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Alumni Update - Katie Fischer (Edinboro)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

INDIANA, Pa. - The Edinboro University women's basketball team suffered a cold shooting second half en route to a 73-60 loss toFischer Boro Indiana (Pa.) in the Kovalchick Complex.


With the loss, the Fighting Scots have been swept by the Crimson Hawks for a second consecutive season. Edinboro is now 16-8 overall and 11-7 in the PSAC West, while IUP improves to 16-6 and 13-5 in conference play.


Katie Fischer led the Fighting Scots offense, totaling 20 points and five assists.


Fischer, an Ambridge graduate, increased her season assist total to 154, moving her into seventh all-time among the single-season assist leaders.

 

(photo courtesy of Edinboro University)

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Boys Basketball: It was a furious final weekend for a few West teams

Written by staff reports on .

As the evening dawned on the last weekend of the season, Beaver Area, Blackhawk, Carlynton, and Central Valley were all alive fighting for playoff berths. Once all the scores were in, though, only Central Valley won (over Hopewell) and the Warriors were the only team to advance to the WPIAL playoffs.

For the rest of the local playoff field that was already clinched, though, the weekend was about building momentum and, surprisingly, there isn't as much momentum as one would expect.

The only one of the five Class AAA teams to enter the playoffs with longer than a one-game winning streak is Ambridge ... and theirs is only two games.

In Class A, Cornell is also entering the playoffs after a loss in its last game.

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Boys Basketball: West Feature Athlete - Ambridge's Aaron Hilzendeger

Written by staff reports on .

Name: Aaron Hilzendeger
High School: Ambridge
Grade: 9
Sport: Boys Basketball
Position: Forward

Background: A 6-foot-5 freshman, Hilzendeger made nine of 10 shots from the floor, including five 3-pointers, in a 73-62 win over Blackhawk that allowed Ambridge to enter the playoffs on a hot streak. Earlier in the season, he scored 33 in a game and will give the Bridgers a solid second scorer behind senior Darius Lawrence for opponents to defend. A 6-5 three-point shooter can provide matchup problems for opponents.

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Boys Basketball: For West teams, not all records are created equal

Written by staff reports on .

With the playoffs looming on the horizon, fans will start looking at overall records and trying to determine who the favorite teams are and who are the underdogs. But, as will be proven again this year, not all records are created equal.

Teams have no choice who they play in section games, but the non-section games go a long way to preparing for the playoffs and not all that preparation was the same. Here are how the non-section scheduled of 10 local teams looked:

In Class AAA, Beaver Falls and Montour both played six playoff teams in their eight non-section games. Central Valley played five playoff teams in their eight games. Ambridge played two playoff teams in their four games against WPIAL opponents plus three games came in an Alaska trip. West Allegheny played three playoff teams in their nine non-section games.

In Class AA, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart played six playoff teams in its seven games while Lincoln Park also played six playoff teams in seven games plus two games against non-WPIAL teams. Four of Aliquippa's six opponents were playoff teams plus one out of state team. Riverside played two playoff teams in seven games plus played two games against non-WPIAL opponents.

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Boys Basketball: Seasons end for West teams in tough sections

Written by staff reports on .

If the WPIAL had an NIT, local teams would be top-seeds in two of the classes. But, alas the WPIAL doesn't have a second tournament to give teams that may have played in a very tough section a chance to shine. So the seasons for Beaver Area and Blackhawk in Class AAA and Carlynton and South Side in Class AA won't be extended.

In Class AAA, Beaver and Blackhawk were both eliminated with losses on the final night of section play but would probably do some damage in a tournament. Playing in a section with New Castle, Beaver Falls, and Ambridge limits playoff opportunities but both teams defeated teams that did make the playoffs. With 10 wins, Blackhawk would enter the fictional tournament as the top seed and Beaver, at 9-12 would be second.

