Who: Kennedy Catholic (22-2) vs. North Catholic (15-10).
What: Opening round.
When: 3 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Slippery Rock University’s Morrow Field House.
Players to Watch: Kennedy Catholic — Alex Ricketts, 5-11 Sr. (17.3 ppg.); Courtney Sargent, 6-2 Sr. (13.1); Rachel Burns, 5-10 Sr. (11.0); Taylor Hood, 5-7 Jr. (7.4); Rebehak Kish, 5-7 Soph. (7.0); April Bocian, 6-6 Fr. (5.5). North Catholic — Lauren Wolosik, 5-10 Sr. (27.1); Evelyn Brazil, 5-0 Soph.; Paige Kizior, 5-4 Jr.; Teresa Yanicko, 5-6 Jr.; Brooke Zangaro, 5-7 Soph.; Mia Palmer, 5-3 Soph.; Jessica Graff, 5-8 Soph.
Bonus Shots: Kennedy Catholic coach Tom Burns (6th year, 112-34) and his Lady Golden Eagles have ruled District 10 in Class A girls hoops, having just captured the program’s 17th championship with a 67-45 win vs. Cochranton. Ricketts (18), Burns (15) and Sargent (14) scored in double digits for KC. ... The Lady Golden Eagles earned a 1st-round bye in the district playoffs as Region 1 champs and ousted Commodore Perry (68-28) in the semifinals. Sargent (16), Ricketts (15), Bocian (11) and Kish (10) hit double digits in scoring in that game. ... Coach Burns has led his team to the past 2 D-10 titles and another in ’09. KC was never challenged in D-10 region play, going 10-0 with the closest game being a 31-point differential vs. CP. ... KC has outscored its opponents 1,474 to 739. ... KC’s 2 losses have come against big-time competition in Franklin (62-45) in the season-opener of the Franklin Tipoff Tourney and Vincentian Academy (70-53) in the title game of the Penn State-Beaver Holiday Tourney. Franklin is 24-1 and beat Villa Maria to win its 2nd straight D-10 Class AAA crown, while Vincentian is 25-1 and defeated Serra Catholic for its 2nd straight (3rd in 4 years) WPIAL Class A title. ... Ricketts is an NCAA D-I Akron University recruit and has 1,365 career points while Burns sits at 1,055 points. ... Vincentian ended KC’s season last year with a 56-51 win in the PIAA western region semifinals. KC led 18-15 after 1 and it was tied 26-all at half. KC went up 40-34 after 3 quarters, but wase outscored 22-11 in the final frame. Prior to that game, KC beat Conneaut Valley (56-21) for the D-10 title, then rolled past Riverview (59-30) and Clarion Area (59-43) in the state playoffs. ... KC’s last appearance in a PIAA title game was in 2001 under former coach Father Rick Tomasone. ... North Catholic Coach Molly Rottman’s Trojanettes finished 2nd in WPIAL Section 2-A (10-2) behind Vincentian (12-0). ... Rottman played at North Catholic and played at the University of Delaware. ... Wolosik has played in 24 playoff games in her 4-year career, but the rest of the team is young. She’s a D-I Central Connecticut University recruit. ... Their 10 losses are against Seton-LaSalle and Bishop Canevin (Oakland Catholic Tipoff Tourney), Penn-Trafford and Plum (North Allegheny Tourney), Vincentian (twice), Blackhawk, Burrell, Trinity and Serra Catholic. ... In the WPIAL playoffs, 3rd-seeded NC beat Frazier (65-37), Cornell (51-22) and fell to Serra Catholic (56-45) in the semifinals. Against Frazier, Wolosik fired in 28 points with 7 rebounds and 8 assists while freshman Abby Goetz had 17 points and Palmer 12. In the quarters vs. Cornell, Wolosik (21), Kizior (13) and Goetz (11) scored in double digits. In the semis vs. Serra, Wolosik fired in 20. ... NC went 24-7 last year, losing the WPIAL title game to Vincentian, but gained revenge with a win over VA in the western region finals. NC then lost the PIAA championship game to Steelton Highspire (66-59) at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center. ... NC lost the 2009-10 WPIAL title game to Vincentian (54-49) and won it over Mt. Alvernia (48-44) in ’08-09. ... The Trojanettes also appeared in the state title game in ’06-07, losing to Bishop Guilfoyle (43-38). ... The game will be broadcast on SportsRadio 96.7 (WLLF FM), with Jeff Wimer and Chris Burtch calling the action. Airtime is 2:30 p.m.
