- — Boys preview boxes by Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor
Who: Kennedy Catholic (19-2) vs. Farrell (8-15).
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: West Middlesex High.
Top Players: Kennedy Catholic—Taylor Hood, 5-5 Sr. (12.7 ppg.); April Bocian, 6-2 Soph. (10.1); Tatum Kress, 5-9 Jr. (9.8); Rebekah Kish, 5-8 Jr. (9.5); Taylor Zacherl, 5-4 Soph. (5.8). Farrell—Bria Gambill, 5-7 Sr. (9.1); Whitney Murray, 5-10 Sr. (9.0); Oriana Smith, 5-6 Jr. (5.0); Tatyana Page, 5-7 Jr. (4.6); Key-Asia Oatis, 5-8 Sr. (4.2).
Bonus Shots: Kennedy Catholic and Farrell have dominated District 10 Class A hoops over the past decade. KC is the 3-time defending champion and has won 9 Class A titles in the past 13 years. In that same span, Farrell won crowns in 2010, ’08 and ’07. The last team besides KC or Farrell to win the D-10 crown was Iroquois in ’04. ... KC’s 2 losses this season came against Neshannock (60-56) on Dec. 9 and to Hollidaysburg (52-39) on Jan. 11. Neshannock lost to Bishop Canevin in the WPIAL quarterfinals on Friday while Hollidaysburg, the No. 1 seed in the District 6 Class AAAA playoffs and the defending district champs, was knocked off by 4th-seeded Altoona Area (54-47). ... KC, under 1st-year coach Chris Mele and the Region 1-A champ (10-0), had a bye into the semifinals and is riding a 12-game winning streak. ... In the 2 Region 1 head-to-head matchups this year against Farrell, KC has rolled 62-43 and 74-32. ... KC has posted some impressive wins, including a 54-37 win over Franklin in the Franklin Elks Tipoff Tourney title game. Other wins have come on the road at Girard (38-37) on Feb. 8 (Girard is still alive in the AA playoffs), Ford City, Ursuline, Beaver Area and Cardinal Mooney. ... Last season, KC beat Cochranton (67-45) for the D-10 crown, then ousted North Catholic (45-36) and Port Allegany (70-21) in the PIAAs before falling to Vincentian Academy (68-51) for the 2nd straight year. The 24-3 season capped an amazing run for seniors Rachel Burns, Alex Ricketts and Courtney Sargent. Burns and Ricketts, a D-I Akron University recruit, were both 1,000-point scorers. Vincentian went on to lose the PIAA championship game to Tri-Valley (59-42). ... Coach Ed Turosky’s Farrell Lady Steelers went 5-5 in Region 1, sweeping winless Jamestown, with the other wins came against Ellwood City-Riverside, Brashear, Commodore Perry, and D-10 playoff participants Rocky Grove (47-38) and Reynolds (61-35). ... Farrell ousted Youngsville (43-32) in the D-10 quarterfinals. Janee Avery came off the bench to score 11 points for Farrell while Gambill tallied 10. ... Last season, Farrell beat Rocky Grove (43-39 in OT) in the D-10 quarterfinals, then suffered a tough 47-46 loss to Cochranton in the semis to finish 12-12. ... The winner heads to the D-10 title game to play either Rocky Grove or Cochranton. ... The game will be broadcast on SportsRadio 96.7 FM with Mark Slezak and Bob Greenburg calling the action. Also, all games will be streamed at 790wpic.com and sportsradio967.com.
Who: Mercer (17-5) vs. Girard (18-5).
When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Fairview High.
Top Players: Mercer—Alexis Arkwright, 5-8 Sr. (16.5 ppg.); Megan McKinney, 5-6 Sr. (10.6); Adelyn Cook, 5-4 Jr. (7.8); Alexis Mills, 5-5 Sr. (6.8); Aubrie Angermeier, 5-7 Soph. (5.2). Girard—Maria Welch, 5-11 Jr. (13.1); Emma Oas; Mackenzie Bonnett, Samantha Dunn, Lauren Davenport, Carly Byham, Rylie Bolt.
