Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Richland foursome make college plans

Alexis Dona, Katie Gehlmann and Sarah Pfeil formed a key trio for Richland's highly successful girls basketball program the past four years. Next year, all three will play college basketball in different locations.

"Playing college ball together wasn't something we really talked about," Gehlmann said. "We all definitely wanted to play in college. Sarah and I played AAU together for PA Blue Thunder, but we won't be playing together in college."

Dona is headed to Mount Aloysius. Gehlmann will play at Waynesburg University. Pfeil will join the team at Pitt-Greensburg.

The trio announced their college intentions Wednesday along with track and field standout Derek Civis, who will high jump for St. Francis.

Four student-athletes from Richland High School announced college intentions on Wednesday. They are Alexis Dona (Mount Aloysius), Sarah Pfeil (Pitt-Greensburg), Katie Gehlmann (Waynesburg) and Derek Civis (St. Francis).

Johnstown looks to prolong run

Greater Johnstown's Jeremy Updyke singles to center field during the Trojans' 12-1 win over Obama Academy in Monday's first-round playoff game. Photo submitted by Jerry Updyke

Some scoffed when Greater Johnstown entered the District 6 Class AAA playoffs with a 6-12 record, but the Trojans didn't let that affect them during Monday's quarterfinal game against Obama Academy of District 8.

Greater Johnstown came away with a 12-2 victory to prolong the coaching career of Dee Dee Osborne, who plans to retire after 25 years with the team.

Grant Noon, a promising junior prospect, struck out 13 and pitched a five-hitter. Noon and Jeremy Updyke had three hits and three RBI apiece.

“The kids really played hard. Everybody contributed and we upset the No. 3 seed,” Johnstown coach Dee Dee Osborne told The Tribune-Democrat. “That tells you that we do belong here. It was a team effort, one of the best games I’ve seen these kids play. They were playing defense. They were hitting. All in all, I’m very happy.”

The Trojans play at second-seeded Huntingdon today.

Strasiser's monster season

Tony Strasiser was also a football standout for North Star.
North Star senior Tony Strasiser is putting together the type of baseball season that doesn't seem possible, even for diehard video gamers.

Heading into Wednesday's District 5 Class A quarterfinal against Conemaugh Township, Strasiser was batting .632 with a .720 on-base percentage. He had 36 hits and the same number of RBI, a ridiculous stat no matter the level of play. Strasiser had scored 40 runs, hit five home runs, four triples and seven doubles.

Walks and singles generally turn into doubles as Strasiser has 25 stolen bases.

The scary thing is Strasiser has been nearly effective on the mound, which has given undefeated North Star a dynamic 1-2-3 pitching punch with Brantley Rice and Shane Supanick, who picked up an impressive 2-0 win over Conemaugh Township as North Star (19-0) advanced to the D5 semifinals where they play McConnellsburg.

Strasiser is 5-0 in five pitching appearances with 40 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched. He's allowed six hits with a 1.05 ERA.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

District 5 baseball pairings

Class AA
Both games at 4:30 p.m.
No. 4 Chestnut Ridge at No. 1 Everett
No. 3 Northern Bedford at No. 2 Bedford
May 28
Site to be determined
Semifinals winners, 4:30 p.m.

Class A
All games at 4:30 p.m.
No. 8 Conemaugh Township at No. 1 North Star
No. 5 Shade at No. 4 Southern Fulton
No. 6 HOPE for Hyndman at No. 3 McConnellsburg
No. 7 Berlin at No. 2 Meyersdale
Both games at 4:30 p.m.
Conemaugh Township-North Star winner vs. Shade-Southern Fulton winner
HOPE for Hyndman-McConnellsburg winner vs. Berlin-Meyersdale winner
May 30
Site to be determined (possibly Somerset)
Semifinals winners, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

District 5 softball playoffs

Class AA
Thursday, May 23
No. 4 Bedford at No. 1 Chestnut Ridge, 4:30 p.m.
No. 3 Windber at No. 2 Everett, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 29
Site to be determined
Semifinal winners, 4:30 p.m.

Class A
First round
Wednesday, May 22
All games at 4:30 p.m.
No. 8 Meyersdale at No. 1 Shade
No. 5 HOPE for Hyndman at No. 4 Tussey Mountain
No. 7 Turkeyfoot at No. 2 Conemaugh Township
No. 6 Rockwood at No. 3 Fannett-Metal
Tuesday, May 28
Sites to be determined
Meyersdale-Shade winner vs. HOPE for Hyndman-Tussey Mountain winner, 4:30 p.m.
Turkeyfoot-Conemaugh Township winner vs. Rockwood-Fannett Metal winner, 4:30p.m.
Thursday, May 30
Semifinals winners, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Updated District 6 softball playoffs

Class AAA
Thursday, May 23
No. 4 Hollidaysburg at No. 1 Greater Johnstown, 4 p.m.
No. 3 Bellefonte at No. 2 Somerset, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May 29
at Penn State
Semifinal winner, TBD

Class AA
First round
Thursday, May 16
Philipsburg-Osceola 8, Bishop McCort 0
Mt. Union 4, Marion Center 3
Penns Valley 8, Central 2
Bellwood-Antis 3, Westmont Hilltop 1
Huntingdon 11, Blairsville 4
Richland 5, Cambria Heights 1
Ligonier Valley 7, Bald Eagle Area 5
Juniata 8, Penn Cambria  3
Monday, May 20
All games at 4 p.m.
Mount Union at Philipsburg-Osceola
Penns Valley at Bellwood-Antis
Huntingdon at Richland
Juniata at Ligonier Valley
Thursday, May 23
Quarterfinals winners
Wednesday, May 29
at Penn State
Semifinal winners, TBD

Class A
Monday, May 20
No. 8 Williamsburg at No. 1 Claysburg-Kimmel, 4 p.m.
No. 5 Bishop Carroll at No. 4 Ferndale, 4 p.m.
No. 6 Conemaugh Valley at No. 3 Portage, 4 p.m.
No. 7 West Branch at No. 2 Southern Huntingdon, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 23
Williamsburg-Claysburg Kimmel winner vs. Bishop Carroll-Ferndale winner
Conemaugh Valley-Portage winner vs. West Branch-Southern Huntingdon winner
Wednesday, May 29
at Penn State
Semifinal winners, TBD

Updated District 6 baseball brackets

Class AAAA
Thursday, May 23
No. 4 Altoona at No. 1 State College
No. 3 Central Mountain at No. 2 Mifflin County
Wednesday, May 29
at Blair County Ballpark
Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.

Class AAA
First round
Monday, May 20
Greater Johnstown 12, Obama Academy 2
Huntingdon 5, Bellefonte 4
Huntingdon at No. 1 Somerset, 4 p.m.
Greater Johnstown at No. 2 Hollidaysburg, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 30
at Blair County Ballpark
Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.

Class AA
First round
Cambria Heights 6, Marion Center 5
Bellwood-Antis 8, Tyrone 0
Central 10, Southern Huntingdon 0
Ligonier Valley 4, Northern Cambria 2
Mount Union 6, Penns Valley 5
Monday, May 20
All games at 4 p.m.
Blairsville 12, Cambria Heights 11
Central 11, Bellwood-Antis 2
Ligonier Valley 5, Richland 3
Mount Union 3, Bald Eagle 0
Thursday, May 23
Central at Blairsville, 4 p.m.
Mount Union at Ligonier Valley, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May 29
at Blair County Ballpark
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class A
First round
Thursday, May 16
Saltsburg 6, Bishop Carroll 5
Monday, May 20
Bishop McCort 10, Slatsburg 1
Portage 4, Homer-Center 3
Conemaugh Valley 3, Juniata Valley 0
Claysburg-Kimmel 1, Bishop Guilfoyle 0
Thursday, May 23
Portage at Bishop McCort, 4 p.m.
Conemaugh Valley at Claysburg Kimmel, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 30
at Blair County Ballpark
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top prep prospect Andrew Wiggins signs with Kansas

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – Top prep basketball prospect Andrew Wiggins told a small gathering of family and friends at his high school gym Tuesday that he will play at Kansas.
Then the Huntington Prep star signed his letter-of-intent and officially became a Jayhawk. No big speech. No bands, live TV coverage or props.
Just the way Wiggins wanted it.
And just like that, Lawrence, Kan., became more of a focal point for the upcoming college basketball season.
“I’m looking forward to getting there and just doing my thing,” Wiggins said.
The 6-foot-8 Toronto native chose Kansas over Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida State. Wiggins said there wasn’t one particular selling point, taking into account each school’s coaching staff, players and program.
“I just followed my heart,” he said.
He’ll join one of the top recruiting classes in the country.
“I really thought it was one of those long shots, at least when we first got involved,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “The more we hung around, the more we felt he liked us. There was (a) little bit of a connection.”
Despite the loss of Ben McLemore to the NBA draft, four of Kansas’ five recruits are considered to be in the top 50 nationally, including guards Conner Frankamp and Wayne Selden, forward Brannen Greene and center Joel Embiid.
Wiggins’ parents both attended Florida State, and the Seminoles had signed his Huntington Prep teammate and fellow Toronto native, Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
Wiggins’ father is former NBA first-round pick Mitchell Wiggins. His mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, was a Canadian Olympic sprinter and silver medalist. Older brother Nick plays guard at Wichita State and another brother, Mitchell Jr., plays at NAIA school Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla.
“Florida State was great for mom, it was great for dad,” Mitchell Wiggins said. But he recalled telling his son, “it’s your time. It’s not 20-30 years ago. And Florida State (would have been) a great choice.”
But the father said Kansas will “be a great fit. Hopefully Andrew stays humble, stays hungry. We’ll see how it plays out.”
Tuesday’s brief ceremony ended the frenzied pursuit of Wiggins, who averaged 23.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game this season.
Rather than turn his announcement into a spectacle, Wiggins wanted a private signing ceremony where he attends classes at St. Joseph’s Central Catholic High School in Huntington.
“I didn’t really want to open it up to the public,” he said. “I knew it would be jam packed in here. I wanted people who appreciated me and people I appreciate to be here watching me. I wanted a lot of people I knew.”
Initially rated as a 2014 prospect, Wiggins shot to the top of recruiting charts when he decided last October to reclassify into his original high school class of 2013. The four major recruiting services rated Wiggins as the No. 1 overall recruit.
Interest grew in recent weeks. As one fan put told Wiggins in a Twitter post, “You’re driving 4 schools and 4 fan bases absolutely insane.”
Wiggins had kept quiet on his intentions. He had yet to even make a verbal commitment and delayed his signing until almost the very end – Wednesday is the deadline for recruits to sign with NCAA Division I schools.
“This is the way I like it to be done – on my own time,” he said. “I’ve got a weight lifted off my shoulders. I can relax now.”
Self said Wiggins “did exactly what we said he was going to do. He told us he was going to take his time. He was going to process everything. So him taking his time wasn’t a shock. ... I thought it was a classy, cool way to do it, when kids are seeking more attention these days.”
Wiggins’ game did the talking. He has the ability to make shots from all angles and distances, blow past defenders to the basket and reach the rim at eye level. Wiggins was the recipient of this year’s Gatorade Boys National Basketball Player of the Year and Naismith Foundation national awards. He has been called the best prep prospect since LeBron James.
“I’m hearing the LeBron comparison and I saw LeBron play some high school, and I’m not sure that’s a fair comparison to anyone,” Self said. “But from a pure athletic ability, he (Wiggins) is one of the most pure athletes the college game has had for a while.”
Wiggins participated in several postseason all-star games, most recently playing for the World Select Team at the Nike Hoop Summit April 20 in Portland, Ore.
Wiggins cited fatigue from the Oregon trip for canceling scheduled visits from Self, North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton. Wiggins instead talked to them by phone. Kentucky coach John Calipari had visited Wiggins in Huntington on March 28.
“When he announced it, it wasn’t the one I thought he would pick,” said Wiggins’ high school coach, Rob Fulford, who felt the player would choose Florida State. “But I wasn’t surprised. All four have advantages over the others in some way.”
Wiggins said he planned to relax at home and train with his brothers and some friends during the next few months. Self said he’s not sure when Wiggins will arrive in Lawrence because of the possibility of Wiggins’ involvement in some Canadian national teams over the summer.

