Shooting slumps sabotage squads every season, but the best teams’ defense and rebounding never take a night off.
That’s why Hickory High girls basketball is undefeated.
Despite a 5-point first-quarter deficit, the Lady Hornets handcuffed host Sharon for almost 9 minutes en route to a 61-39 District 10 inter-region rivalry road win Friday night.
“We settled in and played team ball,” assessed Hickory head coach Jeanette Whitehead. “We just had to pull our sleeves up and dig deeper. They came out with a game plan and caught us on our heels early, but we adjusted and settled in.”
Sharon shot 7 for 16 during the 1st frame, and led by Lexie Dabney’s 8 digits the Lady Tigers took a 17-12 lead after 8 minutes.
However Sharon scored just 22 points during the game’s final 24 minutes, connecting on only 9 of 28 floor shots. Additionally, the Lady Tigers turned over the ball 23 times — 19 during the final 3 quarters.
Mallory Torr’s runner with 1:13 remaining in the half — the 2nd in a sequence of 3 lead changes in 40 seconds — staked Sharon to a short-lived 26-25 lead.
But from that segment Sharon did not score another field goal for 8 minutes and 43 seconds — missing all 7 of its 3rd-quarter field-goal attempts — until Dabney banked in a bucket with 7èminutes remaining in the 4th frame, by which time Hickory held a 47-30 lead.
“They’re very a well-oiled machine on defense, I guess you’d say,” 1st-year Lady Tigers’ taskmaster Maria Joseph said of Hickory. “They help, they match up well, their posts are constantly moving, they’re talking. It’s almost like you practice the ‘shell drill’ with them. They’re a really good team, and I give coach (Whitehead) a lot of credit for that.”
Statistically, Hickory (8-0) had an interesting evening. The Lady Hornets hit 23 of 49 floor shots (47 percent) and converted 13 of 21 free throws (62 percent). But during the final frame when it closed out the Lady Tigers, Hickory hit 6 of 9 fielders and 4 of 5 freebies, with Nikki Arbanas and Holly Grober garnering 7 and 6 points, respectively.
Though the Lady Hornets’ post, Grober gave out a game-high 8 assists, to go along with 15 points while snaring 7 rebounds.
“She’s awesome!” Whitehead gushed regarding Grober. “As a matter of fact, that was one of the comments I made at halftime: ‘Hey, you’re doing a nice job ... but we’ve gotta be just a tad bit more selfish,’ taking the ball to the rack ourselves because that extra pass, I thought, at times, was getting us in trouble.
“But we adjusted, and when you take it yourself, it clearly will open up your teammates,” Whitehead added.
Arbanas annexed a game-high 19 points, tossing in 2 treys, while Jenna Placzek produced a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double, Nicole LaCava lent a handful of caroms, and Brandi Beader bounded off the bench to contribute 7 points and 4 boards.
After that opening canto Sharon suffered from personal-foul problems that altered its dribble-drive offense and defensive aggressiveness, Joseph noted.
“Once a couple of our girls got that second (first-half) foul we kind’ve had to back off and change up our game plan. Once we went half-court it kind’ve took us out of our own game,” Joseph assessed, adding, “But I’m proud of them, ’cause they played hard the whole game. Unfortunately, we did get in foul trouble ... and it definitely took a toll on us.”
Despite only 8 touches, Tanayja Sanders scored a team-high 15 points and hauled down 8 rebounds for Sharon (5-3), but ended as one of a quartet of Lady Tigers with at least 4 personals. Also, Dabney deposited 10 points, but connected on only 4 of 18 floor shots, and Kristina Jacoway snared 7 caroms, also, and she and Maggie Torr evenly divided a half-dozen assists.
But Sharon shot only 16 for 45 (35.6) from the field and the Lady Tigers attempted only 8 free throws.
Coming from New Castle, Joseph said of the Sharon-Hickory rivalry,
“It was awesome! The atmosphere was crazy! It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to many more of them.
“We’re taking it day to day,” she said regarding her Lady Tigers. “I ask them every game to go out there and play hard,” Joseph continued, “’cause when you play hard, you never know. Keep playing and let winning take care of itself. I think they’re getting it and I see improvement every game, and that’s all I can ask for.”
Whitehead was impressed with Sharon’s inside-out scheme, but said of her Hornets,
“Our girls are in good shape, and I told them, ‘Four quarters,’ and if we could connect, hopefully we could wear (the Lady Tigers) down. And sometimes by wearing them down make them do some things uncharacteristic of themselves — as we did coming out of the gate.
“But our physical stamina allowed us to play four quarters.
“This game certainly was a good test. Great atmosphere,” Whitehead observed. “And we responded to adversity, the first time we came out trailing. So we were able to show what we were made of. And I was pleased with how we responded.
