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Girls Basketball: Fox Chapel hanging tough in rugged Section 2-AAA

Written by Joe Koch on .

After three games against section rivals, Fox Chapel High's girls basketball team is tied for second place with a 2-1 record along with McKeesport.

In a 72-31 homecourt victory over Woodland Hillls this past Friday, Anna Huwar scored 15 points and Gabby Badway added 14.

The Foxes visit Penn Hills tonight in their final section game of the year. A week from tonight, they play North Hills in the Moon Holiday Tournament. That game will be played at 6 p.m. The other game features the host school against Aliquippa.

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Girls Basketball: Section 3-AAAA has four teams with one loss

Written by Joe Koch on .

Seneca Valley is the only team in Section 3-AAAA that has one team with a perfect section record. That would be Seneca Valley, which is 4-1 overall and 2-0 against section rivals.

Butler and Shaler share second place with 2-1 section records. North Allegheny and Pine-Richland share fourth placed at 1-1. Oakland Catholic, 1-2, and North Hills, 0-2, round out the section.

The only team without a section victory is North Hills at 0-3. But the Indians have shown some fight as they are 3-4 overall with non-section victories over Hopewell, Allderdice and Shady Side Academy.

Following Friday night's 58-33 loss at Seneca Valley, the Indians meet Fox Chapel in the Moon Tournament at 6 p.m. on Dec. 29.

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Swimming: North Feature Athlete - North Allegheny's Eben Krigger

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Name: Eben Krigger
High School: West Allegheny
Grade: 10
Sport: Swimming

North Allegheny sophomore Eben Krigger appears poised to be the next great distance freestyler to come out of North Allegheny. A WPIAL qualifier as a freshman, Krigger took fifth and tenth in the 200 and 500 freestyle. He finished behind teammates, second-place Sam Rutan in the 200 freestyle, and first and second-place Rutan and Zachary Buerger in the 500 freestyle, at WPIALs last year. Rutan and Buerger have since graduated, leaving Krigger as the top returning distance freestyler on the team.

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Swimming: Highlands sophomore shines in early-season showdown

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

In February at the WPIAL Class AA swimming championships, Highlands' Bailey Bonnett and Riverside's Erica King turned a lot of heads with their performance in the 500 freestyle. Making their WPIAL debut, the freshmen both qualified for the finals. King swam a 5:22.89 to finish seventh while Bonnett captured WPIAL gold with a 5:00:24, outracing Freeport's Bria Otwell (5:02.89).

In a non-section dual meet on December 5 this season, the sophomores had a chance to renew acquaintances. Bonnett and King went head-to-head in their premier event, the 500 freestyle. Bonnett once again won but the gap may be narrowing. Bonnett swam a 5:07.26, King swam a 5:25.55, less than three seconds off her WPIAL-qualifying time. Bonnett also won the 200 individual medley, her other WPIAL gold-medal event from last season.

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North Allegheny sets five pool records at Mt. Lebanon

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

The one-year record board at the one-year old Mt. Lebanon pool was no match for the North Allegheny girls swim team. The Lady Tigers opened the regular season in style with a 111-73 dual meet win over Mt. Lebanon that included five pool records. Freshman Ann Juneau made a splash in her varsity debut, setting pool records in the 200 IM (2:05.00) and the 100 breaststroke (1:04.99). Juneau teamed with veterans, senior Morgan Soulia, junior Erin Kuhn and sophomore Anna Verardi on a 200 medley relay that also set a pool record with a time of 1:48.00. Soulia and sophomore Lauren McGrath set individual pool records too. Soulia did so in the 100 freestyle (51.65) and McGrath earned hers in the 200 freestyle (1:52.83).

