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 —
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.
Hornets seek 3-peat Saturday vs. Girard
Bill Brest ... buffer?
Hickory High’s head football coach has broad shoulders and that’s necessary, because he’s taking on all distractions as his Hornets prepare for Saturday’s District 10 Class AA championship game.
Hickory (10-1) will attempt to hoist the D-10 trophy for a 3rd consecutive season when the Hornets journey to Girard’s backyard — Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium — to meet the Yellow Jackets at 1 p.m.
Hickory rolls past Northwestern in D-10 semifinals
SLIPPERY ROCK — They say that “Familiarity breeds contempt.” You can bet the Northwestern Wildcats are feeling a bit of the latter for the Hickory Hornets!
For a third straight season Hickory eliminated the northerners from the District 10 Class AA playoffs, this time by a 52-14 score in the semifinals Saturday night at Slippery Rock University’s Thompson-Mihalik Stadium.
Greenville falls to Girard in D-10 semifinals
ERIE — District 10 was destined for a Class AA championship game between reigning 2-time titlist Hickory and Greenville.
But no one informed the Girard High football team of the plans.
“ … This is pretty cool … I’m pretty fired up about it,” admitted 4th-year Yellow Jackets’ head coach Jim Funk after Girard jolted Greenville, 16-14.
SPORTVIEW: Season fate could be decided today for Browns, Steelers
IT MAKES NO sense to say that one game determines the rest of the season. That’s why I’ll simply say: Today’s one game determines the rest of the season.
Since when did my predictions make sense anyhow?
The Cleveland Browns’ visit to Cincinnati today will go a long way to deciding if the Browns have a shot at making the playoffs — and even winning the AFC North title — or if they should start planning for the NFL draft.
GCC tops Thiel in OT to win Mercer County Cup
The Grove City and Thiel College football teams closed out their seasons on Saturday with a thrilling game at Alumni Stadium in Green-ville as Grove City posted a 50-44 overtime win in the 30th annual Mercer County Cup Game.
Quarterback Brian Pell scored on a 13-yard run for the Wolverines (3-5, 5-5) to give GCC the win in OT.
Devils beat WM; will play for 3rd straight D-10 title
Two-time defending District 10 Class A champion Sharpsville is returning to the D-10 title game for a third straight year and Coach Paul Piccirilli has a simple explanation for the team’s success:
“We believe. Kids in Sharpsville believe.”
A lot of people are believing as well after watching the Blue Devils dismantle West Middlesex, 40-3, Friday night at Hickory High Hornets Stadium.
Spence, Sailors roll past Mercer, 52-21
NEW WILMINGTON — Pat McClearn lived Lakeview High football program’s previous gridiron glory days. Unfortunately for him on Friday night he was on the business end of the current Sailors’ resurgence.
McClearn and his Mercer High Mustangs were eliminated by Lakeview from the District 10 Class A semifinals, 52-21.
Long gone basketball league leaves a costly legacy
If you want to mark yourself as a graying old-timer, bring up the American Basketball Association – the professional league that featured large Afros, slam dunk contests, three-point baskets and a red, white and blue basketball.
Oh, yes, it also had a great collection of players - perhaps the best on the globe - who brought athleticism, skill and excitement to a game that had become somewhat stodgy in the more established National Basketball Association.
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- Brookfield boys win season-opener against Py Valley