Boys Basketball: Coach returns after health issues to lead Cornell

Written by John D'Abruzzo on .

John D'Abruzzo profiles Cornell boys basketball coach Bill Sacco.

2015 0220 Cornell BBasketball(Photo: Cornell's Zacchaeus Humphries drives to the basket against Jefferson-Morgan's Jalen Torres during the Raiders WPIAL Class A first-round victory last Saturday at Baldwin. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"Sitting out this winter and not coaching high school basketball never really crossed Bill Sacco's mind.

Despite spending close to four months confined to hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, the Cornell boys coach could only focus on getting back to his spot the bench.

"[Basketball] really took my mind off things," said Sacco, who is in his 44th season coaching high school basketball. "I wasn't concerned about my health as much as I was concerned about what the team was doing."

Following a recent knee replacement, the 71-year-old Sacco ended up suffering from an infection that eventually spread to his spine. Doctors had to remove the infection and operate through his abdomen."



Swimming: West Feature Athlete - Cornell's Cole Tipper

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Name: Cole Tipper
High School: Cornell
Grade: 12
Sport: Swimming

Background: Cornell senior Cole Tipper enters this weekend's MAC Swimming championships looking to repeat as 100 freestyle champion while also making a run for a 100 butterfly title as well. Tipper took second place last season in the 100 butterfly behind Neshannock's Ian Buckner. Buckner has since graduated after setting the meet record with a time of 51.84 last season. The previous meet record in the event had stood since 1979. Tipper was not far behind, clocking in at 52.6, over two seconds faster than Hopewell's Logan Palochak who could very well be Tipper's biggest competition this season. Tipper is actually the second seed in the event this season with a seed time of 55.16, behind Palochak (53.87). Tipper is the top seed and defending champion in the 100 freestyle with a seed time of 48.64. He will be challenged by Quaker Valley junior Matt Kwalick (49.38) who is seeded second.


Swimming: Cornell relays could surprise at MAC meet

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Fueled by strong relays, the Cornell boys finished sixth last year at the MAC Swim and Dive meet. The relays were mostly built around underclassmen and while most teams are trying to fill holes left by graduation, Cornell appears poised to take advantage of experience and climb the relay standings and the team rankings. Cornell's 200 medley relay finished third last season. Returning from that relay are seniors Logan Donahue and Cole Tipper and sophomore Dan Joyce while Colton Claytor graduated. Ahead of them were Hopewell and Mars but the Vikings lose three seniors and the Planets lose two. Cornell's 400 freestyle relay took fourth and once again, three swimmers are back from it, Tipper, Donahue and senior Braylon Zilner while only Claytor graduated. The top two teams, Mars and Hopewell, each lost two seniors but third-place Quaker Valley will be tough to beat with all four swimmers back. Cornell's 200 medley relay took seventh last year and all the relays could change this year but that one might have the most room for improvement as Zilner and sophomores Nevin Donahue, Austin Winchell and Joyce all return.


Varsity Xtra: Cornell's Jackson dazzles in two sports

Written by Mike White on .

In this week's Varsity Xtra cover story, Mike White profiles Cornell basketball player Dane Jackson.

"Tiny Cornell High School in Coraopolis is the third-smallest public school in WPIAL boys basketball. You might be able to squeeze the entire senior class (50 students) onto one school bus.

But one of the smallest schools in Western Pennsylvania is home to one big-time athlete.

Dane Jackson is a senior at Cornell and brace yourself for the following statement: Jackson belongs in the same class of athletes as Western Pennsylvania legends such as Darrelle Revis, Terrelle Pryor and Major Harris.

No, really. If two-sport athletes were put into classes, Jackson would belong in the WPIAL's gifted program. That's not hyperbole because the facts and statistics prove Cornell most definitely has "Action Jackson.""



Boys Basketball: Cornell's Jackson reaches new high

Written by staff reports on .

Cornell senior Dane Jackson has been a prolific scorer his entire career with the Raiders. He was one of the top returning scorers in the WPIAL this season and reached a single-game high of 40 points last season. His scoring didn't necessarily achieve the desired effect, though, as the Raiders had a winning record but didn't reach the playoffs.

He matched that single game high earlier this season but took it one step further thus past week, scoring 45 against Western Beaver. Last season, the matchup would have been between two top scorers as Western Beaver's Nick Miller averaged 30 points per game but Miller has graduated and Jackson didn't share the spotlight.

The 5-foot-11 senior is enjoying his senior season – one that will likely include the playoffs – but he knows full well that this will be the end of his basketball career. He's committed to playing football next season at Pitt and the change in head coaches didn't cause him any concern. During football season, he played quarterback/defensive back for Quaker Valley under a co-op agreement.