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Girls Basketball: Norwin celebrates first WPIAL title

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Norwin is probably still celebrating the first WPIAL Class AAAA girls basketball championship in school history.

And why not? The Knights 54-34 victory over Penn Hills was surprising not by the fact they defeated the Indians, but that they did it handily.

That euphoria will probably last until today when Norwin (22-3) gets back on the floor and begins preparation for the state tournament. And, by winning, they won't have a long way to go as they will play Pine-Richland (21-5) on Friday at 6 p.m. at Hempfield. But the biggest problem for the Knights comes from the fact that the Rams aren't a typical No. 5 seed from the WPIAL.

Pine-Richland came in second to North Allegheny in Section 3 and knocked both Penn-Trafford and Shaler – two teams that defeated Norwin during the regular season – out of state tournament contention.

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Girls Basketball: East Feature Athlete - Penn Hills' Desiree Oliver

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Name: Desiree Oliver
School: Penn Hills
Grade: 10
Sport: Girls Basketball
Position: Point Guard

Background: Oliver is already one of the most heavily recruited players in the WPIAL, regardless of gender, and has received interest form several top Division I colleges, including Pitt. She is considered to be one of the best point guards in the area. Oliver scored a team-leading 15 points in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals victory against Bethel Park, then went 8 for 19 from the floor for 17 points in the title game loss to Norwin.

 

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Girls Basketball: Burrell looks to bounce back

Written by Keith Barnes on .

All season long it appeared Burrell was headed for a WPIAL championship showdown with Seton-LaSalle.

Instead of a meeting in the WPIAL finals at the Petersen Events Center for the two top-ranked Class AA teams for most of the season, the Rebels rolled over section foe Bishop Canevin for the crown while the Bucs, semifinal victim of the Crusaders, had to instead wait patiently at home to find out their opponent in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs.

As it turns out, Burrell (21-4) will take on District 9 champion Karns City (21-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Clarion University.

For the Bucs, 40 points would make all the difference. When they have scored 40 or more points this year, they are 19-0, but when they score under 40, they are just 2-4.

 

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Girls Basketball: After difficult loss, Riverview regroups for PIAA playoffs

Written by Keith Barnes on .

It was a very difficult week for Riverview.

On Tuesday, the Raiders nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the WPIAL playoffs when they gave No. 2 Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic all it could handle in the semifinals. A late turnover cost the Raiders a key possession in the final 10 seconds and led to a 41-40 loss to the Trojanettes and cost them a shot at their first WPIAL Class A title.

Now, though, Riverview (17-8) must turn its attention to the PIAA Class A playoffs and District 6 runner-up Bishop Guilfoyle (20-5) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Altoona. The Raiders have not been to the state tournament since 2012 when they lost to North Catholic in the WPIAL semifinals before losing to Kennedy Catholic in the first round.

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Swimming: Penn-Trafford diver posting records that will be hard to top

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Records are meant to be broken but it may be a long time beside someone challenges the records held by Penn-Trafford junior diver Joey Ferrence.

At the Westmoreland County Coaches meet on Jan. 30, Ferrence scored a 636.20 to win the event and shatter the meet record from 2008 of 476.90 set by Franklin Regional's Ryan Koter. The 11-dive score of 636.20 also shattered a school record.

Just over two weeks later at the WPIAL Class AAA diving championships, Ferrence won his first WPIA title with a score of 589.40 to outpace North Allegheny senior Andrew Doerfler who scored a 503.05.

"My mindset going in was that hopefully I could win," Ferrence said. "With the dives I had, I knew I would be able to win, and I dove pretty well."

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Swimming: East Feature Athlete - Oakland Catholic's Peyton Kondis

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Name: Peyton Kondis
High School: Oakland Catholic
Grade: 11
Sport: Swimming

Background: Oakland Catholic junior Peyton Kondis had another standout performance at the WPIAL Class AAA championships. She had a pair of top five finishes in her individual events and strong relay swims to help Oakland Catholic place fourth in the WPIAL Class AAA team standings. Kondis swam the 200 yard individual medley in 2:05.47 to place fourth. She notched another top five finish when she swam the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.66 to place third, just 0.04 seconds away from silver and 0.39 away from gold. Kondis capped off her big meet by anchoring Oakland Catholic's 400 freestyle relay that placed fifth.