Other individual winners for North Allegheny were senior Julia Vespoli in diving with a 242.50, Kuhn in the 100 butterfly with a 59.72, junior Gianna Caputo in the 500 freestyle with a 5:13.21 and senior Charlie Brickner in the 100 backstroke with a 58.62. A number of other North Allegheny swimmers had strong season debuts. Freshman Kristine Mihm, sophomores Caitlyn Edwards and Daniella Torres and junior Katie Wright took third in the 200 medley relay, recording a time of 1:54.10. Brickner finished second behind teammate McGrath in the 200 freestyle, swimming a time of 1:56.14. Wright and Verardi finished 3-4 in the 50 freestyle with respective times of 24.71 and 24.72. In the 200 freestyle relay, Soulia, Wright, Verardi and McGrath swam a 1:36.95 that was good for second place. And in the 100 breaststroke, to go along with Juneau's pool-record swim, Kuhn and Verardi swam times of 1:06.79 and 1:08.66 to give North Allegheny a clean sweep of the top three spots in the event.

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Football: 2014 Post-Gazette Coach of the Year - Eric Kasperowicz

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White profiles the 2014 Post-Gazette Coach of the Year, Pine-Richland's Eric Kasperowicz.

"Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz likes to have his team participate in group activities away from football to promote chemistry and cohesion among the players. Earlier this year, the team had an outing at "Go Ape," a treetop adventure course in North Park.

On the field, Kasperowicz took the Rams on an adventure they hadn't seen before in WPIAL Class AAAA. Kasperowicz had Pine-Richland go crazy over winning.

Since moving up to Class AAAA in 2008, Pine-Richland had never won more than five games in a season. In only his second season as coach, Kasperowicz guided the Rams to a WPIAL Class AAAA championship and a runner-up finish in the PIAA.

It was certainly a memorable run for Pine-Richland, and for his efforts, Kasperowicz has been selected the Post-Gazette Coach of the Year. The award takes into consideration all WPIAL and City League coaches."

 

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Hockey: Berner notches his third four-goal game

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Brett Berner is having a senior season to remember for North Hills.

The all-star forward netted four more goals Monday night to lead the Indians to a 7-5 victory against Plum. The win improved the Indians to 6-5 on the season and gave Berner is third four-goal of the season.

Berner continues to lead Class AA in goals (21) and points (37) and is tied for the league lead in assists (16). He is closing in his marks from last season, when he finished 11th in the classification in scoring with 45 points (23 goals, 22 assists). 

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Hockey: Haberstroh helps Yellowjackets stay hot

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Stone Haberstroh scored twice and added two assists to lift Freeport to a 5-3 win against Hempfield Monday night in a battle of potential Class A Penguins Cup contenders.

The win marked the sixth in a row for the Yellowjackets, who at 8-3 are now tied for fifth in Class A. Hempfield fell to 9-3 with the loss.

Haberstroh has been particularly hot during Freeport’s winning streak. The junior forward had just one goal and three assists in Freeport’s first five games, but has tallied 13 goals and 21 assists over the past six games. Four of his 13 goals during the win streak have been game-winners.

Haberstroh is tied for 11th in Class A in points with 25, as is his teammate, Robert Reichenbaugh. Reichenbaugh is fifth in the league with 19 assists. 

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Hockey: North Feature Athlete – Butler’s Clay Bachman

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Name: Clay Bachman
School: Butler
Grade: 12
Sport: Hockey

Background: Bachman, a 2013 PIHL all-star, has been one of the top goaltenders in Class AAA this season. He is third in saves and second in save percentage (.923) among goaltenders that have played at least half of their teams’ games. He’s also tied for second in the class in wins (six) and tied for first in shutouts (two) for the 7-3-3 Tornadoes. 

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Brad Everett's North High School Basketball Notebook (Dec. 18, 2014)

Written by Brad Everett on .

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

"The North Allegheny boys basketball team has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season, as the Tigers once again have a multitude of gifted players.

When the Tigers open their Christmas presents and sort through their stockings, they'll come to a quick realization: Having a lump of "Cole" is actually a pretty good thing.

Cole Constantino is a senior guard for North Allegheny and one of the top players in Class AAAA. This Cole is a cool customer, with his all-around play vaulting North Allegheny to a 4-0 start for the fourth season in a row. The Tigers (1-0 in Section 3) hoped to extend the win streak to five Tuesday when they played at section rival Pine-Richland.

