Trojans’ Zach Miller suffered a fall to Fairview’s Dakota Geer at 170 pounds. Geer earned the pin in 5:11.
In the 182-pound finals, Greenville’s Justin Reynolds dropped a 7-4 decision to Saegertown’s Dylan Reynolds.
Greenville finished 4th in the team standings with 174 points. Boiling Springs won the team title (221.5), followed by Ft. LeBoeuf (185), Gen. McLane (181.5), Greenville and Saegertown (149).
Another day, another grind in District 10 Region 5-AAA, where no lead is safe, whether it’s 2 points on the road, or 12 points at home.
Roundup: Rockets, Hornets, Blue Devils win
ä Slippery Rock 11, Grove City 3 — At Memorial Park in Grove City, Travis Lauster singled and tripled and reached base 4 times as the defending District 10 Class AAA champion Slippery Rock Rockets beat the Eagles.
Joe Barnhart went the distance for Slippery Rock. He gave up a dozen hits in earning the win. At the dish for Slippery Rock, Jackson Kerchis, Butler and Matt Badger all had 2 hits and Arrenzo doubled.
Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM
ä Wilmington 98, West Middlesex 51 — At West Middlesex, the visiting Greyhounds gave the Big Reds their first home, dual-meet loss in approximately 4 seasons according to Middlesex mentor Ed Pikna.
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.
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