Monday, May 13, 2013

District 6 softball pairings

Class AAA
Thursday, May 23
No. 4 Hollidaysburg at No. 1 Greater Johnstown, 4 p.m.
No. 3 Bellefonte at No. 2 Somerset, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May 29
at Penn State
Semifinal winner, TBD

Class AA
First round
Thursday, May 16
No. 16 Bishop McCort at No. 1 Philipsburg-Osceola, 4 p.m.
No. 9 Mt. Union at No. 8 Marion Center, 8 p.m.
No. 13 Penns Valley at No. 4 Central, 4 p.m.
No. 12 Westmont Hilltop at No. 5 Bellwood-Antis, 4 p.m.
No. 14 Huntingdon at No. 3 Blairsville, 4 p.m.
No. 11 Cambria Heights at No. 6 Richland, 4 p.m.
No. 10 Ligonier Valley at No. 7 Bald Eagle Area, 4 p.m.
No. 15 Juniata at No. 2 Penn Cambria, 4 p.m.
Monday, May 20
Philipsburg Osceola-Bishop McCort winner vs. Marion Center-Mount Union winner
Central-Penns Valley winner vs. Bellwood Antis-Westmont Hilltop winner
Blairsville-Huntingdon winner vs. Richland-Cambria Heights winner
Bald Eagle Area-Ligonier Valley winner vs. Penn Cambria-Juniata winner
Thursday, May 23
Semifinals winners
Wednesday, May 29
at Penn State
Semifinal winners, TBD

Class A
Monday, May 20
No. 8 Williamsburg at No. 1 Claysburg-Kimmel, 4 p.m.
No. 5 Bishop Carroll at No. 4 Ferndale, 4 p.m.
No. 6 Conemaugh Valley at No. 6 Southern Huntingdon, 4 p.m.
No. 7 West Branch at No. 2 Portage, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 23
Williamsburg-Claysburg Kimmel winner vs. Bishop Carroll-Ferndale winner
Conemaugh Valley-Southern Huntingdon winner vs. West Branch-Portage winner
Wednesday, May 29
at Penn State
Semifinal winners, TBD

District 6 baseball pairings

Class AAAA
Thursday, May 23
No. 4 Altoona at No. 1 State College
No. 3 Central Mountain at No. 2 Mifflin County
Wednesday, May 29
at Blair County Ballpark
Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.

Class AAA
First round
Monday, May 20
No. 6 Greater Johnstown at No. 3 Obama Academy, 4 p.m.
No. 5 Huntingdon at No. 4 Bellefonte, 4 p.m.
Huntingdon-Bellefonte winner at No. 1 Somerset, 4 p.m.
Greater Johnstown-Obama Academy winner at No. 2 Hollidaysburg, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 30
at Blair County Ballpark
Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.

Class AA
First round
Thursday, May 16
No. 9 Marion Center at No. 8 Cambria Heights, 4 p.m.
No. 12 Tyrone at No. 5 Bellwood-Antis, 4 p.m.
No. 13 Southern Huntingdon at No. 4 Central, 4 p.m.
No. 11 Northern Cambria at No. 6 Ligonier Valley, 4 p.m.
No. 7 Mt. Union at No. 10 Penns Valley, 4 p.m.
Monday, May 20
Marion Center-Cambria Heights winner at No. 1 Blairsville, 4 p.m.
Tyrone-BA winner vs. Southern Huntingdon-Central winner, 4 p.m.
Ligonier-Northern Cambria winner at No. 3 Richland, 4 p.m.
Mt. Union-Penns Valley winner at No. 2 Bald Eagle, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 23
TBD, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May 29
at Blair County Ballpark
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class A
First round
Thursday, May 16
No. 9 Bishop Carroll at No. 8 Saltsburg, 4 p.m.
Monday, May 20
Bishop Carroll-Saltsburg winner at No. 1 Bishop McCort, 4 p.m.
No. 5 Portage at No. 4 Homer-Center, 4 p.m.
No. 6 Juniata Valley at No. 3 Conemaugh Valley, 4 p.m.
No. 7 Bishop Guilfoyle at No. 2 Claysburg-Kimmel, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 23
Carroll-Saltsburg-McCort winner vs. Homer Center-Portage winner, 4 p.m.
Juniata Valley-Conemaugh Valley winner vs. Bishop Guilfoyle-Claysburg Kimmel winner, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 30
at Blair County Ballpark
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tennis, anyone?

District championships are nothing new for the boys' tennis team at Westmont Hilltop.

The Hilltoppers recently won their third consecutive District 6 Class AA championship with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Juniata. For more on Westmont's three-peat, click here.

The Westmont Hilltop boys' tennis team won the District 6 Class AA championship on Thursday.

Westmont advances to the PIAA tournament, where the Hilltoppers play Eastern Lebanon County, the third-place team from District 3, on Tuesday at Leopold Recreation Center starting at 1:30 p.m.

They'll be joined in the bracket by a newcomer - Windber.

After seven second-place finishes, the Ramblers won the school's first District 5 tennis championship with a 5-0 victory over Bedford. For more on Windber's run, click here.

Windber plays perennial power Sewickley Academy on Tuesday at North Allegheny High School at 2:30 p.m. Sewickley Academy has won 10 consecutive WPIAL titles.

First-round winners advance to the PIAA quarterfinals Friday at Hershey Racquet Club.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Another look: Thomas Yewcic

Before Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson made the two-sport star relevant during a period of the 1980s and 90s, Cambria County had one of its own.

Conemaugh native Thomas Yewcic dominated the local sports scene before making a major impact at Michigan State in football and baseball.

Thomas Yewcic played football and baseball at Michigan State.
The namesake of the football stadium at Conemaugh Valley, Yewcic was named Most Outstanding Player of the 1954 College World Series, and the Spartans didn't even make the championship game. He went on to sign with the Detroit Tigers and made his major league debut on Jun 27, 1957.

His stay in the big leagues lasted all of one game. A catcher, Yewcic had one career at-bat and abandoned the sport in 1959.

Lucky for him, he was pretty good at football.

A 27th-round selection of the Boston Patriots in 1954, Yewcic eventually joined the team in 1961 and he struck around for six seasons. Yewcic was used as a punter, quarterback, flanker and running back.

He passed for 12 touchdowns and 1,374 yards and rushed for 424 yards and four touchdowns, but made his most significant impact as a punter and he made the Patriots' All-1960s team.

Yewcic also holds a distinction with all-time great Tom Brady. They are the only players in Patriots history to have thrown a touchdown pass, rushed for a touchdown, caught a touchdown and punted.

TVC returns

The Varsity Club has returned from a brief hiatus (or a beach vacation) and will begin posting again later today.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Leechburg leaving WPIAL. Next stop District 6?

Ligonier Valley, Northern Cambria and the rest of the Heritage Conference could have a new opponent for the 2014-15 school year.

The WPIAL Board of Control voted unanimously Wednesday to permit Leechburg Area School District to move its athletic programs from District 7 to District 6. The vote came after the Leechburg Area School Board voted 8-0 in March to request the move.

It appears the WPIAL has no desire to let Leechburg back, unless there are an odd number of teams in its classification.

"You just can't come and go as you please," WPIAL Executive Director Tim O'Malley told the Tribune-Review.

For Leechburg, a small Class A school located in Armstrong County and a small part of Westmoreland County, the move to District 6 is dependent on being accepted as a member. That's all but a formality considering they've previously been invited to join the Heritage Conference.

And that's exactly where the Blue Devils will land in the 2014-15 school year. The Heritage Conference is the only logical landing place considering its schools, such as Blairsville and Penns Manor, are relatively close to Leechburg.

One reason the school district want to make the moving is the growing number of private schools in the WPIAL. Whether or not that has affected Leechburg's ability to compete is debatable.

The football team hasn't had a winning season since 1991. The boys' basketball program generally struggles, though Leechburg did win a WPIAL Class A championship in 2006-07. It's the only WPIAL title for Leechburg, which has been a member of District 7 since 1919.

The girls' basketball team has lost 25 consecutive games.

One sport where Leechburg is generally competitive is softball. The Blue Devils regularly contend for district championships in the sport. Leechburg also sponsors boys' golf, girls' volleyball and baseball.

Friday, April 12, 2013

From Richland to UPJ

Four seniors from Richland High School are headed across the street to continue their soccer careers at Pitt-Johnstown.

Sabrina Wingard, who ranks fifth in Richland girls' soccer history in assists, will join her sister Savanna on the Lady Cats in the fall.

Cousins Bobby and Curt Colvin were both four-year starters at Richland. Bobby Colvin played midfield and led Richland with 27 goals. Curt Colvin was a defender. Joining them on the Mountain Cats will be Ismail Ahmad, who scored 22 goals this season.

For more on the four future UPJ soccer players, click here.

