The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Sports

March 6, 2014

Shannonhouse's Steelers set for statewide stage

- — With the approaching spring, a young man’s fancy turns to ... what else? The PIAA playoffs. And when Shenango Valley scholastic basketball aficionados think of the postseason they think of Farrell.

Recently at E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the banners above were blowing in the breeze — ’52 ... ’54 ... ’56 ... ’59 ... ’60 ... ’69 ... ’72 — swaying as sprinting players created a vacuum of air rising from the floor. Melodramatic maybe, but there’s a feeling at Farrell that harkens back to the heyday when playoff success was a rite of passage.

The District 10 champion Steelers (22-3) meet Montour (16-8) in the opening round of the Class AAA tournament, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Sharon High.

“We’ve put in the hard work, so I think we deserve it,” assessed senior spokesman Dewayne Burns. “Since last February to now, I think we’ve been doing a great job. Every day we come out here and strive to be great, and we’ve been very successful.”

 “It feels great,” admitted 11th-year Steelers’ skipper Roland Shannonhouse.

Shannonhouse was coached by Frank Sincek ... who played for, then coached under, then succeeded McCluskey ... who forged Farrell’s 7 state championships. Sincek now serves as one of Shannonhouse’s assistants. While pausing from a recent pracitice conducted by Sincek, Bobby Stewart, Marco Miller and Tim Odem, Shannonhouse related,

“You step back and look at it, and you feel the ‘buzz’ around town, what you hear around town and the things you hear at school.

“But I think what we’re failing to realize sometimes,” Shannonhouse emphasized, “ ... this triple-A/single-A thing (Farrell will be competing in Class A next year), I get that question all the time. But I think people fail to realize: What we’re doin’ here is pretty difficult. You’re talking about a small single-A school that’s competing against triple-A schools night in and night out. It can’t be done alone.

“I think we forget that sometimes,” Shannonhouse reiterated. “You need full cooperation from the administration, you need full cooperation from the parents, from the community, the fans. I mean, we need everybody working together with these guys, to come together and to have the type of season that we’re having.

“All we need now,” Shannonhouse continued, “is for them to finish strong, and that’s what we tell our kids: Finish strong. But we still need the administration, we still need the fans, we still need everyone — the parents — everyone to keep pitching in and to keep the guys in line, keep them positive, keep them confident, and hopefully, we can take this thing somewhere.”

In the last 3-plus seasons Montour has morphed into a monster.

The Spartans secured WPIAL championships in 2011 and 2013 and twice advanced to the PIAA championship game. Montour mustered respective marks of 23-8 in ’10-11 (losing to Philadelphia’s Neumann-Goretti, 55-45); 24-5 in ’11-12 (losing to Hampton in the WPIAL Tournament semifinals, then bowing to Neumann-Goretti again, 48-45), and 25-5 a year ago (winning the WPIAL, but bowing to Philadelphia’s Archbishop Carroll (50-45) in the state semis. They were led by point guard Devin Wilson, who matriculated at Virginia Tech University.

This year the Spartans suffered a WPIAL tourney quarterfinal-round setback to eventual champion Central Valley (50-38).

“They’re similar, maybe, to a Girard-style of basketball,” Shannonhouse assessed. “They have a six-six kid (Dustin Sleva) that can play a little bit inside. We’re gonna have to try to get him uncomfortable, push him out away from the lane, and speed the game up. That’s been our strength all year — speeding that game up.

“If we play slow-down basketball, we struggle; if we let that (opposing) teams get comfortable on offense, we struggle. So we really have to speed ’em up, turn ’em over, use our speed getting up and down to try and get this one,” Shannonhouse said.

“We’ve just got to stay together, move fast and play defense,” Burns said.

Farrell faced a variety in its trio of D-10 tourney triumphs: overtime (Girard, 63-60); rallying from a huge deficit (18 points with 4:51 remaining, to edge Strong Vincent, 71-69), and a back-and-forth flow (83-78 over Erie-East). Having survived each scenario should serve the Steelers, Shannonhouse said.

“I think it was something we really needed. Throughout the course of the year, you’re playing twenty-plus games before you get to the playoffs, and you’re talking about, maybe, two or three close games that we played in, and we actually struggled in those games. 

“I thought in the District 10 tournament we had to knuckle down, do some different things as far as personnel and effective play. And I thought it really helped us, and I’m hoping we’re now better prepared and more confident, ready to go out there and face any challenge and in the fourth quarter have a chance to win it.”

Forecasting Farrell’s future brought Burns back to his youth.

“When I was a kid, I always wanted a state championship in football and basketball. When we were younger, we all played together as kids, and we all had big dreams of winning state championships with each other. Right now, I think we can do that.”

“ ... (Seniors Ike Jones, Tyrone Archie, Chris James and Tionté Davis) are like my close brothers ... everybody on the team is like my brother, but those guys (fellow seniors) are special to me,” Burns said.

Shannonhouse said his seniors are special to him, as well.

“Deserve. I think they deserve it,” Shannonhouse said of the statewide stage and PIAA pedestal. “For what they have done, how they have succeeded so far, they’ve really earned it.

