MERCER COUNTY —
Who: Sharpsville (18-8) vs. Burrell (23-3).
What: PIAA playoffs, 2nd round.
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Slippery Rock University's Morrow Field House.
Players to Watch: Sharpsville - McKenzie Popatak, 5-9 Sr. (21.4 ppg.); Megan Davis, 5-8 Jr. (10.8); Natalie Henwood (4.5); Kayla Kurelko, 5-5 Soph. (3.4); Maddie Przicina, 5-6 Soph. (2.4); Paige Scurpa, 5-9 Sr. (2.3). Burrell - Sydney Bordonaro, 5-7 Soph. (16.5); Natalie Myers, 5-11 Fr. (10.7); Kelsey Oddis, 5-7 Jr.; Jaila Manga, 5-8 Jr.; Erika Finn, 5-8 Soph.; Jessica Cercone, 6-1 Jr.
Bonus Shots: Sharpsville skipper Jeff Hanley (12th year, 186-112) got his 1st-ever PIAA playoff win with a 38-32 victory over District 9 champion Brookville on Friday at Clarion University. Popatak rifled in 20 points and Henwood drained 2 huge treys for 6 points and came up with several big rebounds. ... Brookville started the season with a 4-10 record, but got hot at the right time and had knocked out the top 3 seeds in the D-9 Class AA playoffs in Kane (1st), Karns City (2nd) and Cranberry (3rd). ... Hanley's last appearance in a state playoff game was in his 1st year as coach (2001-02) when his Blue Darlings fell to Cameron County (57-49) in overtime at Clarion U. ... Popatak is the school's all-time girls scoring leader with 1,680 points. She surpassed Kasey Gardner's 2008 mark of 1,440 earlier this season. ... Popatak trails Lakeview's Sheena Aden (2,421), Sharon's Wanda Holloway (2,106), Farrell's Jill Platteborze (1,913), Hickory's Julie Fornadel (1,702) and Sharon's Brittany Csatlos (1,697) among Mercer County area girls scorers. ... The Blue Darlings' losses this season have come against Cranberry (51-39), Grove City (31-23), Slippery Rock (49-36), Kennedy Catholic (67-40), North East (49-30 and 42-38), Girard (51-37), Sharon (54-39). ... Sharpsville ousted Seneca (34-29) in the District 10 quarterfinals, fell to North East (42-38) in the semis and then qualified for the PIAA playoffs by beating Mercer (48-29) in the consolation game. ... Last year, Sharpsville was ousted in the D-10 quarterfinals by Seneca (51-46). ... Meghan Ziemianski (2nd year) is a 2000 Burrell graduate and coaches the Buccaneers. Her dad, Mark, is her assistant. He coached Burrell when she was a senior. Meghan previously coached at Highlands for 4 seasons and led them to WPIAL Class AAA playoff appearances all 4 years. ... Burrell ousted D-6 runner-up Bellwood Antis, 65-46, on Friday at Plum High School in the 1st round of the PIAAs. Burrell led 10-6 after the 1st quarter, 27-21 at halftime and 41-36 after 3 before outscoring Antis 24-10 in the final frame. Bordonaro rifled in 27 points while Myers had 16. ... Burrell went 10-0 to finish 1st in WPIAL Section 1-AA. They beat Carlynton (47-23) in the 1st round of the WPIAL playoffs, ousted McGuffey (61-41) in the quarters and got crushed by eventual WPIAL champion Bishop Canevin (56-33) in the semifinals. ... Their other 2 losses were against Shaler (47-36) in the title tilt of the Hampton Christmas Tourney and Keystone Oaks (43-40) back on Jan. 18. ... They were on a 12-game winning streak heading into the WPIAL semis, which included impressive wins over Indiana, Mount Pleasant, Knoch and North Catholic. ... This year is unprecedented at Burrell High, which is known as a wrestling powerhouse (7 WPIAL titles) as the boys team played in the WPIAL title game (lost to Beaver Falls) for the 1st time since 1979 (they were ousted by Bishop McCort in the 1st round of the PIAAs) and the girls made the D-7 semis for the 1st time since 1994. ... Burrell had the best defense in the WPIAL during the regular season, only allowing 28.6 ppg. with their stifling man-to-man defense. ... Burrell was 18-5 last year and lost in the 1st round of the WPIAL playoffs. ... The game will be broadcast on SportsRadio 96.7 (WLLF FM) with Ryan Briggs and Chris Burtch calling the action beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Who: Kennedy Catholic (23-2) vs. Port Allegany (22-4).
What: PIAA playoffs, 2nd round.
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Clarion University's Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium.
