We’ve just emerged from the season for giving.
However as high school basketball’s regular season commenced its post-holiday segment, there’s no forgiving — or forgetting — the costly mistakes that can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Thursday night at The Hive, Hickory High boys basketball team remained unbeaten in Region 5-AAA play via a 65-50 victory over visiting Grove City. But the Eagles did not make it easy.
“They had us rattled. But it’s thirty-two minutes, and we’ll take it,” Hornets’ head coach Nick Cannone contended.
Hickory (3-0, 5-2) had a half-dozen 3rd-quarter turnovers — 1 more miscue than it committed during the 1st half in building a 37-28 bulge — and gritty Grove City got within 43-42 with 1:29 remaining in the period on Derek Turner’s pair of free throws..
But during the 4th frame Hickory’s Anthony Cannone converted all 8 of his free-throw attempts — the first 6 of which in 1-and-1 bonus situations — and finished a flawless 10-for-10 from the charity stripe.
“I just think some kids like to be at the line; some don’t,” coach Cannone confided.
The Hornets hit 11 of 14 free throws during the decisive quarter and converted 13 of 16 in all (81.2 percent).
Despite a quartet of double-digit scorers in Matt Votino (16), Cannone (15), Vinnie Mastrian (12) and Donté Green (10); 8, 7 and 7 rebounds, respectively snared by Green, Marcus Sonoga and Mastrian, and 5 and 4 assists distributed by Cannone and Votino, Coach Cannone was not completely content with his club.
“We’ve gotta get better. You know, after the long holiday, then we played up at McDowell (in a tournament), then to come in here, first game of the new year against Grove City — which hasn’t been putting up wins, but they’re well coached ... they’re improving already, and they had a little bounce there. I was getting a little worried there in the third quarter,” Cannone admitted.
“But we’ve seen things like this. People make runs at us, but when you have an experienced team, they usually answer, and it wasn’t just one or two people,” Cannone continued. “My job now is to try to develop our bench and try to get positive minutes out of the non-starters, ’cause last year we played six, and I don’t know if that hurt us at the end or not. You lose the last three league games, and I don’t know if that’s fatigue or not.”
Veteran mentor Don Fee of Grove City (0-4, 2-7) did not go as deep into his rotation as Cannone.
Turner tallied a game-high 21 points — tossing in a trio of treys — snared 7 caroms and dished out 3 assists, and Jared Graham garnered 10 points off the bench on 5-for-6 shooting. Graham and Danny Torok split a half-dozen assists, also.
The Eagles ended 19 for 40 from the field (47.5 percent) — considerably more accurate than Hickory (22 of 55, 40 percent) — but the Grovers got to the line only 13 times, sinking 7, and gave up 17 turnovers.
“I knew it was gonna be like this (Thursday) night,” Cannone confided. “It always is. It’s a region game.” — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Franklin 48, Farrell 37 — At E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium in Farrell, the visiting Knights (4-0, 6-2) outscored the Steelers 17-9 in the final quarter to earn the Region 5-AAA win.
Noah Jones rifled in 19 points for Franklin and Clayton Maxon added 14.
Ike Jones and Jamel Brown had 12 points each for Farrell (2-2, 4-4).
ä West Middlesex 65, Mercer 46 — At West Middlesex, the Big Reds (2-0, 5-3) led 14-12 after the opening quarter, but outscored the Mustangs 23-7 before the break to notch the Region 2-AA victory.
Matt Dogan fired in 20 points for West Middlesex, Trey Staunch bucketed 18 and Jeremy Jancso scored 15.
We’ve just emerged from the season for giving.
Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM
ä Wilmington 98, West Middlesex 51 — At West Middlesex, the visiting Greyhounds gave the Big Reds their first home, dual-meet loss in approximately 4 seasons according to Middlesex mentor Ed Pikna.
Cooper (400, 800, distance- and mile-relay legs), jumper Perrine and sprinter Scott (100, 200) gave the Greyhounds the giddy-up by winning multiple events.
HIGH SCHOOL SPRING SPORTS ROUNDUP
Baseball, softball and tennis teams were in action Monday as the nice weather allowed for high school spring sports action that has been limited so far by rain, snow and windy conditions.
Players relent, agree to play for reinstated football coach
Minnesota State University-Mankato's football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
Hickory track coaches near finish line
While the Shenango Valley lionizes legendary gridiron greats and hardwood heroes, the sport of track & field at Hickory High has resonated its relevance throughout District 10 and commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
For the better part of the last 3 decades that was due, to a great extent, to the efforts of Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak.
