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Photo Journal: Boys Basketball WPIAL AAAA Semifinals - North Allegheny vs. Fox Chapel (Feb. 25)

Written by Marilyn Schwilm on .

Chartiers Valley hosts the WPIAL AAAA Boys Basketball Semifinals, Thursday, February 25, 2015.  Fox Chapel takes on North Allegheny in a passionate game played hard to the finish.  North Allegheny is the victor, defeating Fox Chapel 71-44.  North Allegheny moves on to face Chartiers Valley in the finals at the Peterson Events Center, Saturday, February 28.

Photos by JJ LaBella, Tri-State Sports & News Service

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Photo Journal: Boys Basketball WPIAL AAAA Semifinals - Fox Chapel vs. North Allegheny (Feb. 25)

Written by Marilyn Schwilm on .

Chartiers Valley hosts the WPIAL AAAA Boys Basketball Semifinals, Thursday, February 25, 2015.  Fox Chapel takes on North Allegheny in a passionate game played hard to the finish.  North Allegheny is the victor, defeating Fox Chapel 71-44. 

Photos by JJ LaBella, Tri-State Sports & News Service

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Swimming: Shady Side Academy girls capture first WPIAL crown

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

The Shady Side Academy boys swim team won ten WPIAL swimming and diving team titles from 2000 to 2010. In 2015, it was the girls turn. The Lady Indians won the WPIAL Class AA team title this year, the first in program, history. They tallied 288 points to finish ahead of Derry Area (196), Quaker Valley (186) and 2013 champion South Fayette (165). Defending champion West Allegheny moved up to Class AAA this year and the Shady Side Academy girls took advantage of the opportunity, sweeping all three relays to win in emphatic fashion.

Freshmen Jeanne Lauer and Heather Grune, sophomore Ashley Azzarello and junior Carolina Colville opened the meet by winning the 200 yard medley relay. It was a foursome of freshmen capturing the 200 freestyle relay win with Grune and Lauer joining fellow freshmen Meredith Cummings and Sasha Arefyev. The Indians made it three-for-three on relays when Azzarello, Cummings, Colville and Grune won the 400 freestyle relay.

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Swimming: North Feature Athlete - North Allegheny's Jacquelyn Du

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Name: Jacquelyn Du
High School: North Allegheny
Grade: 12
Sport: Swimming

Background: The University of Pittsburgh's Trees Pool has been home to some remarkable championship performances from WPIAL swimmers. North Allegheny senior Jacquelyn Du's performance this year ranks as one of the all-time best. Du was perfect in every way. She won both her individual events and both her relays and set three WPIAL records. The North Allegheny Lady Tigers also captured the WPIAL Class AAA team title in dominating fashion.

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Swimming: North Hills' Lovasik takes down six-year-old WPIAL record

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

As far as WPIAL records go, six years is an eternity. And when that record is associated with a swimmer named Buerger from North Allegheny, it takes on special significance is someone is able to best it. North Hills senior Brian Lovasik did just that at the WPIAL Class AAA championships this year. He held off two North Allegheny swimmers, freshman Mason Gonzalez and sophomore Eben Krigger and broke North Allegheny alum Jonathan Buerger's 2009 record of 1:39.11. Lovasik won the event with a time of 1:38.39 to break the record and hold off Gonzalez (1:39.63) and Krigger (1:39.68). That was on Friday. One day later, Lovasik took his pen and eraser to the WPIAL record book again, this time in the 100 freestyle. He swam the event in 45.02 to break Mt. Lebanon's John Nappi's 2011 record of 45.14. He won the event by 0.75 seconds, defeating Penn Hills junior Norman Gregory. Lovasik will now advance to the PIAA Class AAA championships at Bucknell University in both events.

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Swimming: Mars diver claims WPIAL title

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

In the span of two years, Taylor Hockenberry went from never competitively diving to be one of the best divers in the state. She proved that in the span of five days in mid-February, when the Mars sophomore won meets and broke records of two of the WPIAL's biggest stages.

"It wasn't natural for me right away," Hockenberry said. "When I first started diving, I wasn't really into that sport. I didn't really care for it at first. Now I really love the sport of diving," Hockenberry said. "It was at the point when I started making goals for myself in diving, that I really started to love the sport."

On Wednesday Feb. 13, Hockenberry won the diving competition at the MAC Swimming and Diving championships at Moon. She scored 493.25 to edge Riverside's Brittany Hart who scored a 488.65. Hockenberry broke the pool record and also broke the MAC meet record of 485.75 set in 2002 by Cassidy Krug, one of the all-time best WPIAL divers and the daughter of Julian and Doe Krug, diving coaches at the University of Pittsburgh where Hockenberry trains year-round.

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

Written by Brad Everett on .

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

"When Jeff Ackermann took over the coaching duties at Pine-Richland in July, he said there was no reason the Rams couldn't compete for a playoff spot, this despite the program not having qualified for the postseason since 2011.

