MERCER COUNTY —
Who: West Middlesex (21-4) vs. Johnsonburg (23-5).
What: Sweet Sixteen.
When: 6 p.m. today.
Where: Clarion University of Pa. Tippin Gymnasium.
Players to Watch: West Middlesex—Matt Dogan, 6-4 Jr. point guard (23.1 points per game); Trey Staunch, 6-3 Fr. post (14.0); Jeremy Jancso, 6-5 Jr. forward (8.7); Jerrod Palmer, 5-10 Jr. shooting guard (7.0); Roman Klaric, 5-10 Jr. swing-guard (3.8); Christian Porterfield, 6-0 Jr. swingman; Mike Ginther, 6-6 Jr. forward. Johnsonburg—Cameron Grumley, 5-9 Soph. guard (13 ppg.); Cole Peterson, 5-10 Soph. guard (12.3); Quinn Luhr, 6-1 Jr. forward (7.9); Mitch Holmberg, 5-9 Jr. guard (6.4); Michael Shuey, 6-5 Sr. post (6.4); Frank Kocjancic, 6-0 Jr. guard (6.0); Kyle Sheldon, 6-0 Jr. forward (4.1).
Bonus Shots: The Big Reds roared to their 17th consecutive conquest in their PIAA playoff opener via the victory over North Catholic (61-50). They have not lost this calendar year, since suffering a setback to Youngstown East (68-66) at the annual Dresch-McCluskey Holiday Tourney. ... Chad Mild (210-125) is in his 13th year at his alma mater’s helm. This edition of the Big Reds recorded the 4th 20-win season under his direction and captured the program’s 1st District 10 title since 1980 with a 41-38 win over Kennedy Catholic on Palmer’s 3-point OT buzzer-beater. After ending as D-10 runners-up last year, the Big Reds lost to eventual PIAA silver medalist Lincoln Park (70-35) in their state tourney opener. ... Middlesex has made 462 free throws, according to information furnished by AD Mike Williams, and Dogan has drained not quite half of them (204). Collectively, the Big Reds have recorded approximately 71 percent marksmanship from the charity stripe. ... Bill Shuey (5th season, 91-44) skippers Johnsonburg. The Allegheny Mountain League Northern Division Rams rely on defense, outscoring opponents 55.5 to 39.4. ... At Clarion U., Johnsonburg ousted D-6 runner-up Bishop Carroll (57-47) in its PIAA lidlifter, overcoming 25 turnovers and mediocre free-throw shooting (12 for 22) with 75 percent shooting from the floor (21 for 38), according to D9sports.com. Shuey said on D9sports.com, “We were lucky to have twenty-five turnovers and win the game. ... We could have easily held the ball and got a better shot, but we’re still going a hundred miles per hour — and it’s not from (opponents’.) ball pressure; it’s trying to make something out of nothing.” ... Johnsonburg’s losses have occurred to Ridgway (45-38, Elk County Catholic Tipoff Tourney; 39-38, regular season; 49-46, AML championship game, and 40-37, D-9 title tilt — its last D-9 banner was hoisted in 1983); also, Brookville (64-55). The Rams recorded a regular-season win (53-41) in early-February. .. . These programs have a playoff history: In ’03-04 Johnsonburg jolted Middlesex (66-44). ... Johnsonburg’s last PIAA playoff win occurred in the 3rd round of that ’04 postseason, a victory over Vincentian (58-37). ... According to D9sports.com, Johnsonburg’s program has notched 13 trips to the state playoffs and has won at least once in 8 of those appearances. ... This is a virtual “home” game for both Johnsonburg and Ridgway.— By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
Who: Kennedy Catholic (16-9) vs. Ridgway (26-1).
What: Sweet Sixteen.
When: 7:30 p.m. today.
Where: Clarion University of Pa. Tippin Gymnasium.
Players to Watch: Kennedy Catholic—Mac Hartman, 6-5 Jr. post (14.5 points per game); Kenny Fill, 6-2 Sr. swingman (11.4); Jeffrey Thompkins, 6-2 Jr. swingman (11.0); Lamont McPhatter, 5-11 Soph. swing-guard (5.0); Gerald Zachar, 5-9 Soph. point guard (2.9); Jimmie D’Onofrio, 5-11 Jr. guard; Sam Crow, 6-0 Soph. forward. Ridgway—Eric Matheson, 5-10 Sr. guard (18 ppg.); Jesse Reynolds, 6-1 Jr. guard (9.3); Jordan Lundin, 5-10 Sr. guard (8.4); Josh Mitchell, 6-2 Jr. forward (5.7); Aaron Sorge, 5-11 Sr. guard (5.3); Alex Oknefski, 6-3 Sr. post (3.2).