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Swimming: Oakland Catholic places fourth at WPIAL championships

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Since moving up to WPIAL Class AAA four years ago, Oakland Catholic has shown that it can hang with the WPIAL's biggest and best and do so consistently. At this year's WPIAL Class AAA championships, the Eagles placed fourth out of the 28 teams who scored points. They amassed 152 points, finishing behind only North Allegheny (536.6), Upper St. Clair (240.5) and Mt. Lebanon (180). Oakland Catholic also showed that it will be a force next year as well as most of their strongest swims came from underclassmen. Sophomores Sarah Mautino and Cateri Christinis along with juniors Peyton Kondis and Courtney Coghill opened up the meet with a third-place finish in the 200 yard medley relay. Kondis and Coghill placed fourth and sixth respectively in the 200 IM with times of 2:05.47 and 2:08.38. Continuing in the line of strong distance freestylers from the program, Mautino gave Oakland Catholic a third-place in the 500 freestyle when she swam it in 5:01.17. She followed that up with Oakland Catholic's best individual finish when she took second in the 100 backstroke. It was a fast field and Mautino, the seventh seed, surprised some with her time of 56.58 that was behind only the record-breaking time of 53.59 by North Allegheny's Jacquelyn Du. Kondis and Coghill were third and sixth respectively in the 100 breaststroke and the duo teamed with Mautino and Christinis in the 400 freestyle relay that placed fifth to cap off the meet.

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Brad Everett's East High School Basketball Notebook (Feb. 27, 2015)

Written by Brad Everett on .

Here is this week's edition of Brad Everett's East High School Basketball Notebook.

"Disappointment. Heartbreak. Frustration.

Just as it had a season earlier, the Obama Academy boys team went through those emotions last Saturday after being defeated by Allderdice in the City League championship game for the second year in a row.

There was one major difference, however. Last season, the championship loss ended Obama's season. This time around, the Eagles aren't done quite yet.

Obama has qualified for the PIAA Class AAA tournament. The Eagles (14-6) will play the District 9 champion in a play-in game at a site and time to be determined. Clearfield and Punxsutawney are scheduled to meet for the District 9 title tonight. If the Eagles defeat the District 9 winner, they'll play the WPIAL's third-place finisher in next Friday's first round."

 

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Boys Basketball: Jeannette rewarded for its uphill climb

Written by Justin Criado on .

Justin Criado profiles the Jeannette boys basketball team.

"It's tough sometimes being the "new kid."

There might be some nerves at first, or maybe even pressure to excel.

For the Jeanette High School boys basketball team, that's what it was like in its first year competing in Class A, and the Jayhawks have responded better than could be expected.

"We just made a run," Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. "We started playing together and doing the little things. We grew from those [non-section] games. They started to understand what it took to be successful.""

 

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Hockey: Latrobe prepares for playoff opponent

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles the Latrobe hockey team.

"Two weeks ago, Latrobe had an opportunity to perhaps move up as high as second in the Eastern Conference and maybe earn a bye in the first round of the PIHL Class AA tournament.

Blowout losses to both Armstrong and Hampton, the two teams immediately in front of them in the standings, kept the Wildcats from moving up. Because of those two defeats, Latrobe has known for 10 days exactly where it will finish in the standings.

That fourth-place finish in the conference also means Latrobe (10-8-1) will be at a neutral site for a play-in game as early as Monday. And the Wildcats knew for a week that their opponent was going to be West Allegheny, the fifth-place team out of the Western Conference.

About the only thing they don't know is where and when this preliminary round game will be played."

 

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Diving: Penn-Trafford diver tops WPIAL

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles Penn-Trafford diver Joey Ferrence.

"With no diving experience, freshman Joey Ferrence stopped by the pool at Penn-Trafford High School and decided to give this highly specialized sport a try.

"He started in ninth grade," Penn-Trafford diving coach Mark Martini recalls. "He just showed up one day and said 'How do you do this?"

Now Ference is showing everyone else how it is done.

At the Westmoreland County Coaches meet on Jan. 30, Ferrence scored a 636.20 to win the event and shatter the meet record of 476.90 set by Franklin Regional's Ryan Koter in 2008. The 11-dive score of 636.20 also set a school record."

 

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Wrestling: Jeannette wrestler rallies to win

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles Jeannette wrestler Gio Vonne Sanders.

"Gio Vonne Sanders had a feeling he was in trouble late in his WPIAL Class AA championship bout last Saturday against Mount Pleasant senior Austin Mears.

Not only was this Jeannette sophomore trailing the match, he had less than a minute to come up with something spectacular to swing momentum his way.

"I was surprised," Sanders said. "I had gotten in a good shot and I didn't finish and it was a good move. I just have to finish next time."

And he did exactly that.

Sanders came up with a reverse that gave him the lead, then added a couple of points for a 6-3 victory and his first title in the 145-pound class at South Fayette."

 

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Wrestling: Latrobe, Franklin Regional dominate section tournament

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles the Latrobe and Franklin Regional wrestling teams. Read his story below.

Greater Latrobe set a school record and Franklin Regional tied a school mark at the Class AAA Section 1 wrestling tournament last Saturday at Kiski Area High School.

"We had all 14 entries qualify [for the WPIAL/Southwest Region Tournament] for the first time in school history," Latrobe coach Tad Harbert said. "I'm proud of each and every one of them, especially our young kids. It's a pretty exciting time for our team."

The top five finishers in each weight class qualified for the WPIAL/Southwest Regional Class AAA tournament, which began Thursday at Penn Hills High School.

