Category: Sports Written by Smokin' Jim Frazier
SHAWN ANDERSON of New Castle scored 16 points to lead the Red Hurricanes to a 68-53 win over Hampton in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game. (Courier Photos/William McBride)
The New Castle boys basketball team has been flying high the last two seasons and Saturday night became the first team in WPIAL history to record back to back undefeated season’s in league play.
New Castle beat Hampton (21-5) in last year’s WPIAL Class AAA title game. The two moved up in class this year and now met in the AAAA final at the Palumbo Center and the Red Hurricanes easily won, 68-53.
Shawn Anderson scored 16 points for No. 1 seed New Castle, Antonio Rudolph had 15 and Anthony Richards added 12.
Anderson was good in the regular season, but the senior forward is averaging nearly 25 points in four postseason games while making a push for WPIAL player of year honors. Anderson has committed to the Naval Academy.
Ryan Luther had 17 points for Hampton, which was making its fourth WPIAL title game in the past five seasons. Luther is considered one of the WPIAL’s best players and has scholarship offers from Duquesne and Dayton. He is 6 feet 7 and can play inside or outside.
The win pushed undefeated New Castle record to 26-0, and the Red Hurricane will now have to face Gateway in the first round of the PIAA state tournament.
New Castle recently ended Gateway’s three-year run appearances in WPIAL title game.
“If you give New Castle a big man to go with the players they have, they can compete with anyone in the country,” Gateway head coach Mitch Adams said.
“They have quickness; they can shoot well and defend. They do everything you need to win games. Still, I relish the opportunity to play them again.”
Beaver Falls (23-3) blew out Burrell (19-7), 61-33, to win the Class AA championship Saturday night at Palumbo Center. The top-seeded Tigers raced to a commanding lead and kept extending it as they routed the Bucs. The pressure and intensity continued, despite the large advantage.
With the win, Beaver Falls got its second consecutive title, the ninth in school history and coach Doug Biega got his 300th career win.
Senior guard Drew Cook led the Tigers with 20 points, Elijah Cottrill had 14 and Danny Stratton added 13.
Burrell senior Cole Bush knows people are going to compare him to