CLASS A GIRLS
Who: Kennedy Catholic (24-2) vs. Vincentian Academy (27-1).
What: Western Regional semifinals.
When: Today, 1 p.m.
Where: North Allegheny High, Wexford.
Players to Watch: Kennedy Catholic — Alex Ricketts, 5-11 Sr. forward (17.3 ppg.); Courtney Sargent, 6-2 Sr. post (13.1); Rachel Burns, 5-10 Sr. point guard (11.0); Taylor Hood, 5-7 Jr. 2-guard (7.4); Rebekah Kish, 5-7 Soph. 2-guard (7.0); April Bocian, 6-2 Fr. post (5.5). Vincentian Academy — Brenna Wise, 6-1 Soph. swingman (22.5); Kayla Key, 5-6 Jr. guard (6.7); Abbey Bartoszewicz, 5-6 Sr. guard (6.7); Ally Bartoszewicz, 5-11 Jr. swingman (5.7); Torrieonna Cash, 5-7 Fr. guard (5.1); Maia Joiner, 5-5 Fr. guard (5.0); Kiersten Elliott, 5-10 Fr. swingman (4.9); Sara Marusic, 5-9 Soph. guard.
Bonus Shots: KC gets a rematch of last year’s PIAA quarterfinal game when VA, which is located on McKnight Road, Pittsburgh, knocked the Lady Golden Eagles out of the playoffs with a 56-51 win at North Allegheny High. KC led 38-30 with 1:47 left in the 3rd quarter, but the Royals rallied. They outrebounded KC 50-32. Wise had 18 for VA (scored 10 in the 4th quarter before fouling out with 1:13 left) while Sargent (17) and Ricketts (10) scored in double digits for the locals. KC played that game without Rachel Burns, who had torn her ACL. ... After that game, VA lost to North Catholic (71-58), then NC went on to lose the PIAA title game to Steelton-Highspire (66-59). VA finished with a 28-2 record. ... KC lost to Vincentian (70-53) on Jan. 26 in the title game of the Penn State-Beaver Tournament. VA jumped out to a 28-14 first-quarter lead. Wise buried 6 treys en route to 30 points, Marusic 11 and Cash 10. For KC, Ricketts had 19, Kish 11 and Burns 10. KC played that game without Sargent, who was out with a sprained ankle. ... Cash is the niece of Swin Cash, who played hoops at McKeesport High, won national titles with UConn in 2000 and ’02 and now plays for the WNBA’s Chicago Sky. ... KC coach Tom Burns (6th year, 114-34) has led his squad to 3 straight District 10 titles (4 overall). The KC girls program has won 17 D-10 crowns. ... VA is the 2-time defending WPIAL champs and have won 3 in 4 years. ... KC had a 1st-round bye in the D-10 playoffs, beat Commodore Perry (68-28) in the semis and Cochranton (67-45) for the crown. Kennedy beat North Catholic (45-36) in the 1st round of the PIAAs, then routed Port Allegany (70-21) in the quarterfinals Ricketts (17) and Sargent (14) scored in double digits vs. NC and Ricketts (21) and Sargent (17) led the way against Port Allegany. ... Coach Ron Moncrief’s (7th year) Vincentian squad beat West Greene (59-15), Winchester Thurston (76-59) and Quigley Catholic (57-38) in the WPIAL playoffs, then Serra Catholic (53-46) for the title. Wise had 18 points and 20 rebounds in the championship game. In the PIAAs, Vincentian ousted Keystone (58-31) and Berlin-Brothersvalley (44-42). Wise had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Ally Bartoszewicz notched 7 points and 11 boards vs. Keystone. Against Berlin-Brothersvalley Wednesday at Hempfield High, Wise had 17 points and 13 rebounds. Abbey Bartoszewicz scored on a rebound off her own missed shot as time expired to win it. ... The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News did not compile girls’ state rankings this season, but both KC and VA were ranked in the top 5 last season. ... KC has outscored its opponents 1,589 to 796 (793-point differential), while VA is at 1,803 and 1,073 (730). ... Wise has compiled 1,086 career points in only 2 seasons while Ricketts has 1,403 and Burns 1,071. Ricketts is an NCAA D-I Akron University recruit. ... The Bartoszewicz’s are cousins. ... Besides VA, KC’s only other loss was the season-opener Dec. 6 vs. 2-time defending D-10 Class AAA champion Franklin (62-45) in the Franklin Tipoff Tournament. ... VA’s lone loss came on Feb. 11 against Class AAAA Monroeville-Gateway (70-48), which ousted McDowell in the 1st round of the PIAAs, then fell to Chartiers Valley in the 2nd round. ... In the PIAAs last season KC beat Riverview (59-30) and Clarion Area (59-43) before losing to Vincentian. ... KC's last appearance in a PIAA championship game was in 2001 when the Lady Golden Eagles beat Pottsville-Nativity Blessed Virgin Mary (48-46). ... Vincentian’s last trip to the PIAA title game was in ’02 when it beat Camp Hill Trinity Catholic (45-37) in Class AA. Vincentian lost to Camp Hill Trinity (67-58) in the ’01 state championship. ... The game will be broadcast on NewsTalk 790 (WPIC AM), with Jeff Wimer and Roger Flynn calling the action. Airtime is 12:30 p.m. — By Rob Malsom, Herald sports writer.