"I think he's a tough matchup because he can really drive it to the basket and get to rim, and he can shoot," North Allegheny coach Dave DeGregorio said. "Physically, he's a very strong kid. It's just a tough matchup because he can take you inside or outside.""

 

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Girls Basketball: Mars won't hold anything back

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles the Mars girls basketball team.

"In years past, the Mars Area girls basketball team would stick with its basic defense and run standard offensive sets.

This year with three four-year starters returning, Planets coach Tony Howard thought now might be a good time to open things up.

He wasted no time in doing so.

After a season-opening 71-49 win against California in the Slippery Rock tipoff tournament, Mars advanced to the finals to play the host team.

"In the past, we had been a one-horse show," Howard said. "With our experience coming back, we were able to change up some defenses on a short rest and execute.""

 

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Football: Pine-Richland's comeback falls short

Written by Joe Koch on .

Joe Koch profiles the Pine-Richland football team.

"Phrases such as "Instant Classic" are often bandied about when it comes to great high school, college and professional football games. Sometimes, that term is a little overblown.

But in the case of St. Joseph's Prep's 49-41 victory against Pine-Richland in the PIAA Class AAAA championship game last Saturday night at Hersheypark Stadium, the term is warranted.

"We showed what a team should look like," Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz said. "We felt that if there was any time on the clock, we had a chance to win the game. Twenty years from now, these guys will know [this game] was a loss, but they'll remember they got so much from this game. They know that if you work hard, things will happen."

Trailing 42-21 with 9:25 remaining in the game, the Rams embarked upon a furious comeback that culminated in three touchdown passes from Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year Ben DiNucci to Antonio Battaglia from 4 yards out and successive touchdown passes from DiNucci to D'ondre Gastion from 23 yards and 31 yards, respectively."

 

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Wrestling: Thin but talented lineup gives Shaler a shot to end drought

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles the Shaler wrestling team. Read his story below.

The Shaler Area wrestling team opened the season with a respectable 3-2 record at the Hampton Dawg Duals, held Dec. 5-6, but the Titans record does not tell the whole story.

Shaler opened the one-day tournament with a 42-34 win against Mount Pleasant, then posted a 39-28 upset of Hempfield Area in the second round. After a earning a bye in round three, the Titans dominated Ligonier Valley, 57-18, to up its record to 3-0.

"Ligonier Valley had only seven wrestlers, but in three of the bouts we had a starter go down with an injury," Shaler coach Drew D'Agostino said. "I had to sit all three for the next two matches."

To make matters worse, Shaler suffered a fourth injury in its next match against Hampton.

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Alumni Update - Brian Heinle (Pitt-Greensburg)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

 

GIBSONIA, Pa - The Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference has released this week's men's basketball Player of the WeekHeinle PGU with Pitt-Greensburg's Brian Heinle earning the honors.

Heinle, a senior wing from St. Joeseph high school, helped lead Pitt-Greensburg to a 2-0 week in AMCC play, averaging a team high 17 points per game on 46% shooting. He would also finish 50% (7-14) of his three-point opportunities while averaging 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists over the two wins.  

Heinle currently ranks third among the Bobcats leading scorers, just .8 points behind Jerell Figueroa (Dover, PA, Dover Area) and .1 points behind second leading scorer Rocco Contristano.

Heinle also sits in the fifth spot in the AMCC three-point field goal percentage race with 43.9%.

 

(photo courtesy of Pitt-Greensburg University)

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Boys Basketball: North Allegheny's rally downs Pine-Richland

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White covered Tuesday's game between North Allegheny and Pine-Richland.

2014 1217 NorthAllegheny BBasketball(Photo: Pine-Richland's Paul Nussbaum shot is swatted away by North Allegheny's Keegan Phillips as the Tigers' Ethan Maenza looks on. John Heller/Post-Gazette)

"It was a near-perfect run.