“I was corrected the other day,” a smiling Shannonhouse said. “I said we started last March and (junior point guard) Jamel Brown said, ‘Wait a minute, coach. We started in February.’ And that’s why they’re getting what they have. It’s been a phenomenal ride for them because they worked so hard to get here.

“Some of these guys haven’t taken a day off in over a year now,” Shannonhouse continued, “and to be playing at this time of year, after what those guys did this past summer, selfishly, it can only help the program in the future. The younger guys will see what it takes in order to have this type of success, they know they have to get in the gym ... It’s just been a God-send for us, and we’ve really been blessed as far as the future of the program’s concerned.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPORTVIEW: Johnny Football claims he has learned from his 'rookie mistakes'

    HERE ARE some thoughts from a guy who might have made a few “rookie mistakes” in his life, ala Johnny Manziel.
    Johnny Football admitted this past week that he made some rookie mistakes. Really?
    Usually rookie mistakes for most NFL newbies are throwing into coverage or fumbling the football because you don’t tuck it tightly to your side.

    July 27, 2014

  • NFL NOTEBOOK: Ex-Sharon star Austin hopes to spark Lions' defense

    THE TALENTED — albeit underachieving — Detroit Lions commence camp July 27 in Allen Park, Mich. as the National Football League prepares for the 2014 season.

    July 21, 2014

  • Fighting cancer Racing to fight cancer

    Former Hickory High athlete Amanda Budzowski is on the run — the run to raise money to fight cancer.
    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.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians need fast start after All-Star break

    SO FAR, so good. I’m referring to the start of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians after the All-Star break on Friday night.
    Both teams rallied to win. The Buccos beat the Colorado Joints — err, I mean Rockies — by coming from behind in the 8th inning. Since they legalized marijuana sales in that state, it gave new meaning to John Denver’s song “Rocky Mountain High.”

    July 20, 2014

  • Sky high Rutters earn spot in national motocross event

    The brother-sister racing duo of Elijah and Dannah Rutter of Mercer are set to travel to Hurricane Mills, Tenn., to compete soon in the prestigious 33rd annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships presented by AMSOIL at Loretta Lynn Ranch.
    Elijah, 18, and Dannah, 16, earned a ticket to the event with their performances at qualifiers and then regionals and are among the top 5 percent of riders in the U.S. Overall, 20,000 hopefuls from across the U.S. competed and there are only 1,446 qualifying spots at nationals.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharon Football scramble 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.
    The inaugural Sharon Football Boosters 4-man golf scramble took place recently, and served as a Who’s Who in the Tigers’ triumphant tradition.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: All is right with the world - LeBron has come home!

    HAPPY DAYS are here again. The prodigal child has returned!
    The announcement that “King James” is returning to Cleveland has created a level of euphoria not seen since the Browns won the city’s last major sport championship a couple of years ago.
    What’s that? Oh, yeah — make that 50 years ago (1964).

    July 13, 2014

  • LeBron James Full text of LeBron's essay in SI

    LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday in an essay that he wrote for Sports Illustrated. The following is the full text of that essay.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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.
    Synder was selected 1st-Team in Class A as a designated-hitter, while Gordon was honorably-mentioned in Class AAA and Popatak similarly was honored in AA. Gordon gained his laurels as a pitcher; Popatak as a 3rd baseman.

    July 10, 2014

  • Oprah lands first interview with Jerry Sandusky's adopted son, Matthew

    Matthew Sandusky, the adopted son of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, is breaking his silence for the first time since his father's 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, sitting down with Oprah to tell his story.

    July 8, 2014

  • County champs 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:

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Cook 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.
    During a special ceremony to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the local program, a permanent plaque was unveiled in his honor describing the contributions he has made to junior golf.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: John Cook here Monday for First Tee; other celebs on July 11

    THE RETURN of Tiger Woods to a PGA event sparked a lot of interest this past week. The return of John Cook to Buhl Farm Golf Course Monday will do the same locally.
    Cook, a standout on the Champions Tour and outstanding TV golf analyst, will conduct a clinic at 11 a.m. Monday at the course to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of The First Tee of Sharon program.
    It is open to the public at no charge.

    June 29, 2014

  • Tri-Athletes 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.
    Fifty student-athletes (grades 9-12) were cited for having competed in at least one sport in the fall, winter and spring while maintaining a minimum B (85 percent) grade-point-average during the first three 9-week grading periods of the  academic year.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Ex-Greenville man to enter Bedford County Hall

    HUGHEY TATE was the greatest baseball player that ever lived — hitting 10,000 home runs and never making an out in 50 years on the diamond.
    OK, that’s not true of course. But that’s the way Hughey would have told it before bursting into laughter.
    Tate, a Greenville man who was as good at spinning a yarn as well as he was in hitting home runs, will be inducted posthumously into the Bedford County (Pa.) Hall of Fame Saturday. Some of his relatives from this area will attend the ceremonies.

    June 22, 2014

Top 25 (AP Poll)
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Facebook