Seven ties, 11 lead changes, 1,000 points.
And one big basket.
Tuesday’s Sharon-Hickory District 10 Region 5-AAA boys’ basketball rivalry offered virtually everything, including dramatic heroics.
Matt Votino’s baseline drive banked off the glass with 42.7 seconds remaining, hoisting Hickory to a 59-58 lead. Then he and Anthony Cannone secured success from the free-throw line in the Hornets’ 65-58 victory.
Needing a dozen, Votino vaulted past the 1,000-point career milestone with 6:01 remaining in the 1st half, and he finished with a game-high 34-point performance that included 13-for-15 free-throw marksmanship — 8 for 9 during the 2nd half.
“He’s truly a great player and he’s stepped up big time. I’m just happy he’s on our team,” Hickory headmaster Nick Cannone confided.
“I tried my hardest no to think about getting a thousand points — all I wanted was a win,” Votino related. “Our main goal is to win championships, and I could care less about getting a thousand points. It feels great to have it, but I just wanted to make sure I got that ‘W.’”
Votino and Anthony Cannone collectively converted 23 of 25 freebies — Cannone was a flawless 10-for-10 for the 2nd time in a week — while Sharon shot 4 free throws in all.
“We knew their two guards could really shoot the lights out ... and that was the difference down the stretch,” 1st-year Tigers’ taskmaster Jason Rankin related.
Following a 14-all 1st-quarter stalemate, the teams were tied at 23 before Hickory harvested a 10-0 run — fueled by back-to-back Votino right-wing triples — and the Hornets held a seemingly safe 33-23 lead with 2:10 remaining to intermission.
But Sharon surged back for 6 consecutive points to conclude the half, then Carnell Hawkins’ 2nd half-opening drive drew the Tigers within 33-31 just 7 ticks in.
“One of our keys was to stay together,” Rankin related. “We knew the crowd would be raucus, we knew this was a big game for us — even though it doesn’t bury us with a loss, we knew it was important — we wanted to stay together.
“We said, ‘There’s gonna be a run, Votino’s gonna hit a big shot, someone’s gonna make a play,’ but we stayed together and I’m proud of them, ’cause they did. In the past, even this season, we would’ve folded and started pointing fingers,” Rankin continued. “But we stuck together, adding,
“The ball didn’t bounce our way with a couple things and I was not happy at all with the calls, but (the Hornets) made the plays,” Rankin praised.
Eight Votino points and 4 from Cannone offset 4 apiece from Hawkins and Khalil Hopson as Hickory hed a 47-41 lead entering the final frame.
But Sharon’s Jevonte Robinson recorded 8 of his 12 points during the period — the 2nd of his two treys was from almost 30 feet from the right wing — as the Tigers clawed within 57-56 with 2:40 left.
Hopson bobbled the ball on a subsequent drive, but D’Amond Crawford collected it laid it in for a 58-57 Sharon lead with a minute remaining, the last lead the Tigers would take.
On Hickory’s ensuing possession Votino was isolated, picked up a corner screen, slithered along the baseline and banked in the go-ahead bucket. He was fouled, but missed the free throw. However, Donté Green grabbed the miss and in a tie-up with Hopson, Hickory was awarded the alternate possession.
Following a Hickory time out, Anthony Cannone canned 4 consecutive free throws — 2 each at the 32.9 and 21-second marks — and the latter was the result of a flagrant foul, which awarded the subsequent possession to the Hornets. Votino added 2 insurance free throws with 16.8 left.
Sharon (2-3, 4-6) was led by Hopson, Robinson and Crawford, who collected 16, 12 and 10 points, respectively. After committing 9 first-half micues the Tigers turned over the ball over only twice during the frenetic 2nd half. Sharon also won the board battle, 28-24.
“One of the things that makes this (rivalry) so big is the size of the gym makes every peep sound like a holler,” Rankin related. “The kids get into it, it’s a rivalry that, for whatever reason the kids don’t like each other, whereas I think the rivalry between Sharon and Farrell is more of a rspect rivalry.