Bonus Shots: Coach Aaron Cook’s (3rd year) Mercer Lady M's are riding an 8-game winning streak as they get set to face Girard. ... Mercer’s losses are to Mohawk (40-38) in their season-opener at the Mohawk Tipoff Tourney, Grove City (57-55), Hickory (63-28) in the Hickory Sally Ward Classic title game, Greenville (52-46) and Sharon (54-50). The Greenville and Sharon losses came back-to-back, then Mercer reeled off 8 straight wins. ... Arkwright has fired in 364 points this season and compiled 1,259 career points. ... McKinney has scored 235 points this year. ... Last year, the Lady M’s beat Girard (45-34) in the D-10 quarterfinals, fell to Gen. McLane (56-42) in the semifinals, then dropped the consolation game to Sharpsville (48-29), finishing 17-8. In that quarterfinal game last season, Mercer jumped out to an 11-3 lead after 8 minutes of play and led 22-17 at halftime. Then outscored Girard 23-17 in the 2nd half. Arkwright rifled in 25 points while McKinney and Mills had 7. For Girard, which finished the season 17-6, standouts Shannon Allen had 12, Harlie Bolt was limited to 2 and Welch tallied 6 points. Both Allen and Harlie Bolt graduated. ... Mercer, which shared the Region 2-AA title with Sharon, advanced to the semifinals by beating Fairview (44-33) in its opener. Arkwright and Cook had 13 points each. ... The Lady Yellowjackets of Girard are led by veteran Larry Seneta, who is in his 36th season as head coach (748-257). ... Welch and Bonnett are returning starters for Girard while Davenport started as a freshman. ... Girard played Sharon, Sharpsville and Kennedy Catholic this season. The only area team to beat them was KC (38-37). Girard has also lost to Gen. McLane and Seneca this season. ... In the quarterfinals, the Lady Yellowjackets jumped out to a 14-0 lead on Wilmington. The Lady ’Hounds cut it to 30-29 at the start of the 4th quarter, but Girard buried its free throws down the stretch. Oas was a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe and the team finished 16-of-16. Welch sank a trio of treys en route to 15 points to lead the Jackets. ... The winner of the Mercer-Girard game will face either Gen. McLane or Seneca for the title. ... North East is the defending D-10 champs, but they didn’t even make the playoffs this year. Prior to NE winning, Villa Maria captured 6 straight titles. Sharon and Lakeview won the D-10 AA titles in 2006 and ’05, respectively. ... The game will be broadcast on SportsRadio 96.7 FM with Ryan Briggs and Chris Burtch calling the action.
Who: Hickory (23-0) vs. Mercyhurst Prep (18-5).
When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: West Middlesex High.
Top Players: Hickory—Nikki Arbanas, 5-7 Sr. (18.9 ppg.); Holly Grober, 5-11 Sr. (13.8); Nicole LaCava, 5-10 Jr. (9.3); Brandi Beader, 5-9 Jr. (6.7); Megan Chess, 5-4 Jr. (4.3). Mercyhurst Prep—Emily Stoicovy, 5-7 Jr. (12.3); Erika Woll; Rachel Shopene, Annie Popoff, Madison Steiner.