Bonus Shots: The Golden Eagles enjoyed the program’s initial PIAA playoff win since ’09 by KO’d Cornell (64-53). KC copped its 1st staet tourney triumph in 3rd-year head coach Rick Mancino’s tenure (45-24) at his alma mater. ... A third of Kennedy’s losses were handed out by West Middlesex, including the District 10 title tilt. ... With that opening-round win the Golden Eagles evened their slate during the last dozen games. ... Kennedy Catholic has captured a half-dozen commonwealth crowns, the first of which (1986) included starters Mancino and his current lead assistant Brian Hoover. The Golden Eagles ended as PIAA runners-up in their last appearance on the statewide stage (’09). ... Coach Tony Allegretto’s Elkers eased to the Allegheny Mountain League Southern Division crown (including a quartet of wins over Johnsonburg). Ridgway roared to a 57.7 to 38.8 nightly norm scoring differential. ... The D-9 championship was the program’s 1st since 1992 (its last PIAA playoff berth) when it competed in Class AA, according to D9sports.com. ... “This was our goal from the beginning. Twenty years in the making, and we finally got a district championship,” Matheson said. ... The Elkers eliminated Sewickley Academy (42-33) in their PIAA playoff opener at Clarion. Allegretto admitted to D9sports.com , “We’ve been really good at blowing leads lately. But the kids keep right on going and seem to make the play we need to.” ... Matheson may be the school’s career scoring leader, but that could not be confirmed by D9sports.com. ... The D-9 champion has won 14 of its last 15 opening-round games on the statewide stage (DuBois Central Catholic lost to Neshannock in 2010), according to D9sports.com. ...
— By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
Who: Kennedy Catholic (21-3) vs. Clarion Area (22-4).
What: Sweet Sixteen.
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Butler High.
Top Players: Kennedy Catholic — Alex Ricketts, 5-11 Jr. G/F, 13.6; Marina Wareham, 5-4 Sr. G, 11.7; Brie Dickson, 5-8 Jr. G/F, 10.9; Rachel Burns, 5-10 Jr. G/F, 10.7; Courtney Sargent, 6-2 Jr. F/C, 7.4; Angelene Rapone, 5-6 Sr. G, 6.0. Clarion Area — Kyla Miles, 5-11 Soph. G, 12.1; Brianna Nellis, 5-5 Sr. G, 8.2; Liz Shannonhouse, 5-9 Sr. F, 7.9; Maci Thornton, 5-5 Fr. G, 7.8; Ashley Hummell, 5-8 Jr. F, 7.0; Hannah Wolf, 5-10 Jr. F, 6.2; Kate Fillman, 5-10 Jr. G, 6.1.
Bonus Shots: The Lady Golden Eagles, under 5th-year coach Tom Burns, are ranked 3rd in the state by The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News rankings that were released Sunday. They had previously been ranked 4th. ... Wareham has 1,073 career points, Ricketts has compiled 935 and Burns sits at 754. ... KC's 3 losses this season are against Franklin (73-57) in the Franklin Tipoff Tourney title game, Ursuline (38-35) and Beaver Area (44-32) in the PSU-Beaver Tourney over the holidays. ... KC opened the season with a win over Laurel in the Franklin Tourney and then fell to 1-2 with the back-to-back losses to Franklin and Ursuline. ... Franklin won the D-10 Class AAA title and play Chartiers Valley Wednesday at New Castle High. Ursuline made a deep run in the OHSAA Div. III playoffs before being upset by United. Beaver Area lost to Char Valley in the 1st round of the WPIAL playoffs. ... KC is on a 17-game winning streak. ... In the D-10 playoffs, KC had a 1st-round bye, routed Linesville (79-48) in the semis and rolled past Conneaut Valley (56-21) for its 3rd D-10 title (2nd straight) in 4 seasons. ... The KC girls have won 18 D-10 titles and 1 PIAA title (2001). ... On Saturday, KC pounded Riverview (59-30) at Sharon High in the 1st round of the state playoffs. Burns bucketed 19 and Dickson contributed 13 markers. ... KC's tough defense and balanced scoring have given teams fits this season. They are only allowing 35 points per game while scoring 66.9 a game. ... KC advanced to the 2nd round of the PIAAs last season. The 2 years prior to that, they were ousted in the 1st round. ... Last year, KC beat Rochester (41-27) in the opening round and then fell to Homer-Center (49-44) and finished 21-4. ... Two years ago, they were ousted by Bishop Guilfoyle (64-44), which went on to win their 2nd straight state title and 3rd in 4 years, and 3 seasons ago KC lost to West Forest (53-38). ... Clarion’s