In Class AA, South Side played in an even tougher section (Aliquippa, Quaker Valley, OLSH, and Avonworth) but were able to finish 10-12 and would enter a second chance tournament as a top seed. Carlynton, which lost its playoff spot in an overtime loss Friday, would also be highly seeded with its 9-12 record.

 

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Alumni Update - Seairra Barrett (California University of Pennsylvania)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

CALIFORNIA – Behind five players scoring in double-digits, the Vulcans eclipsed the century mark for the first timeBarrett Calu since the 2012-13 season on Saturday afternoon while cruising to a 101-58 victory against Davis & Elkins in non-conference play at the Convocation Center.

 

With the win, the California University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team improves to 16-5 overall behind a 10-1 mark at home.

 

The Vulcans have now scored at least 100 points in a game nine times in the last decade, including four times during the 2008-09 campaign. Meanwhile, Davis & Elkins falls to 9-12 this season.


Sophomore Seairra Barrett, a Central Valley graduate, posted 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting and tallied eight rebounds, two assists and three steals.

 

(photo courtesy of California University of Pennsylvania)

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Alumni Update - Nate Bellhy (California Pa.)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

CALIFORNIA – The California University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team cut a 15-point deficit in the first halfBellhy CalU down to two points in the closing minutes before suffering a 71-65 loss to Pitt-Johnstown on Wednesday night at the Convocation Center in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West play.

 

With the loss, the Vulcans fall to 7-16 overall and 4-13 in league action after dropping their fifth-straight contest. Meanwhile, the Mountain Cats improve to 14-7 this season behind a 9-6 mark in conference play and a current four-game winning streak.

 

Senior Nate Bellhy scored a season-high 17 points after shooting 6-of-14 from the floor, including four-of-eight from beyond the arc. He also collected six rebounds while playing 21 minutes off the bench.


Bellhy, a Fort Cherry graduate, scored in double-digits for the first time since Dec. 12 and after being held scoreless on Saturday for the first time this season. 

 

(photo courtesy of Washington & Jefferson College)

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Girls Basketball: OLSH leads three West teams from Section 5-AA into playoffs

Written by Joe Koch on .

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart may have had a few bumps along the way, but the Chargers played well enough to run through Section 5-AA with an unblemished 12-0 record and will enter the WPIAL Class AA girls basketball tournament with a 19-3 record following Friday's regular-season finale 65-26 victory at non-section rival Derry.

OLSH's losses came against three WPIAL playoff participants: Class AAAA Peters Township (61-25) and two Class A teams -- Class A Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (56-35) and Vincentian Academy (50-38).

Their most memorable victories came against Class AAAA McKeesport (50-39), Section 2-AAA champion Ambridge (55-40) and two victories against Section 5-AA runner-up Carlynton by margins of 39-27 and 51-32.

OLSH is averaging 56.9 points a game entering the tournament against all rivals, and the Chargers are yielding 31.4 points per contest. Against section rivals, they averaged 62.7 points a game and gave up 23.1 points a game.

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Girls Basketball: Quigley Catholic enters playoffs with impressive section history

Written by Joe Koch on .

Since Feb. 3, 2011, the Quigley Catholic High girls basketball team hasn't lost a game to a section opponent. The Spartans hope to carry the momentum of five consecutive unbeaten seasons against section rivals and a 16-5 overall record into today's regular-season finale at Ringgold and into the WPIAL Class A tournament that begins later this week.

The last team to beat Quigley in a section game was Rochester by a 51-38 margin back in 2011. Since then, the Spartans have won 58 games in a row against Section 1-A rivals.

Gabbie Smith has been the Spartans' prolific scoring leader. Through 19 games, she was averaging 29.4 points a game, second only to Imani Christian's Cali Konek, who is averaging 46 points a game.

While averaging 57.6 points a game, the Spartans have been solid on defense, too, giving up 43.2 points a game.

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Girls Basketball: Ambridge sets tone in Section 2-AAA

Written by Joe Koch on .