“But it was a great atmosphere, great situation, and I’m looking forward to when we come back to our place (against Hickory), having the same thing,” Rankin said.
Hickory (4-0 7-2), which hit half of its 38 field-goal attempts and turned over the ball only 7 times, maintained its lead atop Region 5-AAAl.
“It was electric out there (Tuesday) night!” Coach Cannone gushed. “When I came out there and I just felt it. Geez oh man, I had the goosebumps going! It was good stuff. This is high school basketball at it’s best. I’ll get out when the hands stop getting clammy — and, man, they were sweating hard before the game!” — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä West Middlesex 46, Lakeview 34 — At Stoneboro, the Big Reds (3-0, 6-3) raced out to a 17-2 first quarter lead before withstanding a gradual Sailor comeback to earn a huge Region 2-AA victory.
West Middlesex made 7-of-10 field goals in the first eight minutes, while forcing the Sailors (3-1, 9-2) into 4 miscues and 0-of-6 shooting.
Lakeview managed to cut the deficit to 25-20 on a Dalton Boggs lay-up midway through the third quarter, but Matt Dogan sank 8-of-12 freebies in the fourth quarter, Trey Staunch lent 3 freebies and Jeremy Jansco another as the Big Reds put the game away from the charity stripe.
Dogan led all scorers 19 points, while Staunch tacked on 16 markers and 8 boards.
Lakeview was led by Dalton Boggs’ 15 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals — Information submitted by sports correspondent Corey J. Corbin.
ä Grove City 89, George Junior Republic 83 — The Tigers tallied 27 first-period points, but the Grovers garnered 75 points during the game’s final 24 minutes — 26 during the 4th frame — to win the city-wide Region 5-AAA showdown.
Derek Turner tallied 31 points for Grove City (2-4, 4-7), while Matt Thrasher threw down 20, Foster Reznor recorded 13, and Jared Graham garnered 11.
The Eagles ended with 31 points from the charity stripe in 46 attempts (67.3).
GJR (1-44, 3-4) was led by Nafis Brown’s 33-point, 13-assist, 5-steal line, but he was the Tigers’ lone double-figure scorer. Also, GJR went to the line just 19 times, sining 13.
ä Greenville 46, Mercer 43 — At Mercer, the Region 2-AA clash was tied at 33-all following 3 quarters, but the Trojans (1-2, 4-6) outscored the Mustangs 13-10 in the final frame to grab the win.
Chad Ferguson drained 4 treys en route to 18 points to lead Greenville.
Logan Clarke fired in a trio of 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 24 points for Mercer (1-3, 4-5).
ä Reynolds 60, Wilmington 56 — At New Wilmington, coach Dan Kilgore’s Raiders (2-2, 7-4) edged the Hounds (0-3, 3-7) in the Region 2-AA affair.
Garrett Frable rifled in 22 points for Reynolds and Cory Woods bucketed 10.
Davis Smith (19), Jesse Hilliard (15) and Rocco Fagan (14) scored in double digits for Wilmington.
ä Kennedy Catholic 81, Jamestown 15 — At Hermitage, KC (1-0, 5-3) led 24-6 after the 1st period and showed no rust since last playing in the Grove City Holiday Tourney to top the Muskies (0-1, 0-9) in a Region 1-A clash.
Jeff Thompkins and Chris James had 11 points each for the Golden Eagles while Arlen Brewer bucketed 10.
Alex Boylan scored 10 points for Jamestown.
ä Rocky Grove 52, Commodore Perry 43 — At Sheakleyville, the visiting Orioles flew out to a 40-29 lead through 3 periods, then limited the Panthers to just 6 fourth-period points en route to Region 1-A road win.
Morrison mustered 11 points and Snyder scored a dozen for Rocky Grove (1-0, 2-8). The Grovers got to the line 30 times, but converted only half, as did Perry (7 for 14).