Lady Bobcats, coached by 9th-year mentor Roger Walter (142-91), are listed as a "Team to Watch" in The Patriot-News rankings. ... They average 57.8 points per game and allow 40.5. ... Nellis averages 5 assists and 5 steals per game. ... The Lady Cats of District 9, who compete in the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference North Division, stunned Hickory (45-42) on Dec. 9at the Kittanning Tipoff Tournament. They then beat Moniteau for the title on Dec. 10. ... They also won the Oil City Christmas Tourney on Dec. 28-29 with wins over Ft. LeBoeuf (60-42) and OC (68-42). ... They finished 10-2 in the KSAC North behind Cranberry (12-0). ... Clarion’s 4 losses this season have come against Keystone (65-45, 39-25) and Cranberry (45-43, 59-39). Keystone is the D-9 Class A champ while Cranberry won the D-9 AA title. Both were still around for the 2nd round of the PIAAs. Keystone plays North Catholic on Wedneday while Cranberry faces Girard Tuesday. ... In the D-9 playoffs, Clarion Area routed Smethport (74-30) in the quarterfinals, edged Elk County Catholic (47-41) in the semis and fell to Keystone (39-25) in the title tilt. ... In the D-9 championship game, Clarion scored 5 second-half points on 2 of 25 shooting. Nellis and Wolf had 6 points each. It was Clarion’s 1st appearance in the district title game since it won the crown in 1992. ... In the 1st round of the PIAA playoffs, the Lady Cats stunned Homer-Center (62-52) at Clarion University for its 1st state playoff win in 20 years (vs. Avonworth 45-41 in ’92). Homer-Center star Katelyn Skinner, who is going D-I University of Hartford, fired in 26 points, but fouled out with 3:01 to go with Clarion leading 54-50. Skinner finished with 1,766 career points, H-C's all-time leading scorer. Nellis had 16 points and 6 rebounds and Miles bucketed 12 to lead Clarion. Homer-Center had 3 returning starters (5 seniors total) who advanced all the way to the western region finals last year before bowing out to Bishop Guilfoyle, who then lost the PIAA title game to Steelton-Highspire. ... Last season, Clarion was ousted in the 1st round of the PIAAs by North Catholic (80-41). ... Liz Shannonhouse is the daughter of Farrell High boys coach Roland Shannonhouse. — By Rob Malsom, Herald sports editor.
MERCER COUNTY —
Brookfield boys win season-opener against Py Valley
It was a typical season-opener: Too many turnovers, some questionable shot selection, and careless personal fouls. But for Brookfield High boys’ bench boss Bill Kovach, “ ... always happy with a win.”
The Warriors were 7-for-10 from the free-throw line during the 4th frame, and held off Pymatuning Valley, 59-48, Tuesday night.
Hornets advance to semis with win over Central
DuBOIS, PA. — Some people could say the “third time is a charm.” For the Hickory High Hornets it was much more than that. In fact, it was glorious.
After losing in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs the last two years, the Hornets finally nailed down a victory with a 37-27 triumph over the Central Dragons from Martinsburg.
Lakeview falls to Clarion Area in PIAA quarterfinals
SLIPPERY ROCK — In the scholastic athletic arena, “mercy rule” — while not politically correct in hyper-sensitive 2013 society — is a relatively accepted term.
Clarion High’s football had mercy-ruled all 13 prior opponents this season. And the Bobcats seemed bent on continuing their commanding conquests during Saturday’s PIAA Class A quarterfinal-round meeting with Lakeview.
Hickory focused on winning PIAA opener
The calendar reminds us that Thanksgiving arrives a little later than usual this year. But as holiday traditions go, this one has been pretty productive for Hickory High head football coach Bill Brest.
“My wife always has me put up our Christmas tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving ... and the next day, we’ve won. So I’ll be more than happy to help my wife put up the tree this Friday,” Brest related.
During the past 2 years Hickory has won District 10 titles on Thanksgiving weekend. But this year the Hornets harvested their 3rd consecutive crown last week, jettisoning Girard (21-10). Now Hickory (11-1) has a 1 p.m. date in DuBois Saturday against surprising Central-Martinsburg (11-2) in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.