What's familiar about the playoff qualifiers from Section 2-AAA is that Blackhawk is one of the four teams that will participate in the WPIAL Class AAA tournament that begins later this week.

What's not familiar is where the Cougars finished the regular season.

That's because Ambridge had a season for the ages as the Bridgers won a winner-take-all for section honors with a 53-42 victory over the host Cougars this past Thursday. The win gave Ambridge an overall record of 19-3 and a Section 2-AAA record of 13-1. The win also avenged a 64-63 loss the Cougars dealt the Bridgers on Jan. 11.

The loss gave Blackhawk a section record of 12-2, and the Cougars enter tonight's regular-season finale against non-section opponent Upper St. Clair with a 15-6 record.

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Girls Basketball: Neshannock wins close battle in Section 1-AA

Written by Joe Koch on .

All season long, four teams have fought for supremacy in Section 1-AA in WPIAL girls basketball.

When the season ended this past week, Neshannock emerged as the winner with a section record of 10-2 and enters today's regular-season finale at Aliquippa with an overall record of 17-3.

Riverside is right behind the Lancers with a 9-3 section record and an overall mark of 18-3. The Panthers visit non-section foe Union at 6 p.m. today before the postseason begins.

Mohawk and Shenango placed third and fourth with respective section records of 8-4 and 7-5. The Warriors hope to build upon an overall record of 17-4, but it won't be easy as they host another playoff-bound team – Class A power Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic – at 7:30 p.m. today. Shenango has some momentum going into today's regular-season finale at South Side Beaver. The Wildcats – 12-9 overall – earned a 48-41 victory over Mohawk that kept them above .500 against section rivals.

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Alumni Update - Jaclyn Watkins (Thiel)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

GREENVILLE, Pa. – Jaclyn Watkins scored a season-high 21 points and matched her career-high with 15 reboundsWatkins Thiel Saturday to lead the Thiel College women's basketball team to an 80-69 Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) upset win over the Bethany Bison at Beeghly Gymnasium.

The Tomcats trailed the Bison 36-35 at halftime. Thiel went on to outscore Bethany 28-22 in the third quarter and never looked back to earn the conference victory.

Watkins, an Aliquippa graduate, made 8-of-13 shots from the floor and 5-of-7 from the charity line. She came up with eight defensive rebounds and seven offensive boards.

 

(photo courtesy of Thiel College)

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Alumni Update - Rachel Bellhy (Washington & Jefferson)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- The Washington & Jefferson women's basketball team continued to roll through Presidents'RBellhy WJ Athletic Conference action with an 84-60 win at Chatham, paced by Rachel Bellhy's career-high 22 points.

With the win, the Presidents improve to 16-3 on the season and 11-1 in league games. The Cougars fall to 8-11 and 4-8 within the conference.

Bellhy, a Fort Cherry graduate, led all players with a game-best 22 points, including an impressive 10-of-11 from the field.

The sophomore also pulled down six rebounds and blocked four shots in just 23 minutes of action.

 

(photo courtesy of Washington and Jefferson College)

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Wrestling: Moon wrestler overcomes brain surgery

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles Moon wrestler Nathan Barcaskey. Read his story below.

2016 0205 Moon Wrestling(Photo: Nathan Barcaskey of Moon Area controls Rasaun Culberson of South Fayette in the 220-pound final at the Allegheny County Tournament. Barcaskey stopped Culberson, 9-1, to win the title. Susan Wentzel/Tri-State Sports & News Service)

At the age of 12, Nathan Barcaskey was told by doctors that he would never wrestle again after having brain surgery.

"In seventh grade, I was diagnosed with a disease called moyamoya," said Barcaskey, a senior at Moon Area High School, referring to a disease in which certain arteries in the brain are constricted.

"It was a lack of blood flow to the left side of my brain. I had to have corrective surgery to fix it."

Barcaskey was a member of Moon's junior high wrestling team at the time.

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Brad Everett's West High School Basketball Notebook (Feb. 5, 2016)

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett has this week's West High School Basketball Notebook.