The following is a submitted photo from Thursday's signing ceremony. The players are (from left) Ismail Ahmad, Bobby Colvin, Sabrina Wingard and Curt Colvin.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State boys' teams

The 2012-13 Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Boys Basketball teams, including each player’s school, height, class and scoring average.
Shawn Anderson, New Castle, 6-3, sr., 20.2 ppg
Rondae Jefferson, Chester, 6-7, sr., 15.5 ppg
B.J. Johnson, Lower Merion, 6-7, sr., 16.5 ppg
Jahad Thomas, Williamsport, 6-2, sr., 18.0 ppg
Geno Thorpe, Shaler, 6-3, sr., 26.3 ppg
Stephen Vasturia, St. Joseph’s Prep, 6-5, sr., 20.5 ppg
Yohanny Dalembert, Lower Merion, 6-7, sr., 10.8 ppg
Shep Garner, Roman Catholic, 6-2, jr., 15.7 ppg
Miles Overton, St. Joseph’s Prep, 6-4, sr., 15.7 ppg
Cole Renninger, Central Mountain, sr., 27.2 ppg
Darius Robinson, Chester, 6-1, sr., 11.8 ppg
Isaiah Washington, Williamsport, 6-4, jr., 15.9 ppg
Sheldon Zablotny, Cathedral Prep, 6-0, sr., 19.1 ppg
Sal Biasi, Hazleton, 5-11, jr., 26.8 ppg
Richard Granberry, Chester, 6-7, sr., 12.3 ppg
Ryan Luther, Hampton, 6-7, jr., 21.1 ppg
Tavon Parker, York, 6-3, sr., 20.4 ppg
Devonne Pinkard, J.P. McCaskey, 6-6, sr., 18.1 ppg
Jahaad Proctor, Harrisburg, 6-2, so, 13.5 ppg
Amar Stukes, La Salle College, 6-1, sr., 19.6 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Rondae Jefferson, Chester
COACH OF THE YEAR: Gregg Downer, Lower Merion        

Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Allentown Central Catholic, 6-4, jr., 21.2 ppg  
Brandon Austin, Imhotep Charter, 6-7, sr.,, 17.0 ppg  
John Davis, Neumann-Goretti, 6-5, sr., 13.4 ppg  
Ja’Quan Newton, Neumann-Goretti, 6-3, jr., 18.4 ppg  
J.C. Show, Abington Heights, 6-2, jr., 19.0 ppg  
Devin Wilson, Montour, 6-4, sr., 16.9 ppg  
Jason Dietrich, Donegal, 6-3, sr., 15.3 ppg  
Martin Dietrich, Donegal, 6-3, sr., 15.4 ppg  
Nana Foulland, Berks Catholic, 6-9, jr., 14.0 ppg  
Derrick Jones, Archbishop Carroll, 6-6, so, 14.1 ppg  
Jaymon Mason, General McLane, 6-3, sr., 26.8 ppg  
Khalid Nwandu, Northeastern, 6-2, sr., 20.6 ppg  
Yosef Yacob, Archbishop Carroll, 6-0, sr., 13.0 ppg  
Spencer Casson, Chartiers Valley, 6-6, sr., 11.4 ppg  
Matt Husek, Bethlehem Catholic, 6-11, sr., 16.0 ppg  
Matt Knowles, Scranton Prep, 6-1, sr., 14.6 ppg  
Phillip Madison, Greater Johnstown, 5-9, sr., 20.3 ppg   
Basil Thompson, Imhotep Charter, 6-6, jr., 9.7 ppg  
Ernie Tyler, Shikellamy, 6-3, sr., 13.2 ppg  
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Brandon Austin, Imhotep Charter  
COACH OF THE YEAR: Ryan Butt, Donegal  

Drew Cook, Beaver Falls, 6-2, sr., 15.9 ppg  
Elijah Cottrill, Beaver Falls, 6-3, jr., 16.4 ppg  
Matthew Dogan, West Middlesex, 6-6, sr., 25.7 ppg  
Josh Kosin, Holy Cross, 6-7, sr., 19.6 ppg  
A.J. Leahey, Penn Cambria, 6-7, sr., 20.8 ppg  
Roger Wilson, Loyalsock, 6-5, sr., 15.0 ppg  
Dominick Antonelli, Trinity, 6-2, jr., 13.2 ppg   
Noah Davis, Bellwood-Antis, 6-6, sr., 22.1 ppg  
David Johnson, Communications Tech, 5-11, sr., 17.8 ppg  
Julian Moore, Germantown Academy, 6-9, sr., 14.5 ppg  
Rasheed Moore, Meyers, 6-6, sr., 16.5 ppg  
Brett Smith, Delone Catholic, 5-10, sr., 13.9 ppg  
Nemo Trexler, Bishop McCort, 6-4, jr., 18.8 ppg  
Travis Conrad, Lewisburg, 5-10, sr., 15.0 ppg  
Kyle Datres, Loyalsock, 5-10, soph., 9.9 ppg  
Jahyde Gardiner, Freire Charter, 6-5, jr., 18.2 ppg  
Jordan Jackson, Wellsboro, 5-11, sr., 14.0 ppg  
Nick Lorenz, East Juniata, 6-1, jr., 21.0 ppg   
Ronnie Tomasetti, Mid Valley, 6-4, sr., 13.3 ppg  
Josh Wise, Washington, 6-2, sr., 21.9 ppg  
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Josh Kosin, Holy Cross
COACH OF THE YEAR: Doug Biega, Beaver Falls  

Sammy Foreman, Vaux, 6-0, so, 12.2 ppg  
Ryan Fyock, Shade, 6-1, sr., 25.2 ppg  
Rysheed Jordan, Vaux, 6-4, sr., 24.8 ppg  
Elijah Minnie, Lincoln Park, 6-9, jr., 20.1 ppg  
Cole Peterson, Johnsonburg, 5-10, jr., 15.6 ppg  
Jeremiah Worthem, Math, Civics & Sciences, 6-7, sr., 15.7 ppg  
Aondofa Anyam, Church Farm, 5-10, jr., 12.2 ppg
Dalton Cesarz, Blacklick Valley, 6-1, sr., 25.7 ppg
Alize Johnson, St. John Neumann, 6-5, jr., 18.0 ppg
Britton Lee, Math, Civics & Sciences, 5-11, sr., 10.0 ppg
Maverick Rowan, Lincoln Park, 6-5, fr, 23.5 ppg
Danny Savulchak, North Catholic, 6-4, sr., 20.5 ppg
Wade Walker, Shade, 6-5, sr., 18.0 ppg
Cameron Grumley, Johnsonburg, 5-9, jr., 15.5 ppg
Brandon Martinazzi, Bishop Carroll, 5-9, soph., 17.8 ppg
Timmy Orr, Lebanon Catholic, 6-2, sr., 17.4 ppg
Zach Smith, Smethport, 6-4, sr., 22.3 ppg
Dache Talbert, Sankofa Freedom, 5-8 sr., 15.5 ppg  
Shafeek Taylor, Math, Civics & Sciences, 6-4, sr., 8.3 ppg  
Ryan Wolf, Vincentian, 5-9, so, 21.3 ppg  
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Rysheed Jordan, Vaux 
COACH OF THE YEAR: Bill Shuey, Johnsonburg  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State girls' basketball teams

The 2012-13 Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Girls Basketball teams, including each player’s school, height, class and scoring average.

Shanksville-Stonycreek's Kayla Stockenus
First team
Lauren Crisler, North Penn, 6-2, Sr., 15.3 ppg
Sarah Curran, Archbishop Carroll, 6-0, Sr., 15.1 ppg
Kaitlyn Eisenhard, Boyertown, 6-1, Sr., 15.7 ppg
Jackie Falconer, Cumberland Valley, 6-1, Sr., 15.7 ppg
Shanice Johnson, Cardinal O’Hara, 6-1, Sr., 11.9 ppg
Erin Mathias, Fox Chapel, 6-3, Jr., 17.1 ppg
Sammy Stipa, Spring-Ford, 5-5, Jr., 11.0 ppg
Isis Thorpe, Reading, 5-8, Sr., 19.4 ppg
Second team
Victoria Blackburn, Hershey, 5-7, Sr., 15.4 ppg
CaLee Gelbaugh, Central Dauphin East, 5-8, Jr., 18.8 ppg
Emily Gingrich, Gov. Mifflin, 5-8, Sr., 16.7 ppg
Alexis Hofstaedter, Council Rock South, 5-8, Sr., 15.0 ppg
Alex Louin, Mount St. Joseph, 5-11, Jr., 15.8 ppg
Megan Marecic, Bethel Park, 5-11, Jr., 15.8 ppg
Third team
Forest Hills' Casey Gallaher
Mia Farmer, Cardinal O’Hara, 5-9, Jr., 11.5 ppg
Morgan Griffith, Hollidaysburg, 6-0, Sr., 14.9 ppg
Alayah Hall, Dover, 5-7, Jr., 15.5 ppg
Darby Lee, Altoona, 6-0, Jr., 18.8 ppg
Avery Marz, Wilson, 5-7, Jr., 10.7 ppg
Shelby Mueller, Spring-Ford, 5-10, Jr., 10.7 ppg
Sarah Payonk, Spring-Ford, 5-11, Sr., 10.3 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Sarah Curran, Archbishop Carroll
COACH OF THE YEAR: Jeff Rinehimer, Spring-Ford

First team
Shelby Lindsay, South Park, 5-11, Sr., 17.8 ppg
Megan McGurk, Notre Dame de Namur, 5-7, Sr., 19.0 ppg
Chassidy Omogrosso, Blackhawk, 5-5, So., 22.4 ppg
Porscha Speller, Lancaster Catholic, 5-8, Sr., 18.6 ppg
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Hopewell, 5-11, Sr., 28.3 ppg
Kalista Walters, Bethlehem Catholic, 6-0, So., 19.4 ppg
Second team
Gia DeAngelo, Sun Valley, 5-8, Sr., 21.5 ppg
Mia Hopkins, Pittston Area, 6-0, Sr., 18.0 ppg
Karlee McBride, Erie Villa Maria, 5-10, Sr., 13.9 ppg
Lisa Mirarchi, Malvern Villa Maria, 5-8, Sr., 15.0 ppg
Alyssa Monaghan, Bonner-Prendergast, 5-5, So., 18.3 ppg
Angelina Starr, Franklin, 5-9, Jr., 16.9 ppg
Third team
Camden Boehner, Gettysburg, 5-7, Jr., 20.8 ppg
Tricia Byrne, Scranton Prep, 5-6, Jr., 15.6 ppg
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Notre Dame de Namur, 5-8, Sr., 17.4 ppg
Casey Gallaher, Forest Hills, 5-3, Sr., 18.9 ppg
Ciera Nimmons, Prep Charter, 5-8, Jr., 14.2 ppg
Carly Richardson, Palmyra, 5-11, Jr., 15.4 ppg
Rebecca Rutkowski, Crestwood, 6-1, Jr., 16.6 ppg
Jessica Slagus, Belle Vernon, 6-0, Sr., 19.8 ppg
Sara Tarbert, Kennard-Dale, 5-11, Sr., 24.2 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Hopewell
COACH OF THE YEAR: Reggie Wells, South Park