Smart move by PIAA to schedule games early this weekend
Congratulations to the PIAA for making a good move that helps teams and fans of high school sports.
Wow, I haven’t been able to say that often enough!
But many of the high school football games this coming weekend will be played in the afternoon which is a real plus for traveling on possibly snow-blown highways at this time of the year.
Hornets 3-peat as D-10 champs with win vs. Girard
EDINBORO — When legendary coach Vince Lombardi said “the only good thing that comes from losing is the desire never to lose again,” he could very well have been referencing the future for Coach Bill Brest and his Hickory Hornets.
Since Hickory lost to Sharon, 14-6, in the 2010 District 10 finals in Brest’s first year at the helm of the team, the D-10 Class AA title game has belonged to Hickory. And Saturday afternoon at Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium, it was no different as the Hornets topped Girard, 21-10 for a third straight crown.
Sailors beat Devils to capture 1st District 10 title
NEW WILMINGTON — Lakeview may have a long way to go to equal Sharpsville’s success in the sport of football, but the Sailors jump-started the process Friday night.
With Blake Reddick roaring into the record book, the Sailors shut out Sharpsville, 27-0, in the District 10 Class A championship game at Greyhounds Stadium.
Hornets seek 3-peat Saturday vs. Girard
Bill Brest ... buffer?
Hickory High’s head football coach has broad shoulders and that’s necessary, because he’s taking on all distractions as his Hornets prepare for Saturday’s District 10 Class AA championship game.
Hickory (10-1) will attempt to hoist the D-10 trophy for a 3rd consecutive season when the Hornets journey to Girard’s backyard — Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium — to meet the Yellow Jackets at 1 p.m.
Hickory rolls past Northwestern in D-10 semifinals
SLIPPERY ROCK — They say that “Familiarity breeds contempt.” You can bet the Northwestern Wildcats are feeling a bit of the latter for the Hickory Hornets!
For a third straight season Hickory eliminated the northerners from the District 10 Class AA playoffs, this time by a 52-14 score in the semifinals Saturday night at Slippery Rock University’s Thompson-Mihalik Stadium.
Greenville falls to Girard in D-10 semifinals
ERIE — District 10 was destined for a Class AA championship game between reigning 2-time titlist Hickory and Greenville.
But no one informed the Girard High football team of the plans.
“ … This is pretty cool … I’m pretty fired up about it,” admitted 4th-year Yellow Jackets’ head coach Jim Funk after Girard jolted Greenville, 16-14.
SPORTVIEW: Season fate could be decided today for Browns, Steelers
IT MAKES NO sense to say that one game determines the rest of the season. That’s why I’ll simply say: Today’s one game determines the rest of the season.
Since when did my predictions make sense anyhow?
The Cleveland Browns’ visit to Cincinnati today will go a long way to deciding if the Browns have a shot at making the playoffs — and even winning the AFC North title — or if they should start planning for the NFL draft.
GCC tops Thiel in OT to win Mercer County Cup
The Grove City and Thiel College football teams closed out their seasons on Saturday with a thrilling game at Alumni Stadium in Green-ville as Grove City posted a 50-44 overtime win in the 30th annual Mercer County Cup Game.
Quarterback Brian Pell scored on a 13-yard run for the Wolverines (3-5, 5-5) to give GCC the win in OT.
Devils beat WM; will play for 3rd straight D-10 title
Two-time defending District 10 Class A champion Sharpsville is returning to the D-10 title game for a third straight year and Coach Paul Piccirilli has a simple explanation for the team’s success:
“We believe. Kids in Sharpsville believe.”
A lot of people are believing as well after watching the Blue Devils dismantle West Middlesex, 40-3, Friday night at Hickory High Hornets Stadium.
Spence, Sailors roll past Mercer, 52-21
NEW WILMINGTON — Pat McClearn lived Lakeview High football program’s previous gridiron glory days. Unfortunately for him on Friday night he was on the business end of the current Sailors’ resurgence.
McClearn and his Mercer High Mustangs were eliminated by Lakeview from the District 10 Class A semifinals, 52-21.
Long gone basketball league leaves a costly legacy
If you want to mark yourself as a graying old-timer, bring up the American Basketball Association – the professional league that featured large Afros, slam dunk contests, three-point baskets and a red, white and blue basketball.
Oh, yes, it also had a great collection of players - perhaps the best on the globe - who brought athleticism, skill and excitement to a game that had become somewhat stodgy in the more established National Basketball Association.
- More Sports Headlines
- Brookfield boys win season-opener against Py Valley