“There were times, I thought, where we could’ve folded early, but we did not, so I was pleased with that,” Whitehead related. “This is a tune-up for what we’ve got to face, ’cause from here on out it’s (Region 5-AAA) play and you’ve got to bring your best every night.” — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Sharpsville 48, Greenville 27 — At “The Devil’s Den” in Sharpsville, coach Jeff Hanley’s Blue Darlings (2-0, 4-5) led 19-6 after the opening 8 minutes and rolled past the Lady Trojans (1-1, 2-5) in the Region 2-AA contest.
McKenzie Popatak rifled in 27 points to lead the way for Sharpsville while Paige Scurpa grabbed 8 rebounds and Natalie Henwood dished out 7 assists.
Jessica Burnett bucketed 17 points for Greenville.
ä Mercer 50, West Middlesex 36 — At West Middlesex, the Lady M’s (1-0, 6-3) opened Region 2-AA play with a win over the Ms. Reds (0-2, 3-6).
Adelyn Cook buried 3 treys en route to 15 points for Mercer, Alexis Arkwright scored 13 and Alexis Mills added 10 markers.
Alexis Summers led the way for WM with 11 points and Kristen White registered 10.
ä Wilmington 35, Reynolds 33 — At New Wilmington, the Lady Hounds improved to 3-7 overall with a thrilling 2-point non-region win over the Lady Raiders (2-6).
Sarah Slonaker scored 10 points to pace Wilmington while Rose Stoyer notched 8 for Reynolds.
ä Wilmington 45, Lakeview 23 — At New Wilmington Thursday, Tess Sikora posted a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double in leading the Lady Hounds (1-1 Region 2) past the Lady Sailors (0-2, 2-7) in a Region 2-AA contest.
Casey Stringer scored a game-high 13 points for Lakeview.
ä Conneaut 53, Farrell 31 — At Linesville Thursday, Conneaut Area (7-2) led 16-4 after the opening 8 minutes and went on to post the non-region victory.
Kristen Baker fired in 24 points for Conneaut Area and Challen Litwiler bucketed 11.
Janee Avery led the way for Farrell (6-3) with 8 points.
ä Brookfield 72, McDonald 44 — At McDonald, the Warriors (6-1) jumped out to a 16-5 lead after the opening quarter and rolled past the previously-unbeaten Blue Devils (8-1).
Collin Harkulich fired in 22 points for the Warriors, Jeremy Quinlan bucketed 21 and grabbed 11 rebounds, Derek Dickson scored 11 points, Jimmy Quinlan registered 2 points and dished out 6 assists and Ryan Mosora posted 7 points and had 3 steals.
Christian Rusinowski and Matt Seitz had 10 points each for McDonald.
ä Lakeview 42, Grove City 38 — At Grove City Thursday night in a match that included 5 forfeited weight classes, the visiting Sailors of coach Tom Tingley prevailed.
Notching falls for the Sailors were Evan Clayton (106), Kyle Cannon (182) and Sam Breese (285). For Grove City, Ryan Grace (132), Jared Sample (145), Chet Simoni (160) and Stephen boyle (220) posted falls while Trey Maher (152) had a tech. fall.
LAKEVIEW 42, GROVE CITY 38
113 - Adam Dosch (L) won by forfeit; 120 - Jazmin Johnson (L) won by forfeit; 126 - Kenny Bable (GC) dec Jake Heim (L) 7-3; 132 - Ryan Grace (GC) pinned Trevor Williams (L) 4:56; 138 - Shane McGee (GC) won by forfeit; 145 - Jared Sample (GC) pinned Brandon Persch (L) 3:00; 152 - Trey Maher (GC) tech. fall Jake Adams (L) 16-1; 160 - Chet Simoni (GC) pinned Marty Baughman (L) 0:19; 170 - Marquis Spence (L) pinned D’Andre Byers (GC) 2:19; 182 - Kyle Canon (L) won by forfeit; 195 - Andrew Clayton (L) won by forfeit; 220 - Stephen Boyle (GC) pinned Marcus Bowser (L) 1:41; 285 - Sam Breese (L) pinned Austin Stelene (GC) 0:16; 106 - Evan Clayton (L) pinned Chad Bable (GC) 0:25.
HICKORY 12 17 16 16 61
SHARON 17 9 2 11 39
HICKORY — Arbanas 8-1-1-19, Placzek 4-4-5-12, Grober 6-3-5-15, LaCava 2-0-0-4, Chess 1-2-6-4, Beader 2-3-4-7, White 0-0-0-0, Zreliak 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Arbanas 2. Totals: 23-13-21-61.