First team
Becky Evans, Pine Grove, 5-4, Jr., 19.0 ppg
Naje Gibson, Seton-La Salle, 6-0, Jr., 13.5 ppg
Ciara Gregory, Jeannette, 5-7, Sr., G, 30.4 ppg
Morgan Klunk, York Catholic, 5-11, Sr., 17.1 ppg
Megan Quinn, Episcopal, 6-2, Sr., 18.5 ppg
Erin Waskowiak, Bishop Canevin, 5-11, Sr., 15.6 ppg
Second team
Alex Artise, North East,  5-9, sr., 16.0 ppg
Carly Forse, Bishop Canevin, 5-10, Sr., 13.8 ppg
Kiernan McCloskey, Germantown Academy, 6-1, Sr., 15.1 ppg
Reighly Melochick, Minersville, 5-9, Jr., 19.7 ppg
Sammie Weiss, McGuffey, 5-10, So., 26.6 ppg
Third team
Brooke Hinderliter, Redbank Valley, 5-6, Fr., 20.4 ppg
Lori Horton, Williamson, 6-5, Jr., 16.6 ppg
Mackenzie Livingston, Blairsville, 5-7, Sr., 19.9 ppg
Stacey MacArthur, Delco Christian, 5-5, Sr., 12.5 ppg
Emily Merryman, Cranberry, 5-5, Jr., 22.3 ppg
Christina Perles, Mount Carmel, 5-10, Sr., 17.4 ppg
McKenzie Popatak, Sharpsville, 5-9, Sr., 21.8 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Megan Quinn, Episcopal
COACH OF THE YEAR: Tim Joyce, Bishop Canevin

First team
Halee Adams, Bishop Guilfoyle, 5-8, Sr., 16.1 ppg
Tara Nahodil, Tri-Valley, 6-4, Sr., 18.5 ppg
Alex Ricketts, Kennedy Catholic, 5-11, Sr., 17.5 ppg
Malia Tate-DeFreitas, Steelton-Highspire, 5-8, Sr., 34.8 ppg
Juli Weber, Tri-Valley, 5-7, Sr., 14.8 ppg
Brenna Wise, Vincentian, 6-1, So., F, 22.3 ppg
Second team
Macey Hollenshead, Southern Fulton, 5-7, Jr., 17.2 ppg
Justine Seely, Benton, 6-2, Sr., 27.9 ppg
Kayla Stockenus, Shanksville-Stonycreek, 5-6, Sr., 31.0 ppg
Meghan Trenholm, St. John Neuman,, Jr., 18.9 ppg
Mariah Ward, Monessen, 5-7., Sr., 18.4 ppg
Lauren Wolosik, North Catholic, 5-10, Sr., 26.0 ppg
Third team
Tamesha “Sox” Alexander, Shipley, 5-6, Jr., 13.5 ppg
Kayla Bates, Bishop Guilfoyle, 5-8, Sr., 10.2  ppg
Morgan Berardi, Carmichaels, 5-6, Sr., 17.3  ppg
Maria Morgan, Bucktail, 5-6, So., 28.3 ppg
Lauren Carey, Old Forge, 5-7, Jr., 13.8 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Malia Tate-DeFreitas, Steelton-Highspire
COACH OF THE YEAR: Bob Felty, Tri-Valley

Monday, March 25, 2013

The South girls' All-Stars

There have been three girls' basketball players from The Tribune-Democrat coverage area to score 2,000 career points. One of them - Shanksville-Stonycreek senior Kayla Stockenus - will play in Saturday's AmeriServ Senior Hoops Showcase as part of the South roster.

Stockenus is one of several standouts for the South, which will be coached by Berlin Brothersvalley's Rachel Prosser. Under Prosser's guidance, the Mountaineers defeated Portage in the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs and held a lead late in the fourth quarter against eventual PIAA runner-up Vincentian Academy in the second round.

The scene at Pitt-Johnstown's Sports Center won't be nearly as intense as the state playoffs. Still, the South roster is filled with players who experienced the thrills of the PIAA tournament.

Coach: Rachel Prosser, Berlin
A perennial contender in District 5 and frequent quest of the PIAA Class A playoffs, Berlin finished 23-5 with only one senior receiving significant minutes.

Players (in alphabetical order)
Carly Baer, Conemaugh Township
Multi-faceted senior averaged 7.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

Lyndy Baer, Conemaugh Township
The Indians reached the second round of the PIAA Class A playoffs behind a balanced attack. Baer, a 1,000-point scorer, averaged 11.8 points, 4.7 assists and made 52 3-pointers.

Elizabeth Chobany, Ferndale
The Yellow Jackets struggled in the win column, but Chobany was a bright spot. Chobany averaged 15.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.9 steals.

Alexis Jo Dona, Richland
Injuries shortened a promising senior season, but she averaged 6.6 points in limited duty.

Katie Gehlmann, Richland
Gehlmann averaged 12.7 points, 5.0 assists and made 32 3-pointers.

Maddy Grimm, Ligonier Valley
It's tough finding a player from District 6 with better numbers than the Kent State softball signee. Grimm averaged team highs in points (13.1), rebounds (6.8), steals (5.9), blocks (2.1) and assists (5.4).

Stephanie Hrbal, Bishop McCort
Hrbal ranked second on team in scoring (8.3) and averaged 3.0 rebounds.

Sarah Pfeil, Richland
Pfeil averaged a team-high 14.1 points with 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.

Marah Riley, Berlin
The lone senior in the Mountaineers' starting lineup, Riley could run the offense and get to the basket.

Kelsey Smith, Conemaugh Township
A combo guard/forward, Smith averaged 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

Kayla Stockenus, Shanksville-Stonycreek
Stockenus averaged 31.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.4 steals and made 172 free throws.

The North girls' All-Stars

All-Star basketball teams often feature a collection of scorers, nothing but a group of shooting guards and small forwards that look to shoot the basketball with incredible frequency. It can often lead to boring basketball.

The group comprising the North girls' roster for Saturday's AmeriServ Senior Hoops Classic, which tips off at 1 p.m. at the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center, is much more than a collection of offensive standouts. It resembles an actual basketball team.

Sure, the North features some of the area's premier scorers, but there are players who rebounded, ran the point and dug down defensively. Another positive for Portage coach Lance Hudak, who guided the Mustangs to one of its best seasons and will lead the North roster, is every player came from a playoff team. Several of those players came from teams that accomplished more than expected in the postseason.

Coach: Lance Hudak, Portage
The Mustangs finished 22-4 and won their first WestPAC championship with a hard-fought overtime victory against Berlin. Portage was the District 6 Class A runner-up and qualified for the PIAA playoffs.

Players (in alphabetical order)
Katie Bracken, Central Cambria
Red Devils' post presence averaged 8.8 points and a team-best 9.1 rebounds.

Jamie Cekada, Conemaugh Valley
Blue Jays point guard did a little bit of everything as she averaged 7.1 points, 4.9 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 steals.

Casey Gallaher, Forest Hills
Gallaher aggravated an injury in the final game of the season and won't be able to play but plans to attend game. She scored 1,500 career points.

Lexi Hody, Conemaugh Valley
Ranked second on team with 10.1 scoring average.

Taylor King-Brothers, Central Cambria
King-Brothers recently signed with St. Francis track, but she's also a basketball standout who averaged 8.8 points and 3.2 steals.

Paige Lamberson, Westmont Hilltop
Three-point shooting specialist averaged 11.9 points and made 65 3-pointers.

Heather Marsh, Blacklick Valley
Stat-sheet filler averaged 11.0 rebounds and team-high 11.1 rebounds.

Emily McCabe, Portage
Key role player for Mustangs averaged 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds.

Bri Mulhern, Penn Cambria
Another sharpshooter, Mulhern averaged 11.7 points and made 47 3-pointers.

Candice Ramus, Portage
One of the area's premier shooters in rifle, Ramus was a rare multi-sport winter sports athlete.

Erin Rodgers, Westmont Hilltop
One of area's most complete players averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 4.0 steals.

Marlee Zubek, Forest Hills
Key figure for District 6 Class AAA champs averaged 8.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists while leading team with 30 3-pointers.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The South boys' All-Stars

The basketball season was a solid team for Somerset County teams. Conemaugh Township and Shade won district championships and state playoff games. In the case of the Indians, they advanced all the way to the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.

It's no coincidence that those two schools comprise seven of the 12 players on the South roster for the AmeriServ Senior Hoops Showcase, which begins March 30 at 1 p.m. at the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center.

Coach: Scott Close, Somerset
Close has steadily turned the Golden Eagles from a struggling program into a high-scoring, quick-shooting outfit capable of beating any team in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference. Somerset reached the District 6 Class AAA championship game this season.

Brent Barron, Somerset
Barron averaged a team-high 17.1 points and 6.1 rebounds.

Dillon Boyer, Conemaugh Township
The leader of the Indians' balanced offense, Boyer averaged 14.3 points and was a 1,000-point scorer.

Josh Burns, Conemaugh Township
High-percentage shooter averaged 11.4 points and 2.7 steals.

Jake Close, Somerset
The future basketball player at Juniata College averaged 15.8 points and made 78 3-pointers.

Chad Eisenhuth, Ferndale
A 1,000-point scorer, Eisenhuth averaged 21.1 points as a senior.

Jeff Fisher, Conemaugh Township
Football standout averaged 12.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 steals.

Ryan Fyock, Shade
A gifted, creative offensive player, Fyock averaged 25.2 points and 5.7 rebounds.

Brock Medva, Shade
The football standout made plenty of big plays for the Panthers. He averaged 10.1 points and 2.4 steals.

Luke Shertzer, Richland
One of the area's premier defensive backs during football season, Shertzer's fine senior year continued in basketball as he averaged 10.7 points and 4.3 rebounds.

Carter Slade, Shanksville
The Vikings' clutch senior averaged 15.7 points and 7.8 rebounds.

Jeremy Sotosky, Conemaugh Township
CT's inside presence averaged 10.9 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Wade Walker, Shade
An athletic gamechanger, Walker averaged 18.0 points and 13.1 rebounds.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The North Boys' All-Stars

The AmeriServ Senior Hoops Showcase, which is hosted by The Tribune-Democrat, takes place March 30 with a girls' and boys' game beginning at 1 p.m. at the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center.

What makes this event unique is that every player selected comes from a school inside The T-D coverage area.

And this year's showcase is shaping up to be a memorable one as the majority of the area's top players have confirmed their intentions to participate.