CLASS AA BOYS
Who: West Middlesex (24-3) vs. Conemaugh Twp. (24-3).
What: Western Regional semifinals.
When: Today, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Players to Watch: West Middlesex — Matt Dogan, 6-foot-6 Sr. combo guard (26.2 ppg.); Trey Staunch, 6-3 Soph. post (16.6); Jeremy Jancso, 6-5 Sr. forward (12.2); Jerrod Palmer, 5-11 Sr. 2-guard (8.2); Roman Klaric, 5-11 Sr. point guard; Christian Porterfield, 5-11 Jr. swingman (5.0); Mike Ginther, 6-6 Sr. post. Conemaugh Twp. — Dillon Boyer, 6-foot Sr. guard (14.2 ppg.); Jeff Fisher, 6-1 Sr. forward (12.7); Josh Burns, 5-9 Sr. guard (11.5); Jeremy Sotosky, 6-3 Sr. swingman (11.1); Austin Speigle, 6-1 Jr. guard (3.6); Jeff Callihan, 6-1 Jr. forward (5.4); Luke Maurer, 6-1 Soph. forward (3.1).
Bonus Shots: Ranked 2nd in the state behind Beaver Falls (Patriot-News), the Big Reds are riding a 20-game win skein and have not suffered a setback this calendar year, last losing in Farrell’s Dresch-McCluskey Holiday Classic finals to Youngstown East (55-52). ... 14th-year Middlesex mentor Chad Mild (234-130, 64.3 percent) — the program’s all-time winningest coach — has orchestrated a school single-season mark for wins that includes an undefeated Region 2-AA crown and 2nd straight District 10 title (single-A in 2012) via a 5-OT victory over fellow semifinalist Lakeview (71-65). ... The Big Reds recorded a 2nd straight OT win, outlasting the WPIAL’s Jeannette (55-50) in the PIAA lidlifter. ... Dogan, Mercer County’s career scoring leader (2,200), has posted double-digit games all but once this season, as has Staunch. Dogan has met or topped the 30-point plateau 7 times. .... Porterfield pumped in 11 points — 1 shy of his season high — in the Big Reds’ quarterfinal-round win over Bishop McCort (61-54), but it took Dogan’s 16-for-18 fourth-quarter free-throw marksmanship (20 for 23 overall) to secure the win. He has attempted almost 1,000 free throws during his scholastic career, and is 210 for 287 (73.1 percent) this season, followed by Staunch (142 of 185, 76.7) and Jancso (16 double-figure scoring games, 108 for 147, 73.4). Collectively, West Middlesex is 524 of 745 (70.3). ... Conemaugh Township’s program last advanced this far in ’02 when it competed in Class A. ... The Indians of 5th-year Head Coach Chuck Lesko (91-34) bested Brentwood (53-49) in the opening round as Boyer bombed 5 triples en route to a game-high 24-point performance. But the Tribe’s triumph was not secured until 7.9 ticks to play remained on Burns’ pair of free throws. In the quarterfinals the Indians blew out Northern Cambria (65-46), led by the double-digit scoring of Boyer (15), Callihan (14) and Sotosky (11) and Fisher’s 9-point, 11-rebound contribution. Northern Cambria’s quintet of seniors had won 80-plus games in 4 seasons, including 22 this year. ... Conemaugh Twp. conquered Tussey Mountain (68-55) and Northern Bedford (75-29) in the District 5 tournament, but had to win a play-in game against the Pittsburgh City League’s Westinghouse (54-44) to gain entry to the PIAA playoffs. ... The Tribe’s lone losses occurred to Penn Cambria (54-46) at the Central Cambria Tourney (Penn Cambria was ousted by Greensburg Central Catholic in the PIAA opener), Northern Bedford (61-53) in mid-December, and Shade (70-58) 2 months later. ... The game will be broadcast on SportsRadio 96.7 (WLLF FM), with Mark Slezak and Bob Greenburg calling the action, beginning with a 2 p.m. pre-game show. It will be simulcast on NewsTalk 790 (WPIC AM) following completion of the Kennedy Catholic-Vincentian Academy girls’ game, and also streamed at www.790-wpic.com and www.sportsradio967.com.
