Name: Sam Talorico
High School: Beaver
Weight Class: 145
Name: Sam Talorico
Name: Daylon Carter
Sport: Boys Basketball
Background: Carter had a big week last week, scoring 97 points in three Ambridge wins, while his teammates totaled 94. He scored 33 against Ellwood City, 37 against Hopewell, and 27 against Avonworth. He has been successful all year, averaging over 25 points per game, despite drawing the attention of every defense. He was especially dominant against Hopewell, scoring 25 in the first half and finishing with 13 rebounds and six steals in addition to his 37 points.
A week ago, Lincoln Park took advantage of a weekend showcase and handled New Castle at Geneva College's Metheny Fieldhouse 59-47 on Saturday. That same day, Central Valley edged Riverside in double overtime 63-60 and Beaver Area edged Quaker Valley 55-53.
This past weekend, the venue was Montour High School and the day was Sunday but the showcase was even more impressive. Lincoln Park again participated – it seems the Leopards will play anyone, anywhere – but came up short against Class AAAA Chartiers Valley, 89-72, despite Nelly Cummings' 33 points. Aliquippa also crossed classes and handled Class A Monessen 95-71 in a game that saw the Quips jump to a big lead and coast with Stephon McGinnis scoring 32.
In the very first game, Ambridge defeated Avonworth 63-55 in a game that had to feel awkward for Avonworth coach Dan Bradley. During football season, Bradley is the head coach at Ambridge. In the finale of the day, host Montour fell to Class AAAA Gateway 52-46.
Cornell senior Dane Jackson put another scoring showcase Friday night, scoring 51 against Rochester. Earlier this season, he has scored 40 points twice and 45 once. The Pitt football recruit wasn't the only player putting up big numbers that night, though.
Ambridge senior Daylon Carter put up 37 against Hopewell and Beaver Area sophomore Darius Wise posted 35. Then, over the weekend, Lincoln Park's Nelly Cummings had 33 points, Aliquippa's Stephon McGinnis 32, and Carter 27 at the Pittsburgh Basketball Club's showcase at Montour.
For years, the adage has been that defense wins championships, but this year, there could be a distinct offensive flavor to the playoffs – one of the games Sunday featured Seton-LaSalle edging Vincentian 100-89 and both of those are playoff teams.
Regardless of whether offense or defense wins titles, though, Aliquippa is in good position. The Quips lead local teams in scoring with an average of 78.6 points per game and lead local teams in scoring defense at 42.4 ppg.
The regular season still has two weeks left to play, but the playoff picture has fewer question marks than normal at this point for local teams.
In Class AAA, Beaver Falls and Montour (on a hot streak now with five wins in the last six games) are both already in. Ambridge and West Allegheny each need just one more win to clinch a postseason berth. The only real battle remaining is in Section 2-AAA where Central Valley, Beaver Area, Hopewell, Blackhawk, and Ellwood City are all technically alive but it looks to come down to Central Valley and Beaver. Central Valley currently has a one-game lead but the teams have split so, if they tie, both advance.
In Class AA, Aliquippa, Lincoln Park, and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart have already qualified. Riverside has a two-game lead over Shenango for the final spot in Section 1-AA and Burgettstown has a one-game lead over Chartiers-Houston in Section 3-AA. New Brighton and South Side Beaver are also technically alive but need a lot of help.
In Class A, Cornell needs one more win to clinch a playoff spot. Rochester trails the final playoff spot by two games with four section games to play so the Rams face a challenge.
Blackhawk High girls basketball coach Steve Lodovico enjoys pushing his team to do well against unfamiliar opponents.
That's why the Cougars play such a competitive schedule.
From the Blackhawk Tip-Off Tournament that featured three defending state champions throughout the season, the Cougars have played a highly competitive schedule.
That continued this past Tuesday when Blackhawk captured a 71-64 victory over Norwin. It was a win that improve the Cougars' overall record to 13-3. The loss was just the third of the season for the Knights. They are 13-3 overall.
There's little doubt that tonight's game between Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers and the homestanding Carlynton Cougars features two teams headed for the WPIAL's Class AA tournament.
The only question might well be which team will enter the tournament as the Section 5-AA champion.
As things stand currently, OLSH's Chargers hold the cards as they are 13-2 overall and a sparkling 7-0 against section rivals. One of those seven wins was a 41-26 victory over the Cougars on Dec. 22.
The Cougars lost two more games in a row to Beaver Area (51-38) and Canon-McMillan (49-37) in last month's California University Hoopfest. The Cougars then won four games in a row -- three to section opponents -- before losing to South Park, 76-54, in the Pittsburgh Classic at Ambridge High.