Players to Watch: Kennedy Catholic - Alex Ricketts, 5-11 Sr. (17.3 ppg.); Courtney Sargent, 6-2 Sr. (13.1); Rachel Burns, 5-10 Sr. (11.0); Taylor Hood, 5-7 Jr. (7.4); Rebekah Kish, 5-7 Soph. (7.0); April Bocian, 6-2 Fr. (5.5). Port Allegany - Becca Lathrop, 5-9 Jr. (16.7); Brooke Roys, 6-0 Soph. (7.7); Somer Buchsenschutz, 5-6 Soph. (7.2); Gabby Drabert, 5-8 Sr. (5.6); Krista Miller, 5-5 Jr. (3.7); Lynae Delacour, 5-7 Soph. (3.5).
Bonus Shots: Kennedy Catholic coach Tom Burns (6th year, 113-34) led his Lady Golden Eagles to an impressive opening-round win in the state playoffs Saturday with a 45-36 win vs. North Catholic. Ricketts scored 17, Sargent bucketed 14 and Bocian came off the bench and grabbed 11 rebounds and had several blocks for KC, which led 24-12 at halftime. The Lady Golden Eagles limited NC star Lauren Wolosik, who is headed to Div. I Central Connecticut University, to 11 points. ... North Catholic and Vincentian Academy are the kingpins of WPIAL Class A while KC rules District 10. NC played in the state championship game last season, but lost to Steelton Highspire (66-59) at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center. ... KC has won 17 District 10 championships. Burns has led them to 4 of them, including 3 in a row. ... KC had a bye in the opening round of the D-10 playoffs, beat Commodore Perry (68-28) in the semifinals and defeated Cochranton (67-45) for the title. ... KC has outscored their opponents 1,519 to 775 (744 point differential) this year. ... KC's 2 losses are against Franklin (62-45) in the season-opening Franklin Tipoff Tourney and Vincentian Academy (70-53) in the Penn State-Beaver Holiday Tourney title tilt. Franklin just won its 2nd straight D-10 Class AAA title while VA copped its 2nd straight (3rd in 4 years) WPIAL crown. ... Ricketts, who will play college hoops for the Zips at Div. I Akron University, has 1,382 career points while Burns has 1,062. ... In the PIAAs last year, KC beat Riverview (59-30) and Clarion Area (59-43) before falling to Vincentian (56-51) in the western region semifinals. ... KC's last appearance in a PIAA title game was in 2001 under former coach Father Rick Tomasone when the locals edged Pottsville Nativity BVM (48-46) at Hersheypark Arena. ... Coach Kristina Francis' (9th year, 125-96) Lady Gators of Port Allegany beat Penns Manor, the 3rd seed out of District 6, in the 1st round of the PIAAs Saturday at Pitt-Bradford. Lathrop scored 22 in PA's 52-45 win and Buchsenschutz had 10. ... PA's 4 losses are to Wyalusing in their season-opener at the Cowanesque Valley Tourney, St. Marys, Kane (who lost to Brookville in the D-9 Class AA title game) and to Clarion Area (56-41) in the Class A title game. ... They beat Venango Catholic (45-35) in the D-9 quarterfinals and Keystone (55-48) in the semis. Lathrop had 19 points vs. VC and a career-high 26 and 18 rebounds vs. defending champion Keystone, which played without their 2 top scorers in sisters Morgan and Madison Johnson (both torn ACLs). ... PA turned the ball over 31 times in the loss to Clarion Area for the D-9 crown. They had won 19 straight before that game. Roys (13) and Lathrop (12) scored in double digits. It was Clarion's 1st D-9 title since 1992 and was the Lady Gators' 1st title game appearance since they won the AA title in 1997. They've never won a Class A crown in 4 tries. The last attempt was in 1996 when they lost to Coudersport. ... PA started the season 2-3. They lost to Kane on Dec. 19and then reeled off that big winning streak. ... This is PA's 1st trip to the state playoffs since 2006. ... The game will be broadcast on NewsTalk 790 (WOIC AM) with Mark Slezak and Bob Greenburg on mike, beginning at 5:30 p.m. ... by Rob Malsom, Herald sports writer
MERCER COUNTY —
Herald-Tamie junior tourney set Thursday-Friday
THEY SAY THAT “The best things in life are free.” Well, one of those “best things” is the annual Herald-Tam O’Shanter Junior Golf Championships every summer.
The event, which has been free to boys and girls in the Shenango Valley since it’s inception in 1949, will be held Thursday and Friday at Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Hermitage.
It has been the premier youth tournament for decades and some of the top players ever to come out of this area have participated. But you don’t have to be a great young golfer to take part. It’s a wonderful opportunity for every youngster to get a free round of golf on a great course, which is in immaculate shape this season.