More than 200 dual-meet victories combined between the girls’ and boys’ programs, 9 district championships (7 girls, 2 boys), 2 statewide runners-up berths and another pair of 3rd-place finishes, culminating in the Lady Hornets’ 2012 PIAA Class AA championship.
Their collective resumé would be envied by any coach, regardless of sport. Which makes this recent revelation regrettable: Dzuricsko and Slezak simultaneously will step down at this season’s conclusion.
SPORTVIEW: Cavaliers are example of how an owner impacts a team
WHEN LEBRON James vacated Cleveland for South Beach a few years ago, angry Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert declared that the Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before James and the Miami Heat.
How’s that working out, Dan?
Miami is seeking a third straight title this postseason while the Cavaliers are headed for the golf courses. Pretty sad.
Roundup: Trojans, Hounds win team titles at WM Invitational
Wilmington High girls and Greenville boys dominated the annual Big Red Track & Field Invitational Thursday afternoon in West Middlesex.
A half-dozen girls’ and 7 boys’ teams competed.
Wilmington overwhelmed the female field, as the Lady Greyhounds garnered almost twice as many points as runner-up Lakeview (236-5 to 133.5).
Roundup: WM diamondmen edge Reynolds, 6-4
ä West Middlesex 6, Reynolds 4 — At Transfer, the Big Reds snapped a 4-all tie by plating a run in the 4th inning and another in the 7th in a 2-run win over the Raiders.
Mark Colella earned the mound win in a relief appearance for WM. No pitching stats were submitted.
Roundup: Hickory, Wilmington softball teams win
Paced by Chelsea Marriott’s muscle, Hickory High hammered 4 home runs Saturday afternoon en route to a 19-1 rout of Sharon.
At Wengler, Marriott mauled 2- and 3-run round-trippers to right-center and straightaway center field, respectively. Her Lady Hornets’ teammates Hannah Gallagher and Morgan McBride mustered 3-run bombs, also.
Fired coach in Mankato unjustly accused of visiting porn sites
Minnesota State University-Mankato officials wrongly accused former football coach Todd Hoffner of viewing pornography sites on his work computer before firing him last May, a state arbitrator has disclosed.
Roundup: Hickory track coaches to step down following season
Hickory High track & field co-head coaches Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak announced they will step down at the season’s conclusion.
Dzuricsko and Slezak, who led the Lady Hornets to the 2012 PIAA Class AA crown, jointly made the announcement via e-mail late Wednesday.
Roundup: Devil diamondmen roll past Sharon
An old-school baseball bromide states that, early in any season, pitching is always ahead of hitting. However Sharpsville shunned that axiom Wednesday afternoon.
The Blue Devils banged 15 hits, and Sharpsville short-circuited Sharon, 16-4, in 5 innings.
Roundup: Hounds, Hornets notch track sweeps
ä Wilmington 116, Reynolds 44 — At New Wilmington, the host Lady Hounds were led by Rikki Brumbaugh (4x8, 4x4 relay legs, 400- and 800-meter runs); Hannah Drake (long, triple jumps, 4x4 relay); Allison Baldwin (4x8 and 4x4 relay legs); Lexi Brumbaugh (1600-, 3200-meter runs, distance-relay leg), and Tessa Sikora (high jump, 200-meter dash, sprint-relay anchor).
SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians fans looking for big things this year
LIFE IS GOOD if you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Cleveland Indians. At least for now!
Heading into Saturday, both teams were 3-1 and looking pretty sharp. Since both made the playoffs last year, there are high expectations for both clubs. But in baseball, every year is a new season and there are no guarantees.
Still, it’s always nice when your favorite teams get off to a good start. In too many seasons, Pittsburgh and Cleveland fans were only talking about the NFL draft because hopes were bleak for their baseball teams.
Hickory's Arbanas 1st team All-State; KC's Hood 3rd team
ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Teams from the WPIAL won three of the four PIAA girls basketball championships this year, and southwestern Pennsylvania is turning out to be just as dominant when it comes to postseason honors.
Pittsburgh-area programs produced seven of the eight major award winners on this season’s Sports Writers Pennsylvania High School Girls Basketball All-State Team, including all four players of the year.
WM's Staunch named 2nd team All-State
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Finishing on the winning side in a championship game — or coming mighty, mighty close — scored plenty of points with the panel that selected Pennsylvania’s all-state boys’ basketball team.
Especially when it came time to choose those — whether players or coaches — who claimed the top individual awards.
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- Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM