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February 7, 2014

Roundup: Cannone shines as Hickory edges Sharon, 56-53

- — Some nights, a player can’t throw the ball in the ocean; others, the rim appears to be as wide as the ocean.

Hickory High’s Anthony Cannone saw the spectrum from both perspectives within a 72-hour span this week — the latter Thursday night against neighboring Sharon.

Cannone connected for a career-high 31-point performance, helping hoist the Hornets to a 56-53 Region 5-AAA win.

At The Hive, however, Cannone clanked the front end of a 1-and-1 bonus free-throw situation with 19.1 ticks to play and the Hornets holding a 54-53 lead.

That set the stage for his teammate, Donté Green.

Following Cannone’s miss, Daunell Stovall secured a loose-ball rebound for Sharon. But Green grabbed Jason Austin’s potential go-ahead layin, then was fouled. He subsequently sank both ends of his own 1-and-1 wih 5.6 seconds remaining.

“I got lucky (Thursday) night,” Cannone confided, overlooking his 12-for-19 shooting performance, before he added in a self-deprecating manner, “I think I did have a double-double: I think I finished with  thirty-one points and about twelve turn-overs.

“But that’s a credit to my teammates. I have THE greatest teammates  in the world,” Cannone praised. “They play so hard, and they pick me up every time I’m down.

“He’s huge,” regarding Green, Cannone complimented. “He’s been with me for, I don’t know how long. We started playing AAU together in the third grade, so we have that chemistry, that bond. We’re like brothers.

“I talk with him before every game, and I say, ‘Hey, we’re the two captains, the senior leaders, we’ve been battle-tested,” Cannone continued. “He’s been the greatest complement to me of anyone on this team. When I missed that foul shot, he got the ball, he got fouled and I went right up to him and said, ‘You pick me up.’

“He knocked those two foul shots down, that’s as big as can be.”

Hickory (9-4, 13-4) held a seemingly safe 53-45 lead with 1:59 remaining after Cannone converted a Tigers’ turnover into a score. Howeve Austin and ’Bray Jennings jolted the Hornets for back-to-back triples as Sharon surged within 53-51.

Nick Tantuo added the front end of a 1-and-1 and Hickory had a 54-51 lead with 57.2 seconds. But Stovall scored on a drive, taking the Tigers to within 54-53 with 30.3 ticks.

Ultimately, however, Hickory parlayed the free-throw line, converting 12 of 18 — 6 for 9 during the 4th frame — while Sharon (5-8, 8-11) shot just 3 for 8.

The Tigers’ took their lone lead (23-22) with 3:24 left in the 2nd stanza on Austin’s right-wing triple. The remainder of the evening for Sharon was spent playing catch-up.

With Cannone canning 15 first-quarter points and the Hornets hitting 7 of 9 floor shots, Hickory held a 21-10 lead. However Hickory then committed 9 miscues during the 2nd stanza while Sharon shot 7 for 12 from the field.

With Curtis Seay scoring 6 of his 11 points and Austin adding 5, the Tigers tied the tilt at 26 at intermission. Drew Magestro’s corner trey with 7.8 secured the stalemate.

Hickory embarked on an 8-0 spree to commence the 2nd half, with Tantuo twice feeding Cannone. However, predictably, Sharon surged back with its own 12-4 spree.

Austin banked in a top-of-the-key triple as part of the run, while Jennings’ trey from the corner knotted the count at 38 by the 3rd quarter’s conclusion.

The 4th frame featured a trio of lead changes sandwiching a stalemate at 41 with 6:37 remaining. Aaron Conley converted a pair of freebies with 5:03 left for a 43-41 Hickory lead which it did not relinquish.

In addition to Cannone, Green and Conley evenly divided 18 additional points, Bubba Pryts pulled down a game-high 9 rebounds and Conley collected 6 — helping Hickory to a 34-19 margin — and Cannone, Green and Tantuo dished out 4, 3 and 3 assists, respectively. Hickory had a 51.2 percent shooting performance (20 of 39), but the Hornets also had 22 turnovers.

For Sharon, Austin annexed a team-high 13 tallies while Jennings and Seay split another 22. Austin and Jennings both tallied a trio of treys, Sharon’s strong suit. However the Tigers tallied only 21 of 51 floor shots (41.1), though turning over the ball only 13 times.

After losing Tuesday night at Oil City, the bounce-back win was big, Cannone confided.

