It’s a rematch of a rematch.
That’s the story for the Kennedy Catholic Lady Golden Eagles when it comes to colliding with Vincentian Academy Saturday in the PIAA Western Regional Semifinals.
Kennedy, which downed Port Allegany, 70-21, Wednesday evening at Clarion University, will face their nemesis in that key clash for second straight season. Vincentian topped KC in the western semis last year, 56-51, then in a rematch earlier this year the WPIAL champions again beat the Lady Golden Eagles, 70-53.
Vincentian beat Berlin-Brothersvalley, 44-42, at the buzzer Wednesday at Hempfield High School in Greensburg as the No. 3 team out of District 5 nearly pulled off a huge upset over Vincentian.
The Wednesday game at Clarion against the Lady Gators wasn’t much of a test, just a slight warm-up for Saturday.
“I’m really proud of my girls,” said KC coach Tom Burns. “They’re clicking on all 8 cylinders now. The defense speaks for itself. They are a lot more disciplined on defense than the start of the year.
“I’m willing to give them some freedom on offense if they’re playing strong defense. We’re playing team basketball and I’m really proud of my team as a unit.”
That “unit” dominated every area of the game. The full-court pressure was too much for the District 9 runners-up to handle as the Lady Golden Eagles forced 7 turnovers in the opening quarter and burst out to a 21-5 lead. KC was in control on the boards and Port Allegany had no answer for 6-foot-2 Courtney Sargent inside or the shooting of Alex Ricketts from the perimeter.
The KC lead actually could have been even bigger as they missed several inside bunnies, making only 9 of 22 shots in the period. Plus they missed on 4 of 6 free throws.
Kennedy led by 39-14 by halftime as Ricketts had 15 points and Sargent 12. By then the game was pretty much out of reach as the Lady Golden Eagles forced 6 more turnovers in that second stanza.
There was no waking up from this nightmare for the toothless Gators. In the third period they were outscored 20-1. In fact, their first field goal of the second half came with 5:52 remaining in the contest.
For the game, Kennedy (24-2) forced 29 miscues. Ricketts, bound for Akron U., led the point-production with 21 points, including 5 treys.
Sargent added 17 points. Rachel Burns tallied 9 markers while she, Taylor Hood and Tatum Kress worked the ball well to set up the big two guns on the night. Gabrielle Drabert had 8 points to pace PA, which finished the season at 22-5.
“I didn’t expect the game to get away as fast as it did,” said Burns. “We weren’t scoring early, but our defensive pressure was doing the job on the other end.
“We have to control the glass from here on out. Courtney was a moose tonight inside. We’ll need to be in control against Vincentian.”
Sargent didn’t play in the earlier season game against the perennial Pittsburgh-area power, missing the first six contests of the year. But she should provide a big boost this time around. And the close loss in the western semis last year came with Rachel Burns, the team’s second highest scorer behind Ricketts, sidelined by an injury.
“We’re healthy now and we’re ready to go,” Burns said.
Nobody who watched the team Wednesday at Clarion could argue with that!
PIAA CLASS A PLAYOFFS
KENNEDY 21 18 20 11 70
P. ALLEGANY 5 9 1 6 21
KENNEDY CATHOLIC — Ricketts 8-0-0-21, Sargent 7-3-6-17, Burns 4-0-1-9, Hood 2-4-5-8, Kish 2-1-2-6, Bocain 0-1-2-1, O’Brien 0-2-2-2, Yacoub 1-0-0-2, Kress 2-0-0-4, Scoccia 0-0-0-0, Volkay 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Ricketts 5, Burns 1, Kish 1. Totals: 26-11-18-70.
PORT ALLEGANY — Lathrop 1-1-4-3, Roys 2-1-2-5, Buchsenschutz 1-0-0-2, Drabert 3-2-4-8, Miller 0-0-0-0, Delacour 0-0-0-0, Johnson 1-1-2-3. Totals: 8-5-12-21.
It’s a rematch of a rematch.
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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