"Beaver lost one of the best point guards in the WPIAL when Lexi Posset graduated.

A year later, though, the Bobcats have another outstanding point guard who's putting up similar numbers.

She's from the same family, too.

Sophomore Bella Posset, Lexi's younger sister, is having a breakout season. At 5 feet 7, Posset is the same height as her sister, and her ability to fill the basket is the same, too. Posset came into the week averaging 19.2 points per game, which ranked second among West Xtra players. She has picked up right where Lexi left off. Lexi, who now plays at Division I Rider University, averaged 22.5 points a game last season."

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Football: Riverside looks back to the future

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Drew Karpen profiles new Riverside football coach Ron Sciarro.

"It isn't the most conventional game plan, but for the Riverside football program, it decided to go back in time to move forward.

Last month, athletic director John Wolf completed the search for a new football coach and came to the conclusion that Ron Sciarro was their guy ... again.

"It is a very unique situation," Wolf said. "We are aware of his success here in the past but more importantly, through the interview process we felt like he was the best choice to teach these young men and help them on and off the field."

Sciarro first started his tenure with the Panthers in 1977. Sciarro served as an assistant coach from then until 1986 when he was promoted to the Panthers head coach."

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Basketball: Blackhawk grad making her point at Duquesne

Written by Joe Bendel on .

Joe Bendel profiles Blackhawk graduate Chassidy Omogrosso, who is now a standout basketball player at Duquesne.

"No Bluffing, the Duquesne University women might be delivering the best basketball in the city.

This deep and talented group with a heavy international influence entered the week with a 19-2 overall record, 7-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The torrid start featured a school-best 16-1 record to open the season and a 15-game winning streak.

The Dukes even hit the national rankings for the first time in history. They were No. 25 in the USA Today/Coaches' poll on Jan. 12.

In the midst of it all is a diminutive guard from Blackhawk High School with a perpetual smile and a marksman-like mentality."

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Football: West Allegheny grad stands out in all-star game

Written by Joe Koch on .

Joe Koch profiles West Allegheny graduate Mike Caputo, who is now a standout football player at Wisconsin.

"It was the day before the 91st East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Wisconsin safety Mike Caputo was visiting with a friend, West Allegheny football coach Bob Palko, for whom he played on the high school level.

"He came down to St. Petersburg to watch the game with my parents," recounted Caputo about the game he and his West teammates won, 29-9, Jan. 23 at Tropicana Field. "He told me the day before the game: 'You're going to win [defensive] MVP of this game. You are going to win the MVP.'"

Maybe someone should see if Palko has any stock tips. Or, maybe he knew more than just a little bit about the 6-1, 206-pound safety from Imperial who was a three-year starter on a Badgers' team that went 10-3 in 2015 and defeated the University of Southern California, 23-21, in the Holiday Bowl.

Caputo played on Palko's 2009 West Allegheny team that won the WPIAL Class AAA championship against Hopewell, 36-28, and advanced to the PIAA Class AAA semifinals before falling to Manheim Central, 45-27."

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Hockey: Spartans continue to roll as they head into showdown with West Allegheny

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Considering how well Montour has been playing, the team might not want a lengthy break before it takes on West Allegheny Thursday in a showdown for first place in the Class A Western Conference.

 

On Monday, the Spartans (17-1-1) rolled over Thomas Jefferson as Brandon Eisel scored two first-period goals and Anthony Isenberg chipped in a pair in a 7-2 victory thanks in large part to a 50-shot outburst. They have scored a classification-best 142 goals in 19 games (7.5 per game) and are 13-0-1 in their last 14 games since losing to West Allegheny in their first meeting of the season.

 

Now, though, they will have 10 days off to get ready for the rematch, which will have some upside as players will have an opportunity to rest, but could lead to a trace of rust as well. West Allegheny (15-2-0), which has two games in hand on the Spartans, plays tonight against South Park before they have to play the Spartans.