As it turns out, the Rams did more than just compete. Not only did they make the playoffs, but they were playing like a championship contender until seeing their season end in a 49-35 upset loss against Fox Chapel in a WPIAL Class AAAA first-round game last week.

Pine-Richland went 17-5 overall and placed second in Section 3-AAAA with a 9-3 record. It was the most wins compiled by a Rams team since they finished 18-9 and reached the WPIAL semifinals in 2007.

"If you would have told me before the season that we'd finish 17-5, I would have taken it and I would have run with it," Ackermann said. "Obviously, I didn't expect we'd lose in the first round, but I thought going into the playoffs that we were as good as anyone and had a chance to win a championship.""

 

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Boys Basketball: Eden Christian surprising its foes

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Drew Karpen profiles the Eden Christian boys basketball team.

"It can be intimidating playing the No. 1 team in your team's classification.

It is even more intimidating when that team is undefeated and also a team you lost to by double digits twice previously in the regular season.

But intimidation is the last description Eden Christian would tag itself as, especially after conquering Sewickley Academy in the Class A WPIAL quarterfinals last Friday at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in Cranberry.

"Of course everybody was excited," Eden coach Todd Aiken said. "The guys worked hard throughout the season. We emphasize 'team.' It was a team effort. Our team defense is what won the game for us. I was happy for our guys and especially for our seniors.""

 

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Girls Basketball: Junior enjoying ride for North Allegheny

Written by Joe Koch on .

Joe Koch profiles North Allegheny basketball player Abby Gonzales.

"One year ago, North Allegheny was in the middle of a solid playoff run in the WPIAL Class AAAA girls basketball tournament.

But before the Tigers boarded the bus that would take them to Penn Hills for a semifinal game against Hempfield Area, the team received devastating news: Abby Gonzales would not be able to play.

"The day of the WPIAL semifinal game, I found out I was concussed," said Gonzales, the team's point guard. "I was so upset about it. I couldn't even ride on the bus with the team, but I went up anyway and I supported them. It was hard to watch, and I love supporting them. I'm glad that I'm healthy this year and ready for [the playoffs].""

 

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Hockey: North Allegheny coach evaluates the goalie situation

Written by Marky Billson on .

Marky Billson profiles the North Allegheny hockey team.

"It's easy to look at the North Allegheny High School hockey team's "stat sheet" and presume the Tigers have a two-goalie system.

For while Joseph Hubert leads the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League's Class AAA with a .914 save percentage coming into the week, fellow junior Douglas Wild has arguably put up even better statistics this year while playing in a third of North Allegheny's games.

Hubert was 8-2-4 with a 2.01 goals against average. Wild is 7-0 with a 1.98 GAA and a comparable save percentage at .908.

But looks can be deceiving. As the course of the season has gone on, Hubert has received more and more playing time. All but two of the starts since the calendar flipped to 2015 have gone to him."

 

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Diving: Mars girl dives in, wins a WPIAL title

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles Mars diver Taylor Hockenberry.

"Taylor Hockenberry had competed in gymnastics, played soccer and run cross country growing up.

As high school neared she decided to give diving a try.

"It wasn't natural for me right away," Hockenberry said. "When I first started diving, I wasn't really into that sport. I didn't really care for it at first."

Two years later and Hockenberry has much different feelings.

"Now, I really love the sport of diving," Hockenberry said. "It was at the point when I started making goals for myself in diving that I really started to love the sport.""

 

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Wrestling: Avonworth senior advances

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles Avonworth wrestler Darion Trimmer.

2015 0227 Avonworth Wrestling(Photo: Freedom's Kody Komara, left, battles Darion Trimmer of Avonworth in the WPIAL Class AA individual championships Saturday at South Fayette. Komara won the third-place consolation match by decision, 3-1. Cara DeCarlo/Tri-State Sports & News Service)

"Avonworth senior Darion Trimmer had a lot riding on him when he competed in the WPIAL Class AA individual wrestling finals last weekend at South Fayette.

Not only did he have his own expectation of competing for and possibly winning a championship, he had the hopes of the Antelopes athletics department to have a respectable enough finish that could jump-start sagging participation in the program.

Though he didn't come home with a gold medal, he did keep Avonworth alive to compete another day as he finished fourth in the 132-pound weight class and moved on to the two-day PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional tournament, which begins today at Canon-McMillan.

"He did OK, but obviously I want us to win all the time," Avonworth coach Tom Giel said. "It's a tough weight class and the top four kids in that weight class are very aggressive and, if they wrestled six different times, there would be six different outcomes.""

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Wrestling: North coaches elated with extra PIAA berth

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley reports that North Xtra coaches are excited about the district picking up a fourth PIAA berth. Read his story below.

North Allegheny senior Zach Smith knows first hand what it was like to wrestle in the consolation finals of the WPIAL/Southwest Region Class AAA Wrestling Tournament.