Pacing Perry (0-1, 2-8) was Sean Britton and Tanner Hildebrand, who evenly divided 20 points.
ä Ursuline 65, Farrell 61 (OT) — At E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the visiting Irish outscored the Steelers 10-6 during the extra session en route to the border-war win.
Farrell forged leads of 12-7, 29-23 and 45-41 at the end of each of the first 3 quarters before being outscored 14-10 during the 4th frame, forcing OT.
For Farrell (4-6), Jason Page pumped in 17 points and Malik Miller mustered 13.
Ursuline (3-6) was led by Desmond McElroy and Ryan Strollo, who evenly split 34 points and Jhallid Pierce’s 15 points, as well as Williams’ 10.
ä Brookfield 56, Newton Falls 20 — At Brookfield, the Warriors (7-1) led 12-6 after 8 minutes, 23-6 at the break and rolled past the Tigers (3-6).
Jeremy Quinlan pumped in 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Brookfield while Collin Harkulich added 10 markers and Jimmy Quinlan dished out 4 assists.
Dale Kernen scored 7 to pace Newton Falls.
ä Rocky Grove 42, Reynolds 31 — At Transfer Monday, Amber Nerlich scored 19 points and Aleece Schiffer bucketed 16 as the Lady Orioles (1-0, 6-5) beat Reynolds (0-1, 2-7) in a Region 1-A contest.
Morgan McDanel led the way for the Lady Raiders with 11 points.
ä Champion 43, Brookfield 30 — Monday night at Champion, the host Lady Golden Flashes flew out to 16 third-period points, breaking open a tight 16-15 contest that they led at intermission.
For Champion (7-4), Jordan Skaggs scored a game-high 13 points and teammates Gabby Lamont and MacKenzier Kiser connected for a dozen apiece.
Champion checked in at 21 for 32 from the free-throw line (65.6 percent), while the Lady Warriors were 10 for 13.
Brookfield (4-5) was led by Tori Thompson’s 15 tallies and another 11 from Ashley Kirila.
Seven ties, 11 lead changes, 1,000 points.
GC coach Bell retired — sort of!
You can take the man out of coaching, but you can’t take coaching out of the man.
Former Grove City High football coach Jeff Bell has spent his first few months of retirement hearing the ping of a baseball ricocheting off an aluminum bat instead of clap of shoulder pads coming together.
“My grandson Maddox (Bell) and a few of his friends play on a traveling team, so I’m helping out with that,” said Bell, who retired as the Eagles’ football coach this past winter. “They’re a good group of kids to work with and this is a lot more enjoyable. It’s a lot less stress.
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Budzowski is part of Team in Training, an organization that has raised more than $1.4 billion for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since forming in 1988. Her division is known as IRONTEAM and she is currently training for the 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon in Mont Tremblant, Canada, in August.
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Rutters earn spot in national motocross event
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Notebook: Sharon football greats meet, reunite at inaugural golf scramble
Mid-July, with the temperature 80-plus degrees at Avalon at Buhl Country Club; however, it felt like a fall, football Friday.
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Full text of LeBron's essay in SI
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Snyder, Gordon, Popatak named to All-State team
Grove City High’s David Gordon, Sharpsville’s Greg Popatak and Lakeview’s Logan Snyder recently were named to the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association all-state team.
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Little League Tournaments
Sharon won the District 2 Major Division (12-year-olds) Championship, while Greenville 9-10 and West Middlesex 11 teams notched tournament victories in recent action.
Hermitage Brennan Chiropractic won the Mercer County 14-under championship recently.
Following are game reports:
The First Tee of Sharon celebrates 15th anniversary
Professional golf star John Cook has received many honors and awards in his illustrious career, but probably none mean as much as those similar to the one he received Monday afternoon at The First Tee of Sharon.
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Hickory honors Tri-Athletes
Hickory High honored its 2013-14 tri-athletes in a recent ceremony, the latest installment in a program that began in 2003-04.
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