Boys Basketball: Ambridge's playoff run yields PIAA bid

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Drew Karpen profiles the Ambridge boys basketball team.

2015 0227 Ambridge BBasketball(Photo: Ambridge's Daylon Carter gets a shot up against Mars' Ryan Giallonardo in a WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal game last Friday night at North Hills. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"Last Friday wasn't a good night for top-seeded teams in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

In all, three No. 1 seeds fell, including in Class AAA boys. After rattling off 17 consecutive wins, Mars Area was upended by No. 9 Ambridge Area, 46-45.

"They were excited to see how it played out and the significance of it," Ambridge coach Mark Jula said. "This is only like the third or fourth time in school history we advanced to the semifinals."

The Bridgers (16-8) ​lost to Indiana, 54-45, in the WPIAL semifinals Tuesday night, but they had already clinched a spot in the PIAA tournament thanks to the upset of Mars."


Boys Basketball: Ambridge's big week

Written by staff reports on .

Coaches always are concerned entering the playoffs with just one big scoring threat. An illness, foul trouble, or an unexpectedly effective defense can end a season much earlier than had been hoped.

Ambridge coach Mark Jula found a way around that problem, though, as he found two big scorers for the Bridgers opening round win over Uniontown. Daylon Carter scored a career-high 42 points and Darius Lawrence scored a career-high 33 as Ambridge won 84-69.

Those type of records aren't readily available but no one can remember a game when two players combined for so many with such balance. It's easy to imagine that some other player could have scored 12 points the night Tom Richards scored 63 but it's likely no duo ever had such balance.

While a noteworthy feat, though, that became an answer to a bizarre game of trivial pursuit after Friday night's game. In that game, the Bridgers upset top-seeded Mars 46-45 and again the same duo carried the scoring load – Lawrence had 22 and Carter had 21.


Swimming: Ambridge tandem has strong MAC meet

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

There are not enough swimmers from Ambridge to have a team or relays but that is not stopping sophomore Tony Kraus and senior Alec Kanai from posting fast times and tallying points at big meets. The duo swam similar events at MACs last weekend at Moon and together, combined to score 50 points. Kraus and Kanai were neck and neck in the 200 yard individual medley. Kraus eventually took fourth place, finishing with a time of 2:08.26, just 0.23 seconds ahead of fifth place Kanai. The duo both swam the 100 breaststroke too. Kraus placed fourth in the event, swimming a time of 1:05.82, and Kanai placed 11th, swimming a time of 1:07.78. Kraus and Kanai will swim at WPIALs this weekend. On Saturday Kanai is the seventh seed in the 100 backstroke (59.68) and Kraus is the eighth seed (1:05.82) in the 100 breaststroke. On Friday Kanai is the ninth seed in the 200 IM (2:08.49) and Kraus is the 17th seed in the 200 freestyle (1:58.73).


Swimming: Ambridge senior has sights set on MAC title in 200 IM

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Last year as a junior at the MAC championships, Alec Kanai finished third in the 100 breaststroke and fourth in the 200 IM. Even though he had a higher finish in the 100 breaststroke, Kanai's best shot at MAC gold this year might actually be in the individual medley. Kanai will be a title contender in the 100 breaststroke where defending champion Christopher Georgiadis of Mars graduated by Quaker Valley junior Kyle Hrabovsky returns and will likely be the favorite if he chooses to swim the event. It is a different story in the 200 IM where Kanai is the top returner. He took fourth last year behind Georgiadis, Laurel's Noah Donovan and Mars' Thomas Pierre but all three have since graduated. With the event as wide open as it is other swimmers may choose to switch events but right now the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke could end up being races between Kanai and Hrabovsky. Hrabovsky took fifth in the 200 IM last year, less than one second behind Kanai. Quaker Valley junior Matt Kwalick and West Allegheny sophomore Michael Kocher could be contenders in the 200 IM as well.


Girls Basketball: Ambridge hopes to forge tie for Section 2-AAA title

Written by Joe Koch on .

Rivals don't need much to get excited for a game. But when Ambridge High hosts Blackhawk at 6:30 p.m. Friday, the Bridgers will have plenty of incentive against the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA champions.

That's because the Bridgers are one game behind the Cougars going into Friday's game. The Cougars take a 10-0 section record going into this week's games, while the Bridgers are 9-1. Ambridge's only loss was a 57-53 setback at Blackhawk on Jan. 12.

Blackhawk hosts New Castle tonight, so the Cougars should remain unbeaten going into the section finale. Ambridge, though, could have a tougher challenge with a game at third-place Beaver tonight. The Bridgers defeated the visiting Bobcats 58-42 on Jan. 8. But the Bobcats have plenty of incentive as they'd like to hold onto third place at 8-3.

Fourth place remains up for grabs as Hopewell is currently fourth at 4-6, and Ellwood City is fifth at 3-7. Those two teams meet tonight at Ellwood City. This figures to be a very good game between two desperate teams. In the teams' first meeting at Hopewell, the Vikings eked out a 49-45 victory.