In fact, he experienced it twice and knows the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Smith placed fourth in the WPIAL as a 195-pound sophomore, then rebounded with a third-place finish in last year's tournament at the same weight. With only the top three finshers qualifying for a trip to Hershey for the PIAA tournament, Smith was on the outside looking in during his sophomore year.

"It was very disappointing to fall one win short of a PIAA berth as a sophomore," said Smith, who earned his fourth WPIAL berth on Saturday at the Section 3 Tournament at Fox Chapel Area. "Coming that close made me work even harder as a junior. My goal this year is to win WPIAL and PIAA titles."

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Hockey: Yellowjackets earn first point in nearly a month

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

A tough end-of-the-season schedule has Freeport stumbling towards the finish line, but the Yellowjackets earned a hard-fought point Feb. 16.

Michael Frazetta scored with less than three minutes to play as Freeport and Deer Lakes finished in a 5-5 tie.

Freeport (11-8-2) entered the game having lost four straight games, falling to Westmont Hilltop, Thomas Jefferson, Montour and Hempfield. Freeport’s last win was against Mars on Jan. 19.

The Yellowjackets should pick up a win Thursday against a two-win Gateway team. Freeport is already slotted into the No. 3 seed from the Tier 1 Eastern Conference, and will take on Tier 2 Eastern Conference No. 2 seed Bishop McCort in the first round of the PIHL Class A Penguins Cup playoffs.

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Hockey: Talbots, Titans to meet for regular-season title

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

The Class AA Eastern Conference regular-season title will be on the line Friday night when Hampton meets Shaler at Bladerunners-Harmarville at 8:30 p.m.

The Titans (15-3 currently lead the conference by one point over Hampton (14-3-1). Shaler had an opportunity to clinch the title Monday, but fell to Armstrong, 8-5. Alexander Ficorilli had three goals and two assists in the loss.

Hampton, meanwhile, won its fourth straight game, a 7-0 victory over Plum. Sam Commendatore stopped 22 shots for his second shutout of the season, while Michael Stritzinger Jr. recorded a hat trick.

Hampton and Shaler met back in November, with the Titans prevailing, 6-4.

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Hockey: North Feature Athlete – Quaker Valley senior Adam Pilewicz

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Name: Adam Pilewicz
School: Quaker Valley
Grade: 12
Sport: Hockey

Background: Pilewicz added to his incredible season last Thursday with three goals and two assists in the Quakers’ 10-0 rout of Erie McDowell. It was the seventh time this season Pilewicz has scored at least three goals and 11th time he’s notched at least five points. Pilewicz’s 92 points (40 goals, 52 assists) lead Quaker Valley, by one point over Connor Quinn, and rank second in the league.

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Alumni Update - Caleb Smithco (Slippery Rock)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

KENT, Ohio – The Slippery Rock University men's indoor track and field team recorded 21 Pennsylvania State Athletic ConferenceSmithco SRU qualifying marks, three NCAA provisional marks and broke one school record Saturday at the Kent State Tune Up.

Among the 21 PSAC qualifying marks recorded by The Rock men Saturday were nine improvements on previous season bests and two athletes that used the last chance tune up to hit the qualifying mark for the first time this season.

The headliner on the day for Slippery Rock came in the event that finished last as Caleb Smithco won the triple jump with a big personal best that shattered his own program record. His leap of 15.23 meters vaults him up to the No. 1 spot in the PSAC this season and the fifth best mark in Division II.

His previous best of 14.76 meters established a new SRU record back at the beginning of the season.

Smithco, a Hampton graduate, also reached the PSAC standard in the long jump Saturday with a fourth place finish and a leap of 6.61 meters.

 

(photo courtesy of Slippery Rock University)

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Alumni Update - Anthony Peluso (Seton Hill)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

The Griffin men's lacrosse team swept the opening ECAC Division II Lacrosse Weekly Awards as the Griffins picked up all four award winners.

Senior attack Marc Piche was named the Offensive Player of the Week. Senior goalkeeper Brady Lawrence was named the Defensive Player of the Week. Junior midfielder Anthony Peluso was named the Specialist of the Week and freshman midfielder Shane Pettke was named the Rookie of the Week.  

Its the first time the Griffins have swept the weekly ECAC awards.

Peluso, a North Allegheny graduate, began his junior season by winning 43-of-47 faceoffs in a pair of wins for the Griffins. The junior midfielder recorded 13 groundballs and scored a goal off of a faceoff against Chestnut Hill.

 

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Alumni Update - Shaun Berry (Point Park)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

KENT, Ohio -- Point Park University men's indoor track and field competed Saturday at the Kent State Tune-up, and it was a couple of near-national meet qualifications from the Pioneers' triple jumpers that highlighted the day.

Shaun Berry, a freshman from Shady Side Academy, placed seventh in the triple jump, and they both narrowly missed qualifying for the NAIA indoor national championship meet.

Berry leaped for a school record of 13.94 meters to place seventh in the triple jump. Berry came up 6 centimeters (2.3 inches) short of qualifying.

Berry was also 17th in the high jump at 1.80 meters (5 feet, 10.75 inches).