SHARON — Mal. Torr 2-0-0-5, Chester 1-1-2-3, Sanders 6-3-6-15, Jacoway 2-0-0-4, Dabney 4-0-0-10, Smith 1-0-0-2, Mag. Torr 0-0-0-0, Reed 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Dabney 2, Mal. Torr 1. Totals: 16-4-8-39.
JV — Sharon, 33-28. Tamia Hopson 8, Kelsie McGranahan 7 points for Sharon; Lexi Bible, Shawna Moore 6 apiece for Hickory.
GREENVILLE 6 10 9 2 27
SHARPSVILLE 19 9 12 8 48
GREENVILLE — Fagley 2-0-2-4, Burnett 7-2-2-17, Holder 3-0-0-6, Marini 0-0-0-0, D’Alfonso 0-0-0-0, WIlliams 0-0-0-0, Herrick 0-0-0-0, Montalvo 0-0-0-0, Guerrini 0-0-0-0, Leary 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goal: Burnett 1. Totals: 12-2-4-27.
SHARPSVILLE — Davis 3-0-0-8, Przicina 1-0-0-2, Popatak 10-7-10-27, Henwood 2-0-1-4, Kurelko 2-1-2-7, Whalen 0-0-0-0, Davies 0-0-0-0, Scurpa 0-0-0-0, Schell 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Davis 2, Kurelko 2. Totals: 18-8-13-48.
JV — Sharpsville, 26-22. Eugena Davies 11 for Sharpsville.
MERCER 16 10 15 9 50
W. MIDDLESEX 3 15 12 6 36
MERCER — Whenry 1-0-0-2, Arkwright 4-3-4-13, McKinney 3-2-3-8, Mills 4-0-0-10, Cook 6-0-0-15, Ryder 1-0-0-2. 3-pt. goals: Cook 3, Arkwright 2, Mills 2. Totals: 19-5-7-50.
WEST MIDDLESEX — Murray 2-0-2-4, Atterholt 2-0-1-4, Stitt 2-1-2-6, Summers 3-3-4-11, Pierce 0-1-2-1, White 3-2-2-10. 3-pt. goals: Summers 2, White 2, Stitt 1. Totals: 12-7-13-36.
JV — Mercer, 38-24. Taylor Zacherl 11, Melissa Shoemaker 11 for Mercer. Morgan Atterholt 20 for WM.
REYNOLDS 10 6 8 9 33
WILMINGTON 6 8 8 13 35
REYNOLDS — Burnworth 2-1-2-5, Bresnan 1-1-2-3, Stoyer 4-0-0-8, Ringer 3-0-0-7, Napodano 2-1-2-6, Thompson 2-0-0-4, McDanel 0-0-0-0, Babcock 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Ringer 1, Napodano 1. Totals: 14-3-6-33.
WILMINGTON — Christofferson 1-3-4-5, Slonaker 5-0-0-10, Sikora 0-5-6-5, Marett 4-0-0-8, Thompson 1-1-4-3, Drake 1-2-2-4, Williams 0-0-0-0. Totals: 12-11-16-35.
JV — Wilmington, 18-11.
LAKEVIEW 5 5 2 11 23
WILMINGTON 10 17 6 12 45
LAKEVIEW — Stringer 3-6-8-13, Foster 2-0-0-4, Fischer 1-0-0-2, Holland 0-0-6-0, Davis 1-0-0-2, McKean 1-0-0-2, Adams 0-0-0-0, Scott 0-0-0-0, Womer 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goal: Stringer 1. Totals: 8-6-14-23.
WILMINGTON — Christofferson 4-0-0-8, Slonaker 4-1-3-9, Sikora 6-0-0-12, Marett 2-1-2-5, Thompson 2-1-1-5, Drake 3-0-0-6, Borowicz 0-0-0-0, Williams 0-0-0-0, McCown 0-0-0-0, Romeo 0-0-0-0. Totals: 21-3-6-45.
JV — Lakeview won. No score reported.
FARRELL 4 11 4 12 31
CONNEAUT 16 12 13 12 53
FARRELL — Scott 2-0-0-4, Oatis 1-0-0-2, Avery 3-2-2-8, Chambers 1-0-0-2, Gambill 3-0-0-6, Page 1-0-1-2, Sharper 1-0-0-2, Washington 1-0-0-2, Murray 1-1-3-3. Totals: 14-3-6-31.
CONNEAUT AREA — Krider 1-2-2-4, Litwiler 5-1-4-11, Baker 11-2-4-24, Scott 1-0-2-2, Litwin 2-0-4-5, Shidemantle 4-0-1-8, Clement 0-0-1-0. 3-pt. goal: Litwin 1. Totals: 24-5-17-53.
JV — No score reported.