Who: Sharpsville (17-8) vs. Brookville (13-12).
What: Opening round.
When: 5 p.m. Friday.
Where: Clarion University of Pa. Tippin Gymnasium.
Players to Watch: Sharpsville — McKenzie Popatak, 5-9 Sr. (21.4 ppg.); Megan Davis, 5-8 Jr. (11.0); Natalie Henwood, 5-5 Sr. (4.4); Kayla Kurelko, 5-5 Soph. (3.5); Paige Scurpa, 5-9 Sr. (2.3); Maddie Przicina, 5-6 Soph. (2.3). Brookville — Lanae Newsome, 5-4 Sr. (12.2); Karly Reinsel, 5-5 Sr. (11.2); Aisha Newsome, 5-4 Sr. (10.7); Elaina Powell, 5-3 Fr. (3.7); Brenna Dworek, 5-4 Soph. (2.3); Kylee Deal, 5-6 Jr. (2.3).
Bonus Shots: Sharpsville Coach Jeff Hanley (12th year, 185-112) leads his Blue Darlings into the state playoffs for the 1st time since his 1st year, when the Blue Darlings suffered a tough overtime loss to Cameron County. ... Popatak owns the school’s scoring record for girls (1,660 points). The previous mark was 1,440 by 2008 graduate Kasey Gardner. ... County-wise, Popatak is only behind Lakeview’s Sheena Aden (2,421), Sharon’s Wanda Holloway (2,106), Farrell’s Jill Platteborze (1,913), Hickory’s Julie Fornadel (1,702) and Sharon’s Brittany Csatlos (1,697). ... The Blue Darlings went 1-4 to start the season, but the losses were against Cranberry, Grove City, Slippery Rock and Kennedy Catholic. The other losses occurred to Sharon, Girard and North East (twice). ... Region 2 champion Sharpsville ousted Seneca (34-29) in the D-10 quarterfinals, lost to North East (42-38) in the semis, but qualified for the PIAAs by routing Mercer (48-29) in the consolation game. Popatak fired in 30 points in that game. Davis (12), Henwood (12) and Popatak (11) scored in double digits vs. North East and Popatak rifled in 20 vs. Seneca. ... Last season, the Blue Darlings were ousted by Seneca (51-46) in the D-10 quarterfinals. Brookville Coach Mark Powell’s (11th year, 143-129) Lady Raiders were 4-10 midway through the season and became the lowest seeded team (7th) to win a District 9 girls’ title since Clarion-Limestone was the 10th seed in Class A in 1988. ... Brookville beat No. 1 seed Kane (63-51) for the AA crown. Lanae Newsome fired in 27, Powell had a career-high 12, Aisha Newsome bucketed 11 and Reinsel had 9 points and 12 rebounds. Brookville led by as many as 21 points in the 1st half. Kane had 28 turnovers and the school’s all-time leading scorer (Kaila Jamerson) was limping during the game due to an injury she suffered vs. Redbank Valley in the semifinals. ... Brookville’s last D-9 title came in Class AAA in ’01. The last AA title was 1991. They have won 11 overall D-9 crowns. ... Brookville knocked out the top 3 seeds in winning the championship, including Kane (1st), Karns City (2nd) and Cranberry (3rd). In the D-9 quarterfinals, they beat Karns City (46-37). Lanae (15) and Aisha (10) Newsome (twin sisters), led the way, with Reinsel having 10 points and 9 boards and Powell scored 9 off the bench. In a 50-49 win in the D-9 semis over 4-time defending D-9 champ Cranberry — which beat Brookville in the title game last year — Lanae Newsome had 18 as the Lady Raiders stunned junior 1,000-point scorer Emily Merryman and the Lady Berries. ... Brookville’s regular-season losses occurred to Karns City (twice), St. Marys (twice), Bradford (twice), Punxsutawney, Moniteau, DuBois, Johnsonburg, Kane and Elk County Catholic. ... The game will be broadcast on SportsRadio 96.7 (WLLF FM), with Ryan Briggs and Chris Burtch calling the action. Airtime is 4:30 p.m.