Pine-Richland trailed North Allegheny by 17 points at halftime, but Pine-Richland shot an incredible 94 percent (17 of 18) from the field to start the second half and grabbed a four-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Then North Allegheny put the game on the line, er, behind the 3-point line.

Bang, bang, bang. Three 3-pointers in 70 seconds turned the game back around, and North Allegheny went on to edge host Pine-Richland, 76-74, in a terrific early season WPIAL Class AAAA Section 3 game."

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Boys Basketball: North Feature Athlete - North Allegheny's Cole Constantino

Written by Brad Everett on .

Name: Cole Constantino
School: North Allegheny
Grade: 12
Sport: Boys Basketball
Position: Guard

Background: Constantino, a 6-foot-2 senior combo guard, has gotten off to an outstanding start for the Tigers, who are 4-0 overall and 1-0 in Class AAAA Section 3. Constantino is averaging a team-high 21 points per game and also leads the Tigers in rebounding with seven boards per game. He poured in 25 in a 53-50 win at Mt. Lebanon and followed that up with a 22-point effort against Shaler in the section opener last Friday. He went 9 for 9 from the free-throw line against the Titans.

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Boys Basketball: North Weekly Watch (Dec. 16-22)

Written by Brad Everett on .

Here are a few North games to keep an eye on this week:

Tuesday – North Allegheny at Pine-Richland, 7:30 p.m. – Two of the three undefeated teams in Class AAAA Section 3 – Butler is the other – hook up in an interesting, early-season matchup. North Allegheny has been led by senior Cole Constantino, while Pine-Richland has been paced by freshman Phil Jurkovec. Pine-Richland appears to have the advantage inside, but North Allegheny features excellent guard play. It will likely be at least another week before Pine-Richland gets back its players – Ben DiNucci included – who led the Rams' football team to the PIAA championship game.

Friday – Gateway at North Allegheny, 7:30 p.m. – A challenging week continues for North Allegheny, which hosts Class AAAA No. 2 Gateway in a non-section game. Gateway has not played up to its ranking thus far, beginning the season 3-2. The losses were to Class A Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and Class AAA Indiana. The Gators lost to the Little Indians by 23 points. Still, the Gators have a lot of talent and more size than perhaps any team in the WPIAL. Players like 6-5 Daylon Harris, 6-6 Aiden Howard and 6-7 John Paul Kromka will give the Gators a significant size advantage.

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Boys Basketball: Quaker Valley boasts the top defense in the WPIAL

Written by Brad Everett on .

Quaker Valley has one of the top offenses in Class AA, but it's on the defensive end of the floor where the Quakers have made their biggest mark.

The undefeated Quakers are allowing 34 points per game. That's the best mark in the WPIAL.

Sure, Quaker Valley hasn't exactly played top-notch competition – the combined record of their opponents is 2-13 – but the Quakers have taken care of business nonetheless. Riverside scored 51 points against them, but the Quakers have limited each of their three other foes to 30 points or fewer.

Offensively, the Quakers are averaging 75 points per game, the third best mark in Class AA. Their excellence on both offense and defense have obviously led to some lopsided results. The Quakers have won each of their games by 27 points.

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Boys Basketball: Class AAAA Section 3 at it again

Written by Brad Everett on .

Class AAAA Section 3 lost a pair of heavyweights this year with New Castle and Hampton dropping to Class AAA, but the section appears to be destined for another strong season.

Through the second weekend of the season, Class AAAA Section 3 had a trio of undefeated teams. North Allegheny, Butler and Pine-Richland were all 4-0. Seneca Valley was 3-1.

Butler's early success might be the biggest surprise. Coach Matt Clement's team didn't win their fourth game last season until Jan. 10. The Golden Tornado had started the season 3-9 and went on to finish 3-11 in the section and 7-15 overall. Part of Butler's turnaround can be credited to a much improved offense. The Golden Tornado scored 61 points in their first four games, highlighted by a 104-62 win against Class A No. 1 Vincentian.