Over the next few days, rosters for the teams will be released - starting with the North Boys.

Coach: Dan Weber, Northern Cambria
Weber guided the Colts to four consecutive PIAA playoff appearances and the program's first two victories in the state playoffs since 1965. The Colts played in the District 6 Class AA championship game one year after winning the Class A crown.

Players (in alphabetical order)
Mack Behe, Penn Cambria
Two-time All-State linebacker averaged 8.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists.

Josh Bonatesta, Northern Cambria
Future baseball player at Mt. Aloysius averaged 12.4 points.

Dalton Cesarz, Blacklick Valley
Leading rebounder in Vikings history averaged 25.7 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.0 steals, 2.6 blocks.

Roshon Fields, Greater Johnstown
Averaged 11.1 points, double-digit rebounds.

A.J. Leahey, Penn Cambria
UPJ signee averaged 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists for District 6 Class AA champs.

Phillip Madison, Greater Johnstown
Averaged 20.3 points, topped 1,000 career points during postseason.

Adam Polites, Northern Cambria
Averaged 20.1 points, topped 1,000 career points.

Scott Ranck, Bishop Carroll
Huskies' on-floor leader averaged 13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.5 steals.

Nick Roberts, Conemaugh Valley
Averaged 16.2 points, 13.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 2.0 steals.

Johnny Sheesley, Blacklick Valley
PA High School Heisman winner topped 1,000 career points, averaged 17.7 points, 3.0 steals.

Isaac Vescovi, Cambria Heights
One of four people in family to score 1,000 points at CH, Vescovi averaged 21.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 blocks.

Mike Vliet, Westmont Hilltop
Averaged 16.1 points, 5.4 rebounds.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Berlin built for the future

Considering how Berlin lost its PIAA Class A second-round playoff game versus Vincentian Academt Wednesday at Hempfield High School, it's easy to understand why the Mountaineers took the loss so hard.

Berlin pushed Vincentian, which entered the game with one loss and not many close calls through 27 games, to the limit. The Mountaineers even led the heavily favored Royals with four minutes remaining.

It ended with a 44-42 loss when Vincentian's Academy Abbey Bartoszewicz putback her own missed layup as time expired. The Mountaineers twice rallied from double-digit deficits, held Royals standout Brenna Wise without a field goal in the second half and Vincentian to just 12 second-half points.

"All the hard work these girls put in, I couldn't be more proud," Mountaineers coach Rachel Prosser said as she held back her emotions in the aftermath of the heartbreaking loss.

Berlin should also be excited for the future.

Marah Riley was the lone senior starter. Jordan Eutsey was also a senior, but she lost her last two seasons to two different knee injuries.

Back will be Shelby Coughenour, arguably the Mountaineers' best player. Erica Craig, who defended Wise exceptionally in the second half, will return. So will point guard Gina Trulick and Aleesa Fieg, who made all eight of her free-throw attempts to lead Berlin with 10 points against Vincentian.

Considering how well Berlin played in the state playoffs and a difficult District 5 Class A bracket, there's reason to believe Berlin can better this year's 23-5 record.

"They should take a lot of confidence from this. They played their hearts out. They did what they needed to do to win against one of the top programs in the state," Prosser said. "This should want to make them get better. They were one turnover away from winning this game. We have room to improve. That's the good thing."

Sorry bout that

My apologies for abondoning the live blog from Wednesday's PIAA girls' basketball playoff doubleheader involving Berlin and Forest Hills.

There were technical issues and I was not able to stay online long enough to continue updating the blog.

Hopefully, this gets worked out for future live blogs as it seems to be a popular feature.

As always, thank you for reading The Varsity Club.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Live blog: Berlin vs. Vincentian Academy; Forest Hills vs. Blackhawk (girls basketball)

Judging by the pregame dance of Vincentian's Kayla Key, she averages 25.

Then, she comes out and scores the game's first basket on a layup. 2-0 Vincentian.

6:09 p.m. - Not overly impressed with Vincentian at this point, but the Royals are playing defense. Lead 11-3. Berlin has seven turnovers and hit first field goal at 3:10 left in the first.

6:14 p.m. - Berlin outworking VA right now, on an 8-2 run to pull within 13-9 with 58.3 left in first.

6:17 p.m. - Berlin ends first quarter on 11-0 run capped by a Gine Trulick layup to lead, 14-13. Mountaineers have forced 11 turnovers.


6:21 p.m. -Starting to think Berlin will be pretty good next year.

6:22 p.m. - From a fundamental standpoint, Berlin doing a lot of things right. Not dribbling much against the press. Attacking from middle. Nice basketball.

6:25 p.m. - With Brenna Wise back in, Vincentian responds with 10-0 run. Wise has five points during stretch including a putback of her own missed free throw. Royals led 25-16.

6:42 p.m. -Booted off the Internet for a few. Two things changed in the second quarter: 1. Brenna Wise re-entered the game for the Royals and took over. She's got 15 points and 10 rebounds already. 2. The Royals cut down significantly on their turnovers.

6:50 p.m. - Having significant issues with equipment and signals.

6:52 p.m. - Not much happening in third. Vincentian leads 36-26 with 2:38 remaining.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Somerset County strut

A time once existed, not all that long ago, when the winter sports season was what separated football season from baseball season in Somerset County.

Sure, wrestling had a fervent following, and the slopes at Seven Springs and Hidden Valley were packed with locals weather permitting, but when it came to basketball, Somerset County wasn't exactly a hot spot.

OK, to be honest, with the exception of Windber's rich tradition and of a decent team every five years or so outside of Windber, it pretty much stunk when compared to the rest of Pennsylvania.

Hard to believe, but there was one brief period when Somerset County produced a small handful of highly successful teams.

In 1975, Rockwood lost to Darby in the PIAA Class A championship. In 1977, Shanksville-Stonycreek lost to Elk Lake in the Class A title game. In 1979, Conemaugh Township - with future Super Bowl winning quarterback Jeff Hostetler - lost to Pius X in the Class A championship.

Five years, three championship game appearances for Somerset County teams.

The trend of going one-and-done in the PIAA playoffs appears to be reversing for basketball teams from Somerset County, though not many have noticed.

"District 5 has repped itself the last five to six years," Shade boys' basketball coach Wade Fyock said after his Panthers dismantled WPIAL power North Catholic in the first round of  the PIAA Class A playoffs Friday night. "If you look at the record, we've had some success in the tournament and some success against District 7."

Fyock is particularly correct this year as teams from Somerset County went 4-1 in the first round of states. Count Conemaugh Township's victory in the play-in round of the PIAA Class AA boys' bracket and that record moves to 5-1.

The Conemaugh Township boys have defeated teams from District 8 and District 7 so far. Against Brentwood in the first round, the Indians put together a 15-3 first-half run.

"That was probably the bunch that early in the game that gave us some confidence," CT coach Chuck Lesko said. "We're a little unfamiliar with District 7 even though we played Beaver Falls last year. We know that they have strong competition."

Shade has won three PIAA playoff games since Fyock took over the program. The Conemaugh Township girls have advanced in the state tournament a second-consecutive season. Berlin just won its first PIAA game since Rachel Prosser became coach.

The results indicate District 5 is improving Who knows? Maybe the district's basketball image will start to change as well.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

PIAA basketball second round

Fourteen teams from The Tribune-Democrat coverage area entered the PIAA boys' and girls' basketball playoffs.

A whopping nine remain.

The following are the sites and times for the second-round contests involving local teams.

Tuesday, March 11
High School Boys
PIAA Tournament
Class A – Second Round
At Hempfield
Vincentian Academy vs. Bishop Carroll, 5 p.m.
At Bald Eagle Area
Shade vs. Johnsonburg, 7 p.m.
Class AAA – Second Round
At Hempfield
Greater Johnstown vs. Chartiers Valley, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, March 12
High School Boys
PIAA Tournament
Class AA – Second Round
At Richland
Conemaugh Township vs. Northern Cambria, 7 p.m.
At Clarion University
Bishop McCort vs. West Middlesex, 7:30 p.m.
High School Girls
PIAA Tournament
Class A – Second Round
At Hempfield
Vincentian Academy vs. Berlin Brothersvalley, 6 p.m.
At Indiana
Conemaugh Township vs. Clarion Area, 6 p.m.
Class AAA – Second Round
At Hempfield
Forest Hills vs. Blackhawk, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Oklahoma player scores wrong-basket buzzer-beater

YUKON, Okla. – With a one-point lead, 2.9 seconds to play and possession of the ball, all Hugo High School had to do was inbound the basketball and run out the clock to advance in the Oklahoma state boys’ basketball tournament.
But what followed stunned everyone.
Hugo guard Trey Johnson got confused after he received the inbounds pass and laid the ball into the wrong basket just before time expired, giving the opposing team, Millwood High, a 38-37 win Thursday night and a place in the Class 3A semifinals.
“When I saw the kid going that way, I was like, ‘No, he’s not. No, he’s not ... Oh, yes he is,”’ Millwood assistant coach David Samilton told The Oklahoman ( ). “I couldn’t believe it.”
Johnson needed only to dribble away the remaining seconds to wrap up a victory for Hugo. Instead, he got turned around and dropped in a most bizarre buzzer-beater, Hugo coach Darnell Shanklin told The Associated Press on Friday.
Hugo’s celebrating fans went silent, and Millwood fans broke out in celebration after a moment of silence for reassurance that the points – and the win – were theirs.
“Without a doubt, that’s the toughest locker room I’ve ever had to talk to,” Shanklin said.
Johnson was tough to console, Shanklin said, adding that other players on the team called and texted him on Friday.
“The kid feels terrible. It’s still a game, regardless of what anyone says, basketball is still a game,” Shanklin said.
With the win, Millwood advances to a semifinal matchup against two-time defending state champ, Centennial High.
“I feel sorry for him,” Samilton said. “I really do feel sorry for him. But hey, I’ll take it.”

Live blog: Shade vs. North Catholic (PIAA Class A boys)

Time for something different at The Varsity Club - a live blog from tonight's PIAA Class A boys' basketball game between District 5 champion Shade and North Catholic, the third-place team from the WPIAL.

Shade brings a 25-1 record into the game. The Panthers' lone loss came against Shanksville-Stonycreek on a last-second shot by Carter Slade. Shade played the game without leading scorer Ryan Fyock, who averages 25.5 points per game. Wade Walker averages a double-double (17.8 points, 13.0 rebounds).

North Catholic played in Class AA for some time before recently dropping to Class A. The Trojans reached the PIAA Class AA championship game in 2009. Despite the drop, North Catholic (16-6) is no stranger to playing large-school teams. Among the Trojans' nonsection games this season were North Allegheny and Hampton.

