MERCER COUNTY —
Who: Sharpsville (18-8) vs. Burrell (23-3).
What: PIAA playoffs, 2nd round.
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Slippery Rock University's Morrow Field House.
Players to Watch: Sharpsville - McKenzie Popatak, 5-9 Sr. (21.4 ppg.); Megan Davis, 5-8 Jr. (10.8); Natalie Henwood (4.5); Kayla Kurelko, 5-5 Soph. (3.4); Maddie Przicina, 5-6 Soph. (2.4); Paige Scurpa, 5-9 Sr. (2.3). Burrell - Sydney Bordonaro, 5-7 Soph. (16.5); Natalie Myers, 5-11 Fr. (10.7); Kelsey Oddis, 5-7 Jr.; Jaila Manga, 5-8 Jr.; Erika Finn, 5-8 Soph.; Jessica Cercone, 6-1 Jr.
Bonus Shots: Sharpsville skipper Jeff Hanley (12th year, 186-112) got his 1st-ever PIAA playoff win with a 38-32 victory over District 9 champion Brookville on Friday at Clarion University. Popatak rifled in 20 points and Henwood drained 2 huge treys for 6 points and came up with several big rebounds. ... Brookville started the season with a 4-10 record, but got hot at the right time and had knocked out the top 3 seeds in the D-9 Class AA playoffs in Kane (1st), Karns City (2nd) and Cranberry (3rd). ... Hanley's last appearance in a state playoff game was in his 1st year as coach (2001-02) when his Blue Darlings fell to Cameron County (57-49) in overtime at Clarion U. ... Popatak is the school's all-time girls scoring leader with 1,680 points. She surpassed Kasey Gardner's 2008 mark of 1,440 earlier this season. ... Popatak trails Lakeview's Sheena Aden (2,421), Sharon's Wanda Holloway (2,106), Farrell's Jill Platteborze (1,913), Hickory's Julie Fornadel (1,702) and Sharon's Brittany Csatlos (1,697) among Mercer County area girls scorers. ... The Blue Darlings' losses this season have come against Cranberry (51-39), Grove City (31-23), Slippery Rock (49-36), Kennedy Catholic (67-40), North East (49-30 and 42-38), Girard (51-37), Sharon (54-39). ... Sharpsville ousted Seneca (34-29) in the District 10 quarterfinals, fell to North East (42-38) in the semis and then qualified for the PIAA playoffs by beating Mercer (48-29) in the consolation game. ... Last year, Sharpsville was ousted in the D-10 quarterfinals by Seneca (51-46). ... Meghan Ziemianski (2nd year) is a 2000 Burrell graduate and coaches the Buccaneers. Her dad, Mark, is her assistant. He coached Burrell when she was a senior. Meghan previously coached at Highlands for 4 seasons and led them to WPIAL Class AAA playoff appearances all 4 years. ... Burrell ousted D-6 runner-up Bellwood Antis, 65-46, on Friday at Plum High School in the 1st round of the PIAAs. Burrell led 10-6 after the 1st quarter, 27-21 at halftime and 41-36 after 3 before outscoring Antis 24-10 in the final frame. Bordonaro rifled in 27 points while Myers had 16. ... Burrell went 10-0 to finish 1st in WPIAL Section 1-AA. They beat Carlynton (47-23) in the 1st round of the WPIAL playoffs, ousted McGuffey (61-41) in the quarters and got crushed by eventual WPIAL champion Bishop Canevin (56-33) in the semifinals. ... Their other 2 losses were against Shaler (47-36) in the title tilt of the Hampton Christmas Tourney and Keystone Oaks (43-40) back on Jan. 18. ... They were on a 12-game winning streak heading into the WPIAL semis, which included impressive wins over Indiana, Mount Pleasant, Knoch and North Catholic. ... This year is unprecedented at Burrell High, which is known as a wrestling powerhouse (7 WPIAL titles) as the boys team played in the WPIAL title game (lost to Beaver Falls) for the 1st time since 1979 (they were ousted by Bishop McCort in the 1st round of the PIAAs) and the girls made the D-7 semis for the 1st time since 1994. ... Burrell had the best defense in the WPIAL during the regular season, only allowing 28.6 ppg. with their stifling man-to-man defense. ... Burrell was 18-5 last year and lost in the 1st round of the WPIAL playoffs. ... The game will be broadcast on SportsRadio 96.7 (WLLF FM) with Ryan Briggs and Chris Burtch calling the action beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Who: Kennedy Catholic (23-2) vs. Port Allegany (22-4).
What: PIAA playoffs, 2nd round.
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Clarion University's Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium.
Players to Watch: Kennedy Catholic - Alex Ricketts, 5-11 Sr. (17.3 ppg.); Courtney Sargent, 6-2 Sr. (13.1); Rachel Burns, 5-10 Sr. (11.0); Taylor Hood, 5-7 Jr. (7.4); Rebekah Kish, 5-7 Soph. (7.0); April Bocian, 6-2 Fr. (5.5). Port Allegany - Becca Lathrop, 5-9 Jr. (16.7); Brooke Roys, 6-0 Soph. (7.7); Somer Buchsenschutz, 5-6 Soph. (7.2); Gabby Drabert, 5-8 Sr. (5.6); Krista Miller, 5-5 Jr. (3.7); Lynae Delacour, 5-7 Soph. (3.5).