Bonus Shots: Veteran Hickory High coach Jeanette Whitehead has her Region 5-AAA champion Lady Hornets rolling and the team is led by the senior duo of Arbanas and Grober. Arbanas, a D-I recruit (YSU) has scored 1,271 career points, while Grober, who will play hoops at D-II Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, has 1,413 points. ... Hickory steamrolled its way through the regular season. The closest game had a point differential of 17 points. vs. 2-time defending District 10 champion Franklin (57-40). The first time those 2 teams played, the Lady Hornets routed the Knights 74-23. ... Hickory rolled past Conneaut Area (45-23) in the D-10 quarters. Arbanas scored 14 to lead the Lady Hornets. Conneaut had a pair of 1,000-point career scorers in Kristen Baker and Challen Litwiler, who had 9 and 8 points, respectively. Baker hit the mark on Jan. 15 and Litwiler joined her on the list 3 days later. ... Last season, Hickory beat Warren (58-43) in the D-10 quarters, fell to Villa Maria in the semis (49-37), ended Mercyhurst Prep’s season by winning the consolation game (50-43), then fell to South Park (71-44) in the 1st round of the state playoffs for the 2nd straight year. South Park ended up winning the state championship (53-38) over Bethlehem Catholic. Hickory finished with a 21-5 ledger last year while Prep closed out at 16-9. ... In that game last year vs. Prep Arbanas fired in 22 points and Grober had 18 while Stoicovy led Prep with 9 points. ... Coach Dan Perfetto's (8th year) Region 6 Lady Lakers were swept by region champ Villa Maria (39-29 and 56-32), lost to Blackhawk (63-40), Bradford (40-25) and fell to Prairie High of Vancouver, Wash., (52-43) in the Surf ‘N’ Slam Tournament in San Diego in late December. Prairie is in the state playoffs in Washington while Blackhawk is playing West Mifflin in the WPIAL semifinals Wednesday. ... Prep rolled past Franklin (59-39) in the quarterfinals. Woll and Emily Kinecki had 12 points each for the Lakers while Becca Gravatt (20) and Angelina Starr (15) scored in double figures for the Knights. Starr was the leading female scorer in all of D-10 with 474 points. ... The Hickory-Prep winner plays the winner of Slippery Rock-Villa Maria for the D-10 title. ... Prep won D-10 in titles 2005 and 2011) in the past 10 years. Slippery Rock won it in 2010 and 2007, Gen. McLane copped crowns in ’08 and '09 and Franklin had won 2 straight and also captured titles in ’04 and ’06. ... The game will be broadcast on WPIC 790 AM with Mark Slezak and Bob Greenburg calling the action.
Who: Brookfield (16-7) vs. South Range (20-3).
What: Div. III Cuyahoga Falls Regional (Struthers District).
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Struthers Fieldhouse.
Top Players: Brookfield—Ashley Kirila, 6-0 Sr. (9.8 ppg.); Danielle DiCristofaro, 5-2 Sr. (8.0); Autumn Kirila, 5-10 Soph. (7.0); Lauren Hawley, 5-6 Sr. (6.7); Delany Saxton, 6-0 Jr. (5.9). South Range—Ashley Sharp, Soph; Starla Sharp; Sierra Petrella; Morgan Czopur; Jordan Youngs; Sara Durr; Lynnie Ritter.
Bonus Shots: Coach Shawn Hammond’s Lady Warriors closed out the regular season with a tough 46-43 loss to Vienna-Mathews, then the team had an 8-day layoff before playing Liberty in the Struthers District/Sectional. ... Brookfield was 13-4 entering the final 5 games of the season and then alternated wins and loses to end up at 15-7. The Lady Warriors’ losses have come against Maplewood (41-35), Newton Falls (56-43), Howland (60-49), Py Valley (43-34), Girard (38-27), Ursuline (41-39) and Mathews. ... Brookfield has notched wins over West Middlesex (43-20), Sharon (49-41, Brookfield Christmas Tourney title game) and Farrell (58-27). ... At Brookfield, DiCristofaro scored 17 points and Ashley Kirila bucketed 13 as the locals downed Liberty (56-37) in the quarterfinals. Brookfield, the No. 4 seed, had a 1st-round bye. ... Coach Tony Matisi’s South Range Lady Raiders, the No. 2 seed, beat Cardinal Mooney (45-39 in overtime) in the 1st round and then ousted Girard, 46-40, in the quarters Saturday. ... Against Mooney, South Range led by as many as 12 points late in the 3rd quarter before Mooney rallied to send the game into OT. Ashley Sharp led SR with 15 points. ... Against Girard, South Range trailed 28-22 after 3 quarters but outscored Girard 24-12 in the final frame. ... SR ended Brookfield’s season last year with a 43-36 win in the Mineral Ridge Sectional. The Lady Warriors closed out the season with an 11-11 record. ... The winner advances to Saturday's 1 p.m. championship game at Struthers Fieldhouse against 3rd-seed Ursuline or No. 1 seed Springfield Local. Those two play at 6 p.m. Thursday at Struthers Fieldhouse.
Girls boxes by Rob Malsom, Herald sports writer