7:04 p.m. - Gotta love the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center for PIAA basketball. Always loud. Always people hanging over the railing.

Lots of Shade fans rolling in and there's plenty of North Catholic representation.

In girls' Class AA, Mohawk leading Everett 46-39 with 2:54 remaining.

7:19 p.m. -Chalk another one up for the WPIAL over District 5 ... Mohawk 52, Everett 44. D5 produces its share of good teams. The problem is those teams don't get to play enough quality competition.

7:24 p.m. - Ball dropped here at the UPJ Sports Center. Music menu shifts from Motley Crue to Black Eyed Peas.

7:36 p.m. - Both Shade and North Catholic are on the court. Why is there 30 minutes between games?

7:49 p.m. - There's a quiet intensity amongst the Shade players. Senior guard Brock Medva has been locked in for the last 25 minutes and the game hasn't started.

7:59 p.m. - Four baskets, four layups for Shade. Panthers looking quick and determined to get to basket. Leading 8-3 with 5:12 left in first.

8:03 p.m. - Knew Shade was athletic. What's impressive is their speed and strength. Six baskets, six layups. 12-7.

8:08 p.m. - Three consecutive 3-pointers (two from Nash Walker) gives Shade a 23-9 lead after one quarter. Walker is considered one of the area's top defensive players. He's looking good on offense with 10 early points.

8:14 p.m. - Wade Walker is a matchup nightmare. He's been Shade's primary ball handler for most of the game and when he gets the ball on the wing in a one-on-one matchup, he's gotten a layup every time.

8:26 p.m. - As far as I know, I have yet to call North Catholic "Northern Cambria" and on my ride up the Expressway I thought for certain I would.

8:31 p.m. - It's halftime and Shade leads, 37-18. Other than a mini 6-2 burst in the second quarter, North Catholic hasn't shown much. Plus they haven't figured out how to matchup with the Walker brothers. Shade looking like its going to be one tough out in the tournment.

Halftime stats: Wade Walker 11 points, nine rebounds; Nash Walker 12 points; Ryan Fyock 9 points.

8:50 p.m. - Apologies for the technical issues. We're back up for now.

Shade opened the third on a 10-0 as NC missed its first six shots. The Panthers are quicker, stronger and simply better.

8:52 p.m. - Only flaw to be found in Shade's game tonight is occasionally the Panthers force things offensively. Could be first game jitters or adrenaline from running away with this game.

9:03 p.m. - Thinking ahead, Shade vs. Johnsonburg could be an epic matchup. Johnsonburg beat North Catholic by double digits in the season opener.

Monday, March 4, 2013

New Rochelle buzzer beater

Nothing makes for a better video than a buzzer beater, and one would be hard pressed to find one more dramatic than this one.

I haven't covered too many buzzer-beaters in my time (one was Ronald Ramon from the corner as Pitt beat WVU at the Pete), but one that stands out came during my 1997 internship with The Tribune-Democrat. Richland was an underdog against Blairsville in the District 6 playoffs. The Bobcats were loaded and led by point guard Lawrence Westbrook, who drew considerable Division I attention.

Well, Richland was the team that advanced on a last-second layup. Off the top of my head, can't remember the guy who hit the shot. Think the last name was Lohr.

Would love to hear your favorite buzzer beaters.

Area PIAA basketball games

Class AA
Conemaugh Township (22-3) vs. Westinghouse (14-10), 7 p.m. at Somerset
First round
Class AAA
Greater Johnstown (15-7) vs. Lancaster Catholic (18-9), 6:30 p.m. at Central Cambria
Class A
Bishop Carroll (21-5) vs. Shanksville (21-4), 8 p.m. at Central Cambria
Shade (25-1) vs. North Catholic (16-6), 7:30 at Pitt-Johnstown
Class AA
First round
Penn Cambria (20-4) vs. Greensburg Central Catholic (22-2), 4 p.m. at Altoona
Northern Cambria (21-5) vs. Apollo-Ridge (18-8), 7 p.m. at Central Cambria
Bishop McCort (18-8) vs. Burrell (19-7), 4:30 p.m. at Gateway
* Conemaugh Township (22-3) vs. Brentwood (14-10), 7:30 p.m. at Pitt-Johnstown

* - Site and time for Conemaugh Township if victorious in Tuesday's play-in game.

Class AA
First round
Westmont Hilltop (21-5) vs. Bishop Canevin (22-4), 6 p.m. at North Hills
Class AAA
First round
Forest Hills (19-4) vs. Hampton (18-6), 5:30 p.m. at Central Cambria
Ligonier Valley (16-7) vs. Franklin (24-1), 4:30 p.m. at Slippery Rock University
Class A
Portage (22-3) vs. Berlin (22-4), 4 p.m. at Central Cambria
Conemaugh Township (21-4) vs. Quigley Catholic (18-6), 5:30 p.m. at Pitt-Johnstown

Thursday, February 21, 2013

District 5 Class A playoffs preview

Top seeds: 1. Shade (22-1), 2. Shanksville-Stonycreek (19-3), 3. HOPE for Hyndman (16-6), 4. Berlin Brothersvalley (14-8).
Defending champion: Shade
Players to watch: Ryan Fyock, Wade Walker (Shade), Carter Slade, Jordan Wilt (Shanksville), Jacob Snyder, Drew Glotfelty (Berlin)
The skinny: Shade is the favorite, though Shanksville is the lone team to beat the Panthers. No team in the bracket can match Shade's firepower and defensive mindset. ... The Vikings are an intriguing team. They've played some good teams tough and won at Shade. ... Berlin, like Shanksville, kept things close with some of the better small-school teams in the area.
Sleeper: Berlin
Championship: Shade over Shanksville.

Top seeds: 1. Southern Fulton (19-1), 2. Berlin (20-3), 3. Conemaugh Township (18-4), 4. Northern Bedford (16-6).
Defending champion: Southern Fulton
Players to watch: Kayla Luprek, Lyndy Baer (Conemaugh Township), Leah Hershberger, Cierra Cottle (Northern Bedford), Abigahl Stahl (Meyersdale), Emma Spinelli (Shade).
The skinny: Conemaugh Township is the defending Class AA champion and is arguably in a tougher bracket this season. ... Top-seeded Southern Fulton beat Berlin by 15 points early in the season. ... The Mountaineers' last game was an overtime loss to Portage in the WestPAC championship.... The Red Raiders recently concluded one of its better regular season in some time. ... Only a freshman, Spinelli is averaging 19.2 points per game.
Sleeper: Conemaugh Township.
Championship: Southern Fulton over Conemaugh Township.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

District 5 Class AA playoffs preview

Top seeds: 1. Conemaugh Township (20-3), 2. Northern Bedford (18-5), 3. Chestnut Ridge (17-5), 4. Tussey Mountain (15-7).
Defending champion: Conemaugh Township
Players to watch: Dillon Boyer, Jeff Fisher (Conemaugh Township), Ben Pick, Beau Bosch (Chestnut Ridge), Colt Ursino, Tyler Zabrucky (Windber), Tayler Pressel, Blake Over (Northern Bedford), Eric Husick, Luke Zelanko (Tussey Mountain).
The skinny: The Indians had a 19-game win streak snapped when Shade showed its top form in the WestPAC championship games. CT boasts a balanced offense with four players averaging double figures in scoring. ... Ridge's Bosch is as good an athlete as one can find in District 5, and the Lions are capable of beating playoff-caliber competition. ... The Ramblers (8-14) are the sixth, and final, seed in the bracket. ... Northern Bedford, like Conemaugh Township, has four players averaging in double figures scoring. The Panthers, however, have lost two of three games entering the tournament. ... The Titans have won five consecutive games. One of those wins came against Chestnut Ridge. ... Southern Fulton is also on a five-game win streak.
Sleeper: Tussey Mountain
Championship: Conemaugh Township over Northern Bedford.

Top seeds: 1. Everett (16-6), 2. Tussey Mountain (16-6), 3. North Star (7-15), 4. Windber (12-10).
Defending champion: Conemaugh Township
Players to watch: Aubrea Phipps, Kadie Morral (Everett), Courtney Rupert, Olivia Claycomb (Tussey Mountain), Courtney Schrock, Olivia Zuchelli (North Star), Kaitlyn Weaver, Kortney Lampel (Windber).
The skinny: Everett's Morral is only a freshman but is averaging more rebounds (12.9) than points (11.1). ... Todd Gates' Titans average 15.5 steals per game and boast wins over Richland and Westmont Hilltop. ... Several of the Cougars' top players are freshman. North Star does not have a senior. ... Windber hasn't played in two weeks, which could slow the momentum the Ramblers created at the end of the regular season. With a roster equally as youthful as North Star's, Windber enters the postseason on a three-game win streak.
Sleeper: Windber
Championship: Tussey Mountain over Everett.

Monday, February 18, 2013

T-D girls' basketball rankings

1. Forest Hills 17-4
Rangers earned top seed in District 6 Class AAA playoffs.
2. Portage 20-2
WestPAC champs avenged previous loss to Berlin Brothersvalley in title game.

3. Westmont Hilltop 19-4
Hilltoppers struggled vs. Bishop Guilfoyle in LHAC title game. Of course, every team struggles against BG.

4. Berlin Brothersvalley 20-3
Rachel Prosser's squad had a 19-game win streak snapped against Portage.

5. Richland 17-5
Winners of four straight, Richland opens postseason play tonight against Central Cambria.

6. Ligonier Valley 15-6
Class AAA Rams haven't been able to solve Blairsville, the top seed in Class AA.

7. Conemaugh Township 18-4
Indians play Shade for first time this season in opening round of District 5 Class A playoffs.

8. Conemaugh Valley 16-6
Balanced Blue Jays won final four conference games.

9. Bishop McCort 12-9
Crimson Crushers should prove to be a tough out in District 6 Class AA bracket.

10. Windber 12-10
Ramblers will have 14-day layoff before playing in District 5 Class AA playoffs.

Tribune-Democrat boys' basketball rankings

Tradition-rich programs like Bishop McCort do not believe in moral victories, but the Crimson Crushers sure garnered a lot of attention the past week ... and it all started with a loss at Greensburg Central Catholic on Monday.

For starters, the Centurions have been a state power the last several years. This year is no different as GCC sports a 21-1 record with its lone loss at Quad-A Gateway. GCC is ranked No. 2 in Class AA in the state according to the Patriot-News of Harrisburg and there are many on the western side of Pennsylvania that believe GCC is the best team in the classification.

Bishop McCort, the defending District 6 Class AA champs, lost 81-72 on Monday in a highly competitive game as Nemo Trexler scored 32 points for the Crimson Crushers. GCC is one tough place to play.