BROOKFIELD 16 21 16 19 72
McDONALD 5 18 19 2 44
BROOKFIELD — Ji. Quinlan 1-0-0-2, Harkulich 10-2-4-22, Dickson 5-0-0-11, Je. Quinlan 9-2-2-21, Mosora 3-0-0-7, Tarver 0-2-2-2, Wallace 2-1-2-5, Pratts 0-0-0-0, Smoot 0-0-0-0, Johnson 0-0-0-0, Sims 1-0-0-2. 3-pt. goals: Dickson 1, Je. Quinlan 1, Mosora 1. Totals: 31-7-10-72.
McDONALD — Pugh 0-0-0-0, Politano 3-1-4-7, Rusinowski 5-0-0-10, Rockard 0-0-0-0, Smith 1-0-0-2, Kunkel 2-0-0-4, Conley 0-2-4-2, Wertz 0-0-0-0, Greaver 4-1-1-9, Seitz 5-0-3-10. Totals: 20-4-12-44.
JV — Brookfield, 48-47. Nate Johnson 14 for Brookfield. Matt Fedyski 14 for McDonald.
Shooting slumps sabotage squads every season, but the best teams’ defense and rebounding never take a night off.
LOCAL COLLEGE SPORTS: Thiel's Schafer picked for NCAA Pathway Program
Thiel College assistant director of athletics and senior woman administrator Amy Schafer was one of just 12 individuals recently selected for the NCAA 2014 Pathway Program.
The Pathway Program exists to assist minority and/or female administrators who wish to become director of athletics as their next career step through education, training and mentoring. The program is designed to provide national exposure to its participants and to generate the opportunity to glean information and career guidance from the leadership of intercollegiate athletics administrators throughout the country.
Reynolds 20-year home mat streak halted
They say that all good things must end. Even winning streaks of local powerhouse Reynolds High wrestling team!
The Raiders of coach Casey Taylor dropped a tough 30-25 decision to Erie McDowell Tuesday night at Reynolds, the first home loss for the Raiders since 1993.
The Class AAA Trojans (2-0) last year rallied from a large deficit to beat Class AA Reynolds in Erie, 38-33. On Tuesday, the northerners also rallied from a 25-21 deficit in the final two matches to halt the streak.
Roundup: Sharon rallies to beat WM, 72-56
When West Middlesex High’s wonderful 2013 Final Four run ended last March 22, it was at Sharon’s Tiger gymnasium. And while Tuesday night’s circumstances were considerably less dramatic, they ended similarly.
The Big Reds built a 20-8 first-quarter bulge. Ultimately, however, West Middlesex made 27 miscues, resulting in a 72-56 District 10 inter-region setback at Sharon.
Roundup: WM girls beat UC; Sharpsville, KC fall
ä West Middlesex 52, Union City 27 — At Union City, coach Mike Williams’ Region 1-A Ms. Reds improved to 2-1 with a win over the Lady Bears of Region 4-AA.
Alyson Pierce scored 15 to lead WM, Noelle Murray registered 13 points and Allie Staunch bucketed 10 markers.
Hickory falls to Lions in PIAA Class AA western region final
SLIPPERY ROCK — Brett Brumbaugh brought Bill Brest back to reality.
Brest seemed, Saturday afternoon, momentarily lost in thought when a post-game question was posed. Perhaps it was because it had been 3 months since he had experienced the disappointment of defeat.
Brumbaugh-led South Fayette’s football team short-circuited a splendid season a step shy of the statewide stage for Brest and Hickory High with a 23-20 win over the Hornets in the PIAA Class AA western regional championship game.
SPORTVIEW: Browns, Steelers will both lose
THE CLEVELAND Browns quarterback position has been a revolving door this season, but at least one of the more successful signal-callers is back. Jason Campbell is recovered from a concussion and will start.
Does it really matter?
Roundup: Opening-weekend tipoff tourneys conclude
Kittanning Tipoff Championship
ä Hickory 60, Kittanning 32 — Coach Jeannette Whitehead’s Lady Hornets had an impressive weekend in winning the opening tourney of the season.
“It’s nice to get out of the game with a win,” said Whitehead. “The kids were anxious to get going.”
2013-14 hoops season begins with tipoff tourneys
Farrell Julius McCoy Tipoff Tourney
ä Kennedy Catholic 48, Imani Christian Academy 40 — The Golden Eagles set up an all local rematch with host Farrell by pulling away in the fourth quarter in a tight battle.
For KC, Gerald Zachar and Sam Crow each scored 13 points to pace the victory, Brown had 14 and Southerner 12 for Imani.
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.
- More Sports Headlines
- LOCAL COLLEGE SPORTS: Thiel's Schafer picked for NCAA Pathway Program