Hickory lists 2013 scholar-athlete award winners
Hickory High Athletic Director Barb Dzuricsko recently announced that a total of 213 students (grades 9-12) earned Don McKay Scholar-Athlete awards.
To be eligible, students must maintain an A (93 percent or higher) grade-point-average through the academic year’s third 9-week grading period and compete in a PIAA-sponsored sport.
A total of 375 students competed in athletics this past year, Dzuricsko noted, meaning almost 57 percent qualified for the McKay Scholar-Athlete Award. Since the award’s inception, this is the highest total number of students to earn the honors, she reported.
SCHOLASTIC NOTEBOOK: Hearns to continue golf career in college; Petty to be honored
RECENT HICKORY High alumna Rosy Hearns will continue her education and golf careers at the State University of New York-Albany. Hickory links coach Craig Antush said Hearns recently signed a letter-of-intent.
Hearns’ Hickory career concluded as one of the finest on the links — male or female — in Mercer County annals.
Bowlers compete in Senior Games
The bowling portion of the annual Mercer County Senior Games was held Wednesday at Grove City Bowlodrome. That followed horseshoes and shuffleboard competitions earlier in the week.
Following is the rest of the schedule:
COLLEGIATE NOTEBOOK: Ex-Hickory great Richards has great spring track season
FORMER HICKORY HIGH standout Morgan Richards enjoyed a successful spring season for the University of North Carolina-Charlotte track & field team. The female 49ters won the Atlantic 10 Conference outdoor track & field team title.
“Morgan kept her stride as she transitioned into the outdoor season, running top times in several events among (Atlantic 10) freshmen and on Charlotte’s all-time top 10 lists,” assistant coch Edwin T. Schlichter wrote in a recent e-mail to The Herald. “Morgan finished just one spot (9th) out of scoring at the 2013 A-10 Championships in the 3000-meter steeplechase, despite this being her first year ever attempting the event, and running 11:02.22 which was 2nd among all freshmen in the A-10 and 5th all-time for UNC-Charlotte.”
SPORTVIEW: Hickory tri-athletes deserve special recognition
EVERY YEAR we receive a photo from the Hermitage School District of a group of student-athletes that I am thrilled to receive and run in the paper.
The photo is of Hickory High School “tri-athletes,” boys and girls who participate in sports during each of the fall, winter and spring seasons. But there is more to it than that. Each of these athletes also must maintain an 85 percent B average during the first three 9-week grading periods of the year.
TIDBITS: Scurpas make college choices; Matthews, Norris, Bonner part of great Clarion recruiting class; Lewis earns national medal
SHARPSVILLE HIGH volleyball standouts Kristen and Paige Scurpa, who are cousins, will continue their education and athletic careers at California University of Pa. and Penn State-Behrend, respectively.
The duo, both of whom were named to the All-State team in Class A by the Pa. Volleyball Coaches Association, led the Blue Darlings to the District 10 title game in November. Sharpsville, Region 1 champs the past 4 years, suffered a 3-1 loss to Cochranton in that match and finished the season 16-4.
Sharpsville falls in D-10 title game
SLIPPERY ROCK — Monday was a pretty good day for Saegertown High School.
Just mere hours after the Lady Panthers won the District 10 Class A softball championship, the Saegertown baseball team (19-2) captured its third straight D-10 Class AA title with a convincing 10-3 victory over Sharpsville (15-6) at Slippery Rock University’s Jack Critchfield Park.
“We knew going into the game that Saegertown’s a pretty good team and they’ve been a pretty good team for the past few years,” Blue Devils coach Mike Sikorski said. “I think they’ve been in the District 10 Championship the past four years. They’re a solid team, a very good team. They’re very patient at the plate and when they get their pitches, they hit them.”
STATE TRACK NOTEBOOK: WM seniors leave legacy of greatness
WEST MIDDLESEX High always has had a proud athletic heritage, and this past weekend’s PIAA Class AA Track & Field championship will only add lustre to that legacy.
According to available archives at The Herald, only the 1954 boys’ basketball team and Coach Bob Morris’ boys’ cross country team from earlier this decade previously had won commonwealth crowns.
Allen wins 4 gold medals to lead WM to PIAA team title
SHIPPENSBURG — Clay Allen said he had to explode out of the starting blocks for his 100-meter dash showdown with Hickory’s DeShawn Coleman. But Allen — all afternoon — was getting the jump on his competitors during the annual PIAA Track & Field Championships.
By approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Shippensburg University, Allen annexed 4 gold medals — 100- and 200-meter dashes, long jump, and as part of the sprint-relay. The workload West Middlesex High’s senior exhibited enabled the Big Reds to record the Class AA commonwealth crown.
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