Bishop McCort followed with a tough win at Greater Johnstown and by rallying from a double-digit deficit to defeat Bishop Carroll for the LHAC championship. It's McCort's second win over Carroll this season.

1. Bishop McCort 15-7
Forget the record, the Crimson Crushers are ready for the postseason, even as the No. 6 seed in District 6.

2. Bishop Carroll 19-4
Huskies enter District 6 Class A bracket as top seed.

3. Shade 22-1
Panthers went 24 of 25 from free-throw line in WestPAC title game - a convincing win over Conemaugh Township.

4. Penn Cambria 17-4
UPJ recruit A.J. Leahey is averaging 19.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.5 blocks per game.

5. Northern Cambria 18-4
Colts bringing a five-game win streak into District 6 Class AA playoffs.

6. Conemaugh Township 20-3
Loss to Shade snapped 18-game win streak for Chuck Lesko's Indians.

7. Greater Johnstown 14-7
Trojans played just one game last week - a loss to Bishop McCort - and have this week off before the District 6 Class AAA championship game next week.

8. Somerset 14-8
Golden Eagles ended regular season on up note with wins at Richland and Bedford. They play the Bisons again in the D6 AAA semis.

9. Shanksville-Stonycreek 19-3
Vikings' loss to Shade was second home setback of season. First came against Conemaugh Township.

10. Ligonier Valley 14-7
Surging Rams have won five consecutive games entering postseason.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

District 6 girls' Class A preview

Top seeds: 1. Bishop Guilfoyle (21-2), 2. Portage (20-2), 3. Claysburg-Kimmel (16-5), 4. Conemaugh Valley (16-6).
Portage's Olivia McCabe (left) and Emily Chobany. Photo courtesy of Portage Athletics Twitter.
Defending champion: Bishop Guilfoyle
Players to watch: Olivia McCabe, Emily Chobany (Portage), Emily McCray, Lexi Hody (Conemaugh Valley), Eden Bloom (United), Allison Thomas, Heather Marsh (Blacklick Valley), Ellie Yahner (Bishop Carroll), Halee Adams, Kayla Bates (Bishop Guilfoyle), Abigayle Kulick (Claysburg-Kimmel), Krista Gillo (Penns Manor), Abbie Zinobile (Juniata Valley).
The skinny: It's difficult to imagine any other team besides Bishop Guilfoyle winning the tournament because, well, the Marauders win District 6 most years. ... Portage enters the field with higher expectations than its had in years and several standout underclassmen. ... Conemaugh Valley drew a tough first-round opponent in Penns Manor. ... According to MaxPreps, Williamsburg doesn't have a player averaging more than 7.1 points per game while Bishop Carroll averages 21.9 points per game.
Sleeper: Juniata Valley
Championship: Bishop Guilfoyle over Portage.

District 6 boys' Class A preview

Top seeds: 1. Bishop Carroll (19-4), 2. Bishop Guilfoyle (16-5), 3. Homer-Center (17-5), 4. Blacklick Valley (14-7).
Bishop Carroll's Marcus Lee averages 12.0 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Defending champion: Northern Cambria
Players to watch: Brandon Martinazzi, Marcus Lee (Bishop Carroll), Dalton Cesarz, Johnny Sheesley (Blacklick Valley), Chad Eisenhuth, Rakwon Hinton (Ferndale), Brandon Drenning (Bishop Guilfoyle), Caleb Taylor (Juniata Valley), Eli Fay (Williamsburg), Shea O'Donnell (Glendale), Steve Richards (Saltsburg).
The skinny: Despite Saturday's loss to Bishop McCort in the LHAC championship game, Bishop Carroll has to be considered the favorite though Bishop Guilfoyle and Homer-Center are more than capable. ... Guilfoyle beat Carroll in the most previous meeting between the two rivals. ... Blacklick Valley's Dalton Cesarz is the Vikings' all-time leading rebounder and he's averaging 25.6 points per game. ... There's a Heisman winner in the bracket. BV's Johnny Sheesley was recognized as the PA High School Heisman winner during the fall. ... Ferndale's Eisenhuth is averaging 21.1 points per game. ... Glendale's O'Donnell averages a double-double.
Sleeper: Williamsburg.
Championship: Bishop Carroll over Bishop Guilfoyle.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

District 6 girls' Class AA preview

Top seeds: 1. Bald Eagle Area (20-1), 2. Bellwood-Antis (19-1), 3. Westmont Hilltop (19-3), 4. Blairsville (21-1).
Defending champion: Forest Hills.
Top players: Erin Rodgers, Paige Lamberson (Westmont Hilltop), Sarah Pfeil, Katie Gehlmann (Richland), Mackenzie Barbin, Emily Daley (Bishop McCort), Bri Wasser, Taylor King-Brothers (Central Cambria), Kaitlyn Krug, Bri Mulhern (Penn Cambria), Marissa Ward (Bald Eagle), Mackenzie Livingston (Blairsville).
The skinny: Bald Eagle's record is impressive. The level of competition they played isn't. Ditto for Bellwood-Antis. ... The Hilltoppers play Bishop Guilfoyle for the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference title later today. ... Blairsville averages close to 70 points per game and is coached by former Richland coach Ralph McGinnis. ... Richland is seeded seventh and if the Rams get past Central Cambria, they could give No. 2 Bellwood-Antis trouble. ... Bishop McCort has displayed considerable improvement as the season has progressed.
Sleeper: Richland.
Prediction: Blairsville over Westmont Hilltop.

Friday, February 15, 2013

District 6 boys' Class AA playoff preview

Top seeds: 1. Bald Eagle Area (19-2), 2. Penn Cambria (17-4), 3. Bellwood-Antis (18-2), 4. Tyrone (16-5).
Defending champion: Bishop McCort
Players to watch: A.J. Leahey, Devin Lawhead (Penn Cambria), Nemo Trexler, Billy Hipp (Bishop McCort), Kyle Flick (Richland), Adam Polites, Jeff Hogan (Northern Cambria), Isaac Vescovi (Cambria Heights), Dennis Fisher (Bald Eagle Area), Noah Davis (Bellwood-Antis).
The skinny: Only two of the bracket's top eight seeds hail from the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference - Penn Cambria (second), Bishop McCort (eighth). Both are capable of making a postseason push. Richland is seeded 12th and had an up-and-down season, yet the Rams figure to be a very difficult first-round opponent for Northern Cambria, which is the defending D6 Class A champ. Thanks to WJAC's Matt Maisel, who alerted The Varsity Club that Bellwood-Antis' Noah Davis, who averages more than 22 ppg, has a broken wrist but played in the Blue Devils' most recent game.
Sleeper: Bishop McCort
Championship: Bishop McCort over Tyrone.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

District 6 Class AAA playoff preview

Teams: 1. Greater Johnstown (14-6), 2. Somerset (13-8), 3. Bedford (4-17).
Defending champion: Greater Johnstown.
Players to watch: Phillip Madison, Roshon Fields (Greater Johnstown); Jake Close, Brent Barron (Somerset), Tyler Black (Bedford).
The skinny: The Trojans are the clear favorite here. They've already defeated Somerset twice during the regular season and bear Bedford by 35 points.
Prediction: Greater Johnstown over Somerset.

Teams: 1. Forest Hills (17-4), 2. Ligonier Valley (13-5), 3. Westinghouse (13-9), 4. Carrick (10-8), 5. Huntingdon (7-9), 6. Greater Johnstown (6-16).
Defending champion: Hollidaysburg.
Players to watch: Casey Gallaher, Caitlin Gallaher (Forest Hills), Maddy Grimm, Kyre Ludwig (Ligonier Valley), Tara Smith (Huntingdon), Tashayla Smith, Lexi Lindrose (Greater Johnstown).
The skinny: Forest Hills and Ligonier Valley moved up from Class AA and are the clear-cut favorites here in this interdistrict bracket. District 8's Westinghouse played a challenging schedule outside the City League. Carrick sports a winning record but it lost to several small-school WPIAL teams during the regular season.
Prediction: Ligonier Valley over Forest Hills.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Patriot-News boys' basketball rankings

Class AAAA
1. Chester (19-3)
2. Lower Merion (20-2)
3. Harrisburg (20-2)
4. McCaskey (20-2)
5. New Castle (21-0)
6. Cathedral Prep (19-2)
7. Williamsport (17-2)
8. St. Joseph's Prep (18-4)
9. Martin Luther King (21-2)
10. York (21-2)
Honorable mention
Abington (18-4), Council Rock North (17-5), Norristown (19-3), Penn Wood (15-7), Pennsbury (15-7), Hatboro-Horsham (17-5), Ridley (17-5) , Great Valley (23-0), Coatesville (17-6), Roman Catholic (17-5), La Salle College (15-7), Archbishop Ryan (15-7), State College (13-7), Parkland (16-6), Freedom (15-7), Liberty (15-7), Pocono Mountain West (18-4), St. Clair (18-3), Gateway (15-5), Hampton (18-4), Seneca Valley (15-7), North Allegheny (18-3), Pittsburgh Central Catholic (16-5).

Class AAA
1. Imhotep Charter (19-4)
2. Neumann-Goretti (17-5)
3. Allentown Central Catholic (20-2)
4. Archbishop Carroll (18-4)
5. Susquehanna Twp (21-1)
6. Abington Heights (18-2)
7. Mars (18-3)
8. Berks Catholic (20-3)
9. Chartiers Valley (19-2)
10. Montour (17-4)
Honorable mention
Thomas Jefferson (16-6), Uniontown (16-3), West Mifflin (15-5), Beaver Area (17-3), Central Valley (16-6), Donegal (22-0), Bishop McDevitt (16-6), Steel-High (19-4), Palmyra (15-7), Gettysburg (16-6), Greencastle-Antrim (16-5), Wilson Area (21-1), Pottsville (18-4), Holy Ghost Prep (15-6).

Class AA
1. Beaver Falls (19-3)
2. Greensburg Central Catholic (20-1)
3. Meyers (18-2)
4. Jeannette (17-4)
5. Holy Cross (16-4)
6. West Middlesex (17-3)
7. Communications Tech (16-6)
8. Trinity (15-6)
9. Loyalsock (18-3)
10. Lewisburg (19-2)
Honorable mention
Seton-La Salle (20-2), Sto-Rox (14-7), Quaker Valley (18-4), California (18-3), Serra Catholic (13-7), Elk Lake (17-3), Mid Valley (17-3), Riverside (15-6), Dunmore (12-7), Catasauqua (16-6), Notre Dame-Green Pond (13-9), Wellsboro (18-1), Constitution (15-8), Tyrone (15-4), Bald Eagle Area (17-2), Bellwood-Antis (18-2), Penn Cambria (16-3),  Lakeview (17-3), Mercyhurst Prep (13-6).