Who: Hickory (21-4) vs. South Park (23-2).
What: Opening round.
When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Baldwin High.
Players to watch: Hickory — Nikki Arbanas, 5-7 Jr. (17.9 ppg.); Holly Grober, 5-11 Jr. (15.8); Jenna Placzek, 5-8 Jr. (5.8); Brandi Beader, 5-9 Soph. (5.4); Megan Chess, 5-4 Soph. (4.6). South Park — Shelby Lindsay, 5-11 Sr. (17.8); Halie Torris, 5-10 Jr. (15.6); Allison McGrath, 5-9 Fr. (14.0); Breanna Raymond, 6-0 Sr.; Lindsey Noss, 5-3 Jr.
Bonus Shots: Hickory head coach Jeanette Whitehead’s (17th year, 253-163) and the Lady Hornets finished 2nd in D-10 Region 5 with a 10-2 record, behind Franklin (12-0), which captured its 2nd straight D-10 crown with a win over Villa Maria. ... Arbanas has fired in 449 points this season, while Grober has 397 and 1,082 for her career. ... Hickory beat Warren (58-43) in the D-10 quarterfinals and lost to Villa (49-37) in the semis. Villa had won the previous 6 D-10 AA titles, but was bumped up to AAA this season. ... Hickory beat Mercyhurst Prep (50-43) in the consolation game to advance to the PIAAs. Against Prep Arbanas bucketed 22 while Grober had 18. Arbanas (14) and Grober (13) scored in double digits against Villa and Grober (19), Chess (14) and Arbanas (12) reached double figures vs. Warren. ... Besides Prep, Hickory’s other 3 losses came against Franklin (48-36 and 46-30) and to Canfield, Ohio, which advanced to regionals after capturing the OHSAA Division II Austintown Sectional championship with a 40-37 win over West Branch. ... Last season, Hickory beat Warren (54-43 in OT) in the D-10 quarters and Gen. McLane (58-51) in the semis before falling to Franklin (48-38) in the title tilt. Their season came to an end with an opening-round loss to South Park (46-35) in the PIAAs at North Hills High. In that game, a poor 1st half doomed the locals. South Park led 15-7 after 1 and 29-15 at halftime. Hickory outscored them 8-6 in the 3rd and 12-11 in the 4th. Lindsay (13) and Torris (12) led SP while Macy Horvath, who has since graduated, paced Hickory with 11 points. Arbanas scored 9 and Grober 4. South Park Coach Reggie Wells’ Lady Eagles won the WPIAL Section 5-AAA title with a 12-0 record and are on a 10-game winning streak. ... They score 63.7 points per game and only allow 38.3. ... Their only losses came against Pflugerville, Texas (72-51) — 12th in the country, according to USA Today — in the KSA Holiday Tourney in Orlando in late December, and to Hopewell (49-34) on Jan. 19 at the Pittsburgh Classic at Ambridge High. Pflugerville recently lost in the Texas State Class 5-A semifinals to Steele (69-60), who went on to lose the state championship game to Duncanville. ... In the WPIAL playoffs, they beat Indiana (54-38) in the 1st round, routed Hampton (69-37) in the quarters, ousted Hopewell (75-55) in the semis, then beat Elizabeth Forward (50-32) to capture the championship. In the title tilt, South Park led 15-7 at the end of the 1st quarter, 30-11 at halftime and cruised. McGrath had 13 points and 11 rebounds, Torris bucketed 13, Raymond had 11 points and 10 boards and Lindsay scored 8. ... It was SP’s 3rd overall WPIAL title (1998 and 2008). Last season, they fell in the WPIAL title game to Hopewell (50-34), ousted Hickory in the 1st round of the PIAAs, beat Hollidaysburg (68-47) in the 2nd round before falling to Archbishop Wood (59-56). ... The game will be broadcast on NewsTalk 790 (WPIC AM), with Ryan Briggs and Tony Mastrian calling the action. Airtime is 4 p.m. — By Rob Malsom, Herald sports writer.
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