It's fairly certain that Blackhawk and Ambridge will be two of the representatives from Section 2-AAA when the WPIAL Class AAA girls basketball tournament gets under way next month.
But there's a key game tonight as Hopewell visits Beaver. That game could go a long way in determining which two teams will be the third and fourth representatives at the tournament.
Beaver has played solidly all season, and the Bobcats are in third place in the section with a 6-3 record. Hopewell is in fourth place with a 4-4 record. It appears that these four teams -- Blackhawk, Ambridge, Beaver and Hopewell -- will be the only teams from this section in the tournament as Ellwood City, New Castle and Central Valley have a combined total of four victories among the three teams.
The following players from the West have been selected to play in PIHL All-Star games.
Justin Bioni, Defenseman, Moon
Anthony Dominick, Goaltender, West Allegheny
Ryan Durkin, Goaltender, Moon
Austin Murphy, Defenseman, Moon
Alex Ottaviani, Forward, Moon
Ryan Rohm, Forward, West Allegheny
Jake Muzik, Goaltender, Montour
Michael Skoff, Defenseman, Montour
Tyler Cerankowski, Forward, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
Antoni Chirgott, Forward, Beaver
Spencer D’Hondt, Defenseman, Central Valley
Austin Doby, Defenseman, Beaver
Cameron Drake, Forward, Central Valley
Evan Komlenic, Forward, Beaver
Joe Line, Defenseman, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
Below is a review of the West posts that appeared Sunday, January 18 through Saturday, January 24.
Name: Megan Wurst
High School: West Allegheny
Background: West Allegheny junior diver Megan Wurst has proven herself on some of the biggest stages this season. A returning WPIAL qualifier, Wurst is one of the top divers in the area. Last year at the WPIAL Class AA diving championships, Wurst was one of the best. She finished seventh with a score of 339.65. This year Wurst and the Indians moved up to Class AAA. Despite the move up in classification, Wurst still figures to be a PIAA hopeful at the event. At the West Allegheny Christmas Invitational, Wurst placed second in the field of 12 divers. She scored a 246.85 to finish just behind Quaker Valley sophomore Reilly Diggins (256.60). At the Big Six meet at Central York on January 17, Wurst won the diving competition. She scored a 252.90 to overcome Central York's Courtney Seitzinger who entered as the top seed.
Less than one month after capturing the team title at their own Christmas Invitational, the West Allegheny girls traveled to Central York High School and won the Big Six meet, outlasting South Fayette, the second-place finisher at the Christmas Invitational also, and the hosts. The Indians totaled 483 points to take the team title, just edging South Fayette (471) and Central York (455) and also beating Boiling Springs (295), Scranton Prep (203) and Lancaster Catholic (159). West Allegheny was able to overcome two second-place finishes in relays to South Fayette by getting strong individual swims and plenty of depth.
One of the best distance freestylers in the state over the last four seasons, West Allegheny's Jarod Kehl has set records in the 200 and 500 freestyle all around Western Pennsylvania. Now Kehl has his name on a few record books in Central Pennsylvania as well. The annual Big Six meet at Central York High School has been one of Kehl's favorite meets of the season. Held every January the meet brings together two of the top WPIAL teams, West Allegheny and South Fayette, with the likes of Central York, Scranton Prep, Lancaster Catholic and Boiling Springs. Kehl, a University of Kentucky recruit, set the meet record in the 500 freestyle last season when he swam it in 4:37.66. This year Kehl once again won the event but he was unable to improve on his record. He finished with a time of 4:39.20 which was over 20 seconds faster than the next closest competitor.
Carlynton and South Park are paired up in The Pittsburgh Classic Girls Basketball Tournmanet held at Ambridge High School, Saturday, January 17, 2015. South Park prevails defeating Carlynton 76-54.
Photos by Marilyn C. Schwilm, Tri-State Sports & News Service
Though Montour doesn’t really have much of a chance of catching either Quaker Valley or Mars in the top-heavy Class A Tier 1 Western Conference, the Spartans do have an opportunity to move up to third place and perhaps make some waves once the postseason begins.
Montour (9-7-0) is currently in a dogfight for third with Thomas Jefferson (10-6-0) and sits two points behind the Jaguars as each team has played 16 games. The two teams split their two games this season with the Spartans taking a 5-1 decision at home on Dec. 22 and were tagged with a road loss on Jan. 8.
It will be a tough go, but if Montour survives the brutal stretch at the end of the season, it will be as close to playoff tested as any team in the tournament. The Spartans will play Freeport, Gateway, Deer Lakes, Quaker Valley, Erie McDowell and Mars to finish it out. Take away the two last place teams, Gateway and McDowell, as the combined record of the other four is 53-12-2.