Class A
1. Math, Civics & Sciences (22-1)
2. Vaux (16-7)
3. Lincoln Park (17-5)
4. Church Farm (17-5)
5. Vincentian (20-1)
6. Bishop Carroll (16-3)
7. Johnsonburg (18-2)
8. Ridgway (19-3)
9. Smethport (19-1)
10. St. John Neumann (19-1)
Shade (19-1), Shanksville-Stonycreek (18-2), Bishop Guilfoyle (15-3), North Catholic (14-5), Union Area (16-4), Our Lady of Sacred Heart (17-4), Clairton (13-6), A-C Valley (17-3), North Clarion (21-1), Elk County Catholic (16-5), Clarion (14-7), Greenwood (17-3), Lebanon Catholic (15-7), New Hope Academy (16-4), Sullivan County (19-2), Muncy (15-5), Lourdes Regional (16-5), Mahanoy Area (17-4), Marian Catholic (17-5), Pius X (16-2), Sankofa (13-10), Delco Christian (16-6),  Kennedy Catholic (15-5).

Monday, February 11, 2013

T-D girls' basketball rankings

1. Berlin 17-2
Big win versus Conemaugh Township last week. Mountaineers have clinched spot in WestPAC title game.

2. Westmont Hilltop 17-3
It's a battle of perennial powers (Westmont vs. Bishop Guilfoyle) in Saturday's LHAC championship game.

3. Forest Hills 17-4
Rangers should be top seed in District 6 Class AAA playoffs.

4. Ligonier Valley 13-4
Surging Rams should be Forest Hills' top competition in D6 bracket.

5. Portage 18-2
Mustangs are one win from spot in WestPAC championship game for first time.

6. Richland 14-5
Rams bounced back from loss to Westmont with key win versus Bishop McCort.

7. Conemaugh Township 15-4
Indians gave No. 1 Berlin tough game on the Mountaineers' home court.

8. Conemaugh Valley 14-5
Blue Jays remain among WestPAC elite.

9. Bishop McCort 11-9
If Crimson Crushers figure out how to beat one of the area's elite teams, could spell postseason success.

10. Windber 12-10
Ramblers ended regular season on three-game win streak.

T-D boys' basketball rankings

1. Bishop Carroll 16-3
Despite home loss to Bishop Guilfoyle, Huskies still worthy of top spot for now.

2. Penn Cambria 16-3
Panthers peaking at right time, especially with road game at Bishop Carroll on Wednesday.

3. Conemaugh Township 17-2
Indians face intriguing nonconference game tonight against a Richland team capable of beating anyone.

4. Bishop McCort 13-6
Crushers post impressive back-to-back wins against Somerset and Richland. Tonight's game at Greensburg Central Catholic could show how ready McCort is for postseason.

5. Northern Cambria 15-4
Colts haven't lost a home game in Heritage Conference play. They host Homer-Center in key game Tuesday.

6. Greater Johnstown 14-6
Trojans can play for LHAC championship with win vs. Bishop McCort on Wednesday.

7. Shade 19-1
Panthers can clinch spot in WestPAC title game with win at Shanksville Stonycreek. Could Ryan Fyock play in key game?

8. Shanksville Stonycreek 18-2
Vikings just keep winning and they host Shade on Tuesday. Their the only team to beat the Panthers.

9. Somerset 12-7
Up-and-down Golden Eagles have lost two of three. Of course, those losses are against Greater Johnstown and Bishop McCort.

10. Ligonier Valley 11-7
New to rankings, Rams probably need to win tonight at homes against Penn Cambria to stay.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Another look: Gary Hrivnak

Gary Hrivnak
Gary Hrivnak played at Greater Johnstown High School in the late 1960s under the direction of coach Francis "Blackie" Mihalic, who became the program's 19th head coach in 1962.

Known for his toughness, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hrivnak left Johnstown to play football at Purdue, where he was a defensive end from 1970-72 and Big Ten All-Conference selection for Bob DeMoss' Boilermakers in 1971. Hrivnak also played tight end while at Purdue.

Hrivnak certainly caught the eye of NFL franchises and was drafted the the second round of the 1973 draft with the 48th overall selection by the Chicago Bears. Hrivnak was drafted before Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts and Dallas Cowboys standout defensive end Harvey Martin.

He played four seasons with the Bears (1973-76) and started 11 games during his career. He was released by the Bears in 1977 after spending the 1976 season on injured reserve because of an Achilles tendon injury.

Three up, one down


1. Kayla Stockenus. The senior from Shanksville-Stonycreek became just the third girls basketball player from the area to score 2,000 career points. She accomplished the feat Tuesday in a home loss to Windber.

Stockenus reached the milestone after grabbing a defensive rebound and driving the length of the court for a layup. 
Shanksville Stonycreek's Kayla Stockenus

“When I got that rebound and saw the open court I thought, ‘This is my chance. I don’t want to screw this up,’ ” an excited Stockenus said while addressing a small group of newspaper and TV reporters after the game. “Then everyone started cheering and I was like, ‘All right, now I really have to do it.’ Then I was lucky enough and got the and-one (free throw).”

2. Westmont Hilltop girls basketball. The Hilltoppers are one of two area girls teams unbeaten in section play - Berlin-Brothersvalley is the other. They also appear to be peaking at the appropriate time as Westmont prepares for Saturday's LHAC championship game against Bishop Guilfoyle.

3. Juniors topping 1,000 points. Two players – Ferndale's Elizabeth Chobany and Richland's Kyle Flick – could reach the 1,000-point mark on Monday. Chobany needs six points as the Yellow Jackets host Conemaugh Valley. Flick needs 16 as the Rams play a tough nonconference game at Conemaugh Township.

When Flick hits the mark, he'll be the fourth junior this season to do so. Bishop McCort's Nemo Trexler got there during Friday's win against Richland. Olivia McCabe and Emily Chobany, both of Portage, also hit the milestone earlier this season.

And, yes, Portage's Chobany and Ferndale's Chobany are cousins.


1. The Varsity Club. This blog dedicated to high school sports in The Tribune-Democrat coverage area has been subject to sporadic updates lately. The main culprit? The blog author is working on a move inside the borders of Flood City and several snags have hindered the progress not only of the move, but the blog.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pitt, Penn State recruiting classes

2013 University of Pittsburgh Football Recruiting Class
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School/Prep School
Carson Baker OL 6-5 280 Fairborn, Ohio/Fairborn
Chris Blewitt PK 5-9 165 Alexandria, Va./West Potomac
Tyler Boyd WR 6-2 185 Clairton, Pa./Clairton
Zach Challingsworth WR 6-2 185 McDonald, Pa./South Fayette
Tra’Von Chapman* QB 6-2 200 Kent, Ohio/Theodore Roosevelt
James Conner RB 6-2 230 Erie, Pa./McDowell
Devon Edwards TE 6-4 255 Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Eastmoor Academy
Matt Galambos LB 6-2 215 Collingdale, Pa./The Haverford School
Reggie Green ATH 6-2 200 Cranford, N.J./Cranford
Tony Harper TE 6-4 200 Toledo, Ohio/St. John’s Jesuit
Titus Howard DB 6-1 180 Clairton, Pa./Clairton
Rachid Ibrahim DB 6-1 185 Rockville, Md./Avalon
Tyrique Jarrett* DL 6-3 320 Pittsburgh, Pa./Taylor Allderdice/
Milford Academy (N.Y.)
Dorian Johnson OL 6-5 290 Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon Area
Jaryd Jones-Smith OL 6-7 295 Voorhees, N.J./West Catholic (Pa.)
Luke Maclean DL 6-3 235 Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc
Justin Moody DL 6-3 265 Philadelphia, Pa./George Washington
Alex Officer OL 6-4 290 Rochester, N.Y./Eastridge
Scott Orndoff* TE 6-5 245 Waynesburg, Pa./Seton-LaSalle
Jaymar Parrish FB 6-2 230 Monroeville, Pa./Gateway
Zach Poker LB 6-4 220 Oconomowoc, Wis./Oconomowoc
Aaron Reese OL 6-5 300 Fayetteville, Pa./Chambersburg Area
Shakir Soto* DL 6-3 230 Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial
Jeremiah Taleni DL 6-2 300 Kaneohe, Hawaii/Kailua
Jester Weah WR 6-3 190 Madison, Wis./Madison Memorial
Terrish Webb DB 5-11 170 Clairton, Pa./Clairton
Ryan Winslow P 6-5 205 Ambler, Pa./La Salle College H.S.
2013 Penn State Football Signees
Name                                     Pos.    Ht.       Wt.      Cl./El.             High School/Hometown
Richy Anderson*                 RB      5-11    171     Fr./Fr.              Governor Thomas Johnson/
Frederick, Md.
Brandon Bell                        LB       6-1      222     Fr./Fr.              Oakcrest/Mays Landing, N.J.
Adam Breneman*                TE       6-4      230     Fr./Fr.              Cedar Cliff/Camp Hill, Pa.
Curtis Cothran                      DE      6-5      235     Fr./Fr.              Council Rock North/ Newtown, Pa.
Parker Cothren                     DT       6-5      265     Fr./Fr.              Hazel Green/Hazel Green. Ala.
Tyler Ferguson*                   QB      6-3      199     So./So.           College of the Sequoias (Calif.)/Bakersfield, Calif.
Kasey Gaines                       DB      5-10    160     Fr./Fr.              Grayson/Loganville, Ga.
Christian Hackenberg         QB      6-3      215     Fr./Fr.              Fork Union Military Academy (Va.)/Palmyra, Va.
DaeSean Hamilton WR     6-1      182     Fr./Fr.              Mountain View/Fredericksburg, Va.
Tanner Hartman                   G         6-5      255     Fr./Fr.              Lynchburg Christian Academy/Lynchburg, Va.
Zayd Issah                            LB       6-3      215     Fr./Fr.              Central Dauphin/Harrisburg, Pa.
Brendan Mahon                   G         6-4      315     Fr./Fr.              Randolph/Randolph, N.J.
Andrew Nelson                    T          6-5      295     Fr./Fr.              Hershey/Hershey, Pa.
Neiko Robinson                   DB      5-11    170     Fr./Fr.              Northview (Fla.)/Flomaton, Ala.
Garrett Sickels                      DE      6-4      238     Fr./Fr.              Red Bank Regional/Little Silver, N.J.
Anthony Smith*                    DB      6-0      184     Fr./Fr.              Valley Forge Military Academy (Pa.)/Randolph, N.J.
Jordan Smith*                       DB      5-11    178     Fr./Fr.              H.D. Woodson/Washington, D.C.