Latrobe had the most qualifiers, but Franklin Regional won the most Section 1 titles.

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Girls Basketball: Norwin girls hoping for a banner season

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles the Norwin girls basketball team.

"When Alayna Gribble and her teammates walk into the gym at Norwin High School, they sometimes look at banners on the wall that honor the WPIAL championships that teams and athletes from the school have won over the years.

There's none saluting the accomplishments of the girls basketball program, however.

Never has that been closer to being changed.

Norwin will have a chance to make its own history Saturday when it plays in the WPIAL final for the first time. The Knights (20-4) will face Penn Hills (16-9) in the Class AAAA championship game at 7 p.m. at Petersen Events Center."

 

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Wrestling: Franklin Regional standout scratched from regionals

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley reports that Franklin Regional wrestling standout Gus Solomon has been scratched from this weekend's Class AAA WPIAL/Southwest Regional. Read his story below.

Franklin Regional sophomore Gus Solomon, the top seed at 126 pounds, scratched from the Class AAA WPIAL/​Southwest Regional Thursday night at Penn Hills. Solomon (36-3) was ranked No. 1 in the PIAA in Class AAA by papowerwrestling.com.

"I injured my deltoid at the state team tournament and re-injured it last week in the section semifinals," Solomon said. "I also have some tendonitis and a strained rotator cuff. The good news is that it doesn't require surgery and I should recover quickly."

Solomon was ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette all season. He placed third at the Walsh Jesuit Iroman Classic, second at the Powerade Christmas tournament, and first at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament.

"It's very discouraging, but I have to look ahead," said Solomon, who also missed last year's WPIAL tournament with an injury.

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Hockey: Second-place finish likely for Spartans

Written by Keith Barnes on .

All season Hempfield has battled with Deer Lakes for first place in the Class A Tier 1 Eastern Conference.

 

In the end, the Spartans have likely lost the war.

 

After Hempfield allowed four goals to forward Mitchell Rupprecht in a 5-3 loss to the Lancers, the Spartans are tied for first place, a spot they will likely fall from tonight when Deer Lakes plays lowly Erie McDowell in its season finale. A Deer Lakes win will relegate Hempfield to second place and push the Spartans into a bracket with Quaker Valley once the playoffs begin next week.

 

In the meantime, Hempfield (15-5-1) will have nearly a week to await the winner of the preliminary round game between South Fayette and either Thomas Jefferson or Montour.

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Hockey: Vikings still alive for final playoff spot

Written by Keith Barnes on .

A week ago it appeared Central Catholic would be on the outside looking in at the PIHL Class AAA playoffs, but circumstances have changed and it’s looking more and more like the Vikings will claim the eighth and final spot in the tournament.

 

For Central Catholic to qualify for the tournament, Bethel Park (13-6-2) must defeat Mt. Lebanon (8-12-1) this evening, and then the Vikings have to knock off last place State College (2-18-0) when the two teams play tonight at Pegula Ice Center. Central Catholic defeated State College, 5-3, when the teams first played on Jan. 19, while the Black Hawks ousted Mt. Lebanon, 2-1, on Dec. 11 and Bethel Park is 4-1-1 in its last six games.

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Hockey: East Feature Athlete – Latrobe senior Cameron Carr

Written by Keith Barnes on .

 

Name: Cameron Carr

School: Latrobe

Grade: 12

Sport: Hockey

 

Background: One of the more underrated forwards in the area, Carr is solid at both ends of the ice. Switched from defense to forward this season, he has scored only three goals this season but is still tied for third on the Wildcats with 19 points. He had a team-best nine-game point streak from Dec. 4 through Feb. 9. Carr is a very disciplined player and has only 10 penalty minutes this season. He scored 11 goals and had 20 points in 2013-14.

 

Latrobe coach Josh Werner: “He doesn’t get a lot of press, but he is our captain and he doesn’t get noticed for all the things he does out there, but he does things for us that people don’t see. On the penalty kill, he’s going back and playing defense, on the power play he’s playing offense and he’s going around everywhere.”

 

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Alumni Update - Staci Schrecongost (Edinboro)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

 

YORK, Pa. – The PSAC Swimming Championships wrapped up on Sunday at the York YMCA Aquatic Club.Schrecongost EUP

The Edinboro women finished in seventh place out of 13 teams. West Chester won its ninth straight women's  title, totaling 636.5 points. Bloomsburg was second with 511.5 points. Edinboro finished with 241 points.  

Staci Schrecongost highlighted Edinboro's day as the senior won her second PSAC title. After winning the 200-yard freestyle on Friday she touched first in the 100-yard freestyle on Sunday, finishing with a time of 51.27. It was an NCAA provisional time and edged Gannon's Morgan Lydic., who was second with a time of 51.75.

Schrecongost, a Valley graduate, previously finished second in the 500-yard freestyle, as well.

 

(photo courtesy of Edinboro University)