Who: Lakeview (23-4) vs. Beaver Falls (25-3).
What: Western Regional semifinals.
When: Today, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Edinboro University’s McComb Field House.
Players to Watch: Lakeview — Dalton Boggs, 6-1 Sr. combo-guard (15.8 ppg.); Casey Greggs, 6-6 Sr. swingman (14.5); Coty “Big Country” Gander, 6-2 Sr. post (8.9); Brandon Rice, 6-2 Jr. forward (8.2); Zach VanDusen, 6-0 Jr. 2-guard; Andrew Fowler, 6-3 Sr. guard; Austin Rice, 5-9 Fr. guard. Beaver Falls — Elijah Cottrill, 6-3 Jr. combo-guard (16.4 ppg.); Drew Cook, 6-2 Sr. guard (15.9); Zach Miller, 6-0 Sr. guard; Micoy Mason, 5-9 Sr. guard; Danny Stratton, 6-2 Jr. swingman; Miciah Akins, 5-7 Jr. guard; Tristen Nesmith, 6-3 Soph. forward.
Bonus Shots: Coach Gary Burke (13th season, 205 career wins) has skippered the Sailors to the best season in program annals, including PIAA playoff wins over Quaker Valley (44-40) and Greensburg Central Catholic (49-41). Lakeview is ranked 8th in the state by The Patriot-News. ... This is the Sailors’ 2nd 20-win season brokered by Burke, and 8th winning season in the last 9. ... Boggs (24), Greggs (18), Gander (15) and Rice (10) have supplied consistent double-digit scoring. But the Sailors’ stifling defense and patient offense have combined to enable Lakeview to allow only a pair of opponents to post 50-plus points this season ... Boggs and Greggs surpassed the career 1,000-point plateau this year a 1st for the program, according to Burke. ... James Charlton (1,259) is Lakeview’s career scoring leader. According to available archives at The Herald, Greggs has garnered 1,211. ... D-10 runner-up Lakeview has lost only 3 of its last 20 games — all to West Middlesex. ... Coach Doug Biega (14th year, 302-81, 78.7 percent) and Beaver Falls have been belting postseason opponents, including Bishop Canevin (78-37), Brentwood (66-36), Apollo-Ridge (71-39) and Burrell (61-33) in the WPIAL Tournament, and Bald Eagle Area (92-48) and Mercyhurst Prep (53-39) in the PIAA playoffs — a 31.5 ppg. nightly differential. In the blowout of Bald Eagle Area — the Tigers tallied 31 second-period points to break open a tight 20-17 tilt after 8 minutes — Cook (20 points, 8 assists), Cottrill (18 points, 8 rebounds) and Miller (16), Mason (15) and Stratton (12) scored in double digits as the Tigers tossed in 13 triples. Against Prep, Cottrill collected a game-high 27 points as Beaver Falls forged a 26-16 haftime lead after trailing 8-2 after 8 minutes. ... Beaver Falls forged a 14-0 ledger en route to the Section 2-AA crown. ... The proud program has played for a half-dozen WPIAL titles during the past dozen years. It claims a trio of PIAA crowns (1970, ’94 and ’05), losing last year to Imhotep Charter (56-54, OT), and the Tigers are seeking their 4th trip to state in 9 years. A year ago the Tigers mauled Lakeview (69-37), Conemaugh Twp. (77-52) and Quaker Valley (55-45) en route to 28 triumphs and a berth on the statewide stage. ... The state’s top-ranked AA team (Harrisburg Patriot-News) has suffered setbacks to undefeated AAA New Castle (80-59), Montour (70-62, at the latter’s holiday tourney), and 2-time single-A state finalist Lincoln Park (69-56) on Jan. 12 at the Coaches vs. Cancer Clash of the Titans. ... The game will be simulcast on NewsTalk 790 (WPIC AM) and SportsRadio 96.7 (WLLF FM), with Ryan Briggs and Chris Burtch calling the action, and streamed at www.790wpic.com and www.sportsradio967.com. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor; research compiled by Rob Malsom, Herald sports writer.
CLASS A GIRLS
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