If Central Valley was playing in the Class C Southern Conference it would be in a first place tie and in a battle for the PIHL playoffs.
As it stands, however, the Warriors play in the loaded Northern Conference. And qualifying for the playoffs is closer to becoming a fantasy.
Though Central Valley (5-6-2) won its first game after the 23-day holiday break, 5-2, on Jan. 15 against John Marshall, it may have dug itself too a big a hole to climb from. The Warriors currently sit eight points behind second place Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (10-3-0) and, though they have two games left with the Chargers, they also have to play undefeated Carrick (14-0-0) twice, including a game tonight at 8:40at the Ice Castle in Castle Shannon.
Central Valley did, however, receive some good news on Wednesdayas junior defenseman Spencer D’Hondt was selected to play in his second PIHL all-star game. Though he will be joined by sophomore Cameron Drake and coach Walt Scott, they will be on opposite teams because of the format of the games, which will be played Feb. 8at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Complex.
Name: Robbie Halvin
School: Beaver Area
Background: A first-time all-star this season, the senior netminder has put up some outstanding numbers while splitting time with James Scisson. Halvin is 4-4-0 with a sparkling 2.37 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage, numbers that both rank him second behind Harborcreek’s Hunter Meyette (.936) among goaltenders with at least five decisions.
Beaver coach Chris Albright: “He’s one of the best kids off the ice, too. He’s a great kid and we have a lot of fun on the ice and he’s really trustworthy in the net. He’s very vocal in the net, he always lets the defense know what’s going on and you can always hear Robbie on the ice helping his team out.”
Here's this week's edition of Craig Meyer's West High School Basketball Notebook.
"There's a paradoxical quality to the Sto-Rox girls basketball team this season.
In many respects, the Vikings are where coach Ryan Kacsur hoped they would be by his third season, standing as a program that has made noticeable strides since he first took over.
But if you ask if he expected his 2014-15 team to be where it is now, you're bound to get a chuckle.
"Not one bit," he said with a laugh."
Drew Karpen profiles the Lincoln Park boys basketball team.
"How do you measure the lasting ability of a high school program to maintain elite status? Of course it helps to have the continuous influx of talent, but all good programs are going to have to go through adversity.
It is how they fight through that adversity that separates them from the rest of the class.
Over the past year, the Lincoln Park basketball program has dealt with plenty of adversity. After a season where the Leopards went 30-1 and hoisted the Class A WPIAL and PIAA trophies, the squad received some good and bad news.
This year the Leopards jumped up to Class AA but had to do so without stars Ryan Skovranko and Elijah Minnie, who graduated, and their main star, Maverick Rowan, who transferred to Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla."
Nicholas Tolomeo profiles the Quigley girls basketball team.
"It was six up and six down for the Quigley Catholic girls basketball team in Class A Section 1 play.
Coach Bill DelTondo had to be pleased with the start but hardly was surprised.
His team has not lost a section contest since Feb. 3, 2011. It has a 44-game winning streak in the section.
DelTondo especially was pleased with how his team has played outside of the section.
The Spartans stepped up to Class AA to defeat Freedom, Beaver, South Side Beaver and Steel Valley, and to Class AAA to defeat Quaker Valley and Central Valley."
- Hockey: Improved Beaver feeding off youth
- Wrestling: Montour wrestler No. 1
- Photo Journal: Girls Basketball - Riverside vs. Hopewell The Pittsburgh Classic (Jan. 17)
- Photo Journal: Girls Basketball - Hopewell vs. Riverside The Pittsburgh Classic (Jan. 17)
- Alumni Update - Seairra Barrett (California University of Pennsylvania)
- Alumni Update - Admire Carter (Slippery Rock)
- Alumni Update - Jaclyn Watkins (Thiel)
- Alumni Update - Nick Goodell (Penn State)
- Alumni Update - Umar Moore (Bethany)
- Alumni Update - Chaquille Pratt (Slippery Rock)
- Wrestling: West Feature Athlete - Carlynton's Logan Witwicki
- Football: Blackhawk coach announces his retirement
- Boys Basketball: Lincoln Park wins showdown of defending state champs
- Boys Basketball: West Feature Athlete - Donovan Jeter, Beaver Falls
- Boys Basketball: Cornell's Jackson reaches new high
- Boys Basketball: West playoff picture taking shape
- Girls Basketball: Blackhawk takes on Class AAAA power Norwin
- Sports Town West Week in Review (Jan. 11-17)
- Swimming: West Feature Athlete - Michael Kocher, West Allegheny (2015)
- Swimming: Blackhawk freshman shines at first major meet