Bonus Shots: Kennedy Catholic coach Tom Burns (6th year, 113-34) led his Lady Golden Eagles to an impressive opening-round win in the state playoffs Saturday with a 45-36 win vs. North Catholic. Ricketts scored 17, Sargent bucketed 14 and Bocian came off the bench and grabbed 11 rebounds and had several blocks for KC, which led 24-12 at halftime. The Lady Golden Eagles limited NC star Lauren Wolosik, who is headed to Div. I Central Connecticut University, to 11 points. ... North Catholic and Vincentian Academy are the kingpins of WPIAL Class A while KC rules District 10. NC played in the state championship game last season, but lost to Steelton Highspire (66-59) at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center. ... KC has won 17 District 10 championships. Burns has led them to 4 of them, including 3 in a row. ... KC had a bye in the opening round of the D-10 playoffs, beat Commodore Perry (68-28) in the semifinals and defeated Cochranton (67-45) for the title. ... KC has outscored their opponents 1,519 to 775 (744 point differential) this year. ... KC's 2 losses are against Franklin (62-45) in the season-opening Franklin Tipoff Tourney and Vincentian Academy (70-53) in the Penn State-Beaver Holiday Tourney title tilt. Franklin just won its 2nd straight D-10 Class AAA title while VA copped its 2nd straight (3rd in 4 years) WPIAL crown. ... Ricketts, who will play college hoops for the Zips at Div. I Akron University, has 1,382 career points while Burns has 1,062. ... In the PIAAs last year, KC beat Riverview (59-30) and Clarion Area (59-43) before falling to Vincentian (56-51) in the western region semifinals. ... KC's last appearance in a PIAA title game was in 2001 under former coach Father Rick Tomasone when the locals edged Pottsville Nativity BVM (48-46) at Hersheypark Arena. ... Coach Kristina Francis' (9th year, 125-96) Lady Gators of Port Allegany beat Penns Manor, the 3rd seed out of District 6, in the 1st round of the PIAAs Saturday at Pitt-Bradford. Lathrop scored 22 in PA's 52-45 win and Buchsenschutz had 10. ... PA's 4 losses are to Wyalusing in their season-opener at the Cowanesque Valley Tourney, St. Marys, Kane (who lost to Brookville in the D-9 Class AA title game) and to Clarion Area (56-41) in the Class A title game. ... They beat Venango Catholic (45-35) in the D-9 quarterfinals and Keystone (55-48) in the semis. Lathrop had 19 points vs. VC and a career-high 26 and 18 rebounds vs. defending champion Keystone, which played without their 2 top scorers in sisters Morgan and Madison Johnson (both torn ACLs). ... PA turned the ball over 31 times in the loss to Clarion Area for the D-9 crown. They had won 19 straight before that game. Roys (13) and Lathrop (12) scored in double digits. It was Clarion's 1st D-9 title since 1992 and was the Lady Gators' 1st title game appearance since they won the AA title in 1997. They've never won a Class A crown in 4 tries. The last attempt was in 1996 when they lost to Coudersport. ... PA started the season 2-3. They lost to Kane on Dec. 19and then reeled off that big winning streak. ... This is PA's 1st trip to the state playoffs since 2006. ... The game will be broadcast on NewsTalk 790 (WOIC AM) with Mark Slezak and Bob Greenburg on mike, beginning at 5:30 p.m. ... by Rob Malsom, Herald sports writer
MERCER COUNTY —
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.
Roundup: Hickory, Mercer, Reynolds, WM baseball teams earn wins
ä Hickory 12, Sharpsville 10 — At the McCullough Run Complex in South Pymatuning Twp., the visiting Hornets improved to 4-0 with the win.
Brady Leunis went 2-for-3 for Hickory with a double and 3 RBI, Tommy Cannon belted a 2-run homer, Noah Orndorff was 2-for-4, Nate Mastrian ripped an RBI-double, Ethan Davis was 2-for-4 with a double and a run driven in and Jake Andrzjewski doubled.
Roundup: WM, Wilmington, Mercer softball teams win
ä West Middlesex 11, Grove City 1 (5 inn.) — At the Richard J. Kritz Softball Complex in West Middlesex, Jordyn Allen fired a complete-game 2-hitter with 8 strikeouts and no walks as the Ms. Reds (1-1) rebounded from a tough loss to Lakeview on Monday.
Offensively, Allen doubled and ripped 2 singles for WM, Abby McAdams and Aly Andrusky doubled and singled, Macy Siefert collected 4 singles and Hannah Havens, Megan Hazlett and Oivia Slater added 2 singles each.
Hickory girls, Farrell boys win Guerino titles
The Hickory girls and Farrell boys captured championships on Saturday night at the 17th annual Buddy Guerino Underclassmen Basketball Tournament at Sharpsville High School.
The Hickory girls beat Kennedy Catholic, 41-29, for the crown while the Farrell boys topped Mercer, 76-35, for the title.
In the consolation games, Sharpsville defeated Sharon, 35-15, in girls hoops while the Sharon boys beat Hickory, 57-33.
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