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 —
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.
Raiders win 17th region title; 11 locals to Hershey
When Reynolds senior Levi Stoyer came off the mat after his 145-pound championship at the Northwest AA Regional Championships, he wasn’t celebrating his second straight crown. Instead, he turned to head coach Casey Taylor and said, “I did it for the team.”
And the team needed it!
Stoyer defeated Brookville’s Zach Vroman, 3-0, and sent Reynolds on its way to the school’s 17th region team title Saturday night at Sharon High School. Reynolds finished with 147 points, to Brookville’s 138.
Hickory girls capture 1st district title since 1983
MEADVILLE — Depending upon peoples’ perceptions, 31 years can seem like a lifetime ... but so can 16 minutes.
Hickory High girls’ basketball program’s District 10 drought ended Saturday afternoon as perennial power Villa Maria virtually vanished from the 2nd-half scoreboard.
The Lady Hornets erased a 7-point halftime deficit by yielding just 4 second-half points en route to a 39-24 victory over Villa Maria in the District 10 Class AAA championship game.
KC beats Cochranton for 4th straight D-10 crown
MEADVILLE — Everybody is on April Bocian’s bandwagon — and rightly so. But Tatum Kress helped keep Kennedy Catholic High girls’ basketball program atop District 10’s Class A competition.
Kress connected for all 14 of her points during the 2nd half Saturday afternoon, keying the Kennedy Catholic to a 49-38 conquest of Cochranton.
McLane rallies to beat Mercer in AA title tilt
In 1986, the Mercer Lady M’s won the school’s first and only girls basketball District 10 title at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House, but in the same gym on Saturday in 2014, the squad in blue wasn’t so lucky.
Mercer led the Gen. McLane Lady Lancers 27-19 entering the fourth quarter, but the Lancers outscored the Lady M’s 19-4 in the final frame to win the Class AA title tilt 38-31.
WM captures 3rd straight D-10 crown
EDINBORO — The West Middlesex Big Reds did it again! For the third straight year, the Big Reds, under the leadership of head coach Chad Mild, the winningest coach in West Middlesex school history, won the District 10 title with a thrilling 55-54 victory over the Fairview Tigers on Friday night at McComb Field House.
Farrell beats East for D-10 Class AAA title
MEADVILLE — Malik Miller was playing with a broken hand, but broke the hearts of East High’s basketball team.
Sophomore sharpshooter Miller mustered 19 markers — tossing in 4 from beyond the arc — helping forge Farrell to the District 10 Class AAA championship, 83-78.
Raiders hold lead at Northwest AA Region Tourney
Reynolds coach Casey Taylor had a simple, but fitting comment after the opening night of the Northwest AA Region Wrestling Championships at Sharon High School Friday:
“So far; so good!”
The defending champion Raiders, who are seeking a 17th region crown in school history, jumped into the team lead with 45 points Friday, heading second place Brookville with 35.
- More Sports Headlines
- 5 area matmen to quarterfinals in Hershey