“It’s a competitive (region). We lost a tough one at Oil City. I didn’t have my best game at all — that game was completely on me one hundred percent. I didn’t shoot the ball well, I didn’t take care of the ball, I was, pretty much, a no-show,” Cannone confessed, adding. “I had that mentality that I had to bounce back.

“Last time we were ever gonna play Sharon on our court. Our senior class has never lost to them in basketball, so it’s great to get a win, especially against them and go out like that,” Cannone concluded. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.

BOYS BASKETBALL

ä George Junior Republic 65, Grove City 57 —
At GJR in Grove City, a trio of Tigers had double-doubles as George Junior Republic improved to 5-7 in Region 5-AAA and 8-9 overall with the 8-point win over the Eagles (7-7, 12-7).

Ron Pearson, Qayshawn Oliver and Malik Gibson all had double-doubles for GJR. Pearson scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Oliver bucketed 15 and ripped down 13 boards and Gibson registered 15 points and a dozen rebounds.

Also for the Tigers, Hadari Baker and Tamair Holloway had 10 points each. Baker also had 5 rebounds and dished out 8 assists.

Foster Reznor led Grove City with a game-high 20 points and Derek Turner scored 14.

ä Erie First Christian Academy 59, Kennedy Catholic 36 — At Hermitage, Erie First (11-8) led 17-8 after the opening quarter and went on to notch the win over KC (11-8).

Logan Kallay fired in 17 points for EFCA, Luke Hess bucketed 15 and 6-foot-11 senior Olusola Valentine Sangoyami scored 12.

Gerald Zachar led the way for Kennedy Catholic with 16 points and Andre Campbell tallied 13.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

ä West Middlesex 57, Lakeview 34 —
At Stoneboro, coach Mike Williams’ Ms. Reds (3-6, 8-11) snapped a 5-game losing streak with the Region 2-AA win over the Lady Sailors (0-11, 5-13).

West Middlesex jumped out to a 15-5 lead after the opening 8 minutes and never looked back in posting the win.

Alyson Pierce led the Ms. Reds with a game-high 16 points, 6 assists and 3 steals while Noelle Murray scored 15 points and had 3 steals.

Also for WM, Gretchen Elsey scored 14 points, Kristen White pulled down a dozen rebounds and Allie Staunch added 11 boards.

Raygen Fischer led the way for Lakeview with 12 points, Hailee Foster scored 10 and Sam Womer had 6 rebounds.

ä Franklin 39, Grove City 25 — At The Castle in Venango County, the host Lady Knights notched the Region 5-AAA victory owing to one key component: Franklin (6-4, 13-7) forged 14-for-14 free-throw marksmanship.

Grove City garnered only 2 of 5 freebies, and the Lady Eagles ended with 15 points during the game’s final 24 minutes.

For Franklin, Angelina Starr scored a game-high 14 points, and she and Becca Gravatt garnered respective 4-for-4 and 6-for-6 sin-stripe shooting.

Haley Hall hit a trio of triples for 9 points to lead Grove City (6-4, 12-7).

ä Brookfield 47, Youngstown Christian School 32 — At Brookfield, coach Shawn Hammond’s Lady Warriors improved to 14-5 with the win vs. the Lady Eagles (5-13).

Delaney Saxton led the way for Brookfield with 14 points.

YCS was paced by Daria Shavers, who scored 10 points.

WRESTLING

ä Sharon 43, Mercer 25 —
At Mercer, coach Dave Ciafre’s Tigers improved to 13-5 with the Region 1 win over the Mustangs.

Troy Hejazi (138) posted the only pin for Sharon while Austin Alfreno won via major decision at 126 pounds.

Ben Shaffer (120) and Colton Smith (220) registered pins for Mercer and Preston Hoover won at 113 pounds with a major decision.

Ciafre noted that Sharon is hosting a double dual on Saturday. The Tigers face Slippery Rock at 6:30 p.m. and will then wrestle West Middlesex. Those 2 matches were postponed on Wednesday night.

ä Jamestown 44, Sharpsville 21 — On Senior Night at Sharpsville, the Muskies earned the non-region win over the Devils.

Jacob Reaugh (138), Garrett Morgan (170) and William Shappee (220) scored falls for the Muskies.

Jacob Llewellyn had the lone fall for the Blue Devils (6-11) at 285 pounds.

Seniors for Sharpsville coach John Whalen are Llewellyn, P.J. Campoli, Ben Bucher, Gage Priester, Eli Soles and Austan Szugye.

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