SLIPPERY ROCK — Memo to PIAA Class AA girls’ basketball teams: Beware Burrell High’s Lady Bucs.
Sharpsville learned that during Tuesday night’s Western Regional quarterfinal-round 45-18 setback at Slippery Rock University’s Morrow Field House.
Sydney Bordonaro blesses Burrell with a multi-dimensional point guard, and the Bucs boast size in Jessica Cercone and Natalie Myers. And, for Burrell, the best part is they all three are underclassmen.
A sophomore, Bordonaro bucketed 13 points and distributed 9 assists, while 6-foot-1 junior Cercone swatted 6 first-half Sharpsville shots and another couple during the 2nd half. Also, the 5-11 freshman Myers mustered 10 markers and snared 7 caroms.
The only drawback? Burrell dresses only 8 players, meaning 2nd-year head coach Meghan Ziemianski and her brother, an assistant coach, have to run with the club just so it can scrimmage during practice.
While Burrell (24-3) was bullish against Sharpsville, Ziemianski is looking ahead no further than the next game.
“We don’t look ahead like that. I’m a hockey fan, so I’m superstitious,” admitted Ziemianski, a Burrell alumna (2000). “I’m extremely fortunate, I know. I have a solid eight, and I’ll take a solid eight any day over numbers.”
In the game’s opening sequence a trio of Sharpsville shots went awry, and it served as an omen. Natalie Henwood’s drive with 4:15 remaining in the 1st frame served as Sharpsville’s lone 1st-half field goal, as Burrell burst to leads of 11-3 at the quarter and a 20-3 bulge by the break.
During the 3rd period Megan Davis drilled a pair of treys and McKenzie Popatak produced 4 of her team-high 10 points. But Bordonaro bucketed 5 of her team-high 13 points and Kelsey Oddis added 7 of her 9 during the 2nd half.
The Lady Bucs’ WPIAL-leading defense dominated the Blue Darlings, coercing Sharpsville into a 5-for-43 shooting performance and 18 turnovers.
Following a 2-5 start to the season Sharpsville (18-9) surged to a Region 2-AA championship, 3rd place in District 10, and an opening-round PIAA playoff win.
“You’re gonna have a tough time coming back from three points at the half,” admitted Sharpsville skipper Jeff Hanley. “But the girls fought hard throughout the entire game, and that’s all we could’ve asked of them.
“But it was a great season,” Hanley acknowledged, admitting, “That last locker room talk was hard, though. I love those girls, and everything that they’ve given us this year — it’s been the best in 12 years, and I can’t thank them enough for their work.”
Hanley has to bid adieu to seniors Henwood, Popatak, Paige Scurpa and Megan Whalen. Popatak and Scurpa snared 7 rebounds each, and Popatak concluded her career as Sharpsville’s leading female scorer (1,690) and 6th in all-time Mercer County annals.
“Our seniors ... wow! Since seventh grade I’ve had ’em, and it’s just been a great run for those five, six years. They’re family to me, and I’m gonna miss them a great deal,” Hanley related, continuing,
“You miss everything on the court, but what you really miss is their personalities and sense of humor and smiles, and everything they bring to you as an individual, and everything they bring to your team. It was the fourth quarter, yet we were going for blocks and diving on the floor for loose balls, trying to rebound, trying to push it down the court.
“Only one team in double-A wins their last game,” Hanley mused, “and we knew this day was coming. We wanted to prolong it as much as we possibly could, and we did. We ran into a very good basketball team (Tuesday), but we fought hard and I thank the girls a great deal for all of that.”
PIAA CLASS AA PLAYOFFS
BURRELL 11 9 15 10 45
SHARPSVILLE 3 0 11 4 18
BURRELL — Bordonaro 5-0-1-13, Oddis 4-1-2-9, Cercone 2-1-2-5, Myers 5-0-0-10, Manga 2-0-0-4, Finn 2-0-0-4, Nitowski 0-0-0-0, Brown 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Bordonaro 3. Totals: 20-2-5-45.
SHARPSVILLE — Henwood 1-0-0-2, Davis 2-0-0-6, Popatak 2-5-6-10, Scurpa 0-0-0-0, Przicina 0-0-0-0, Kurelko 0-0-0-0, Davies 0-0-0-0, Schell 0-0-0-0, Shuttleworth 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Davis 2, Popatak 1. Totals: 5-5-6-18.
SLIPPERY ROCK — Memo to PIAA Class AA girls’ basketball teams: Beware Burrell High’s Lady Bucs.
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.
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.
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- Roundup: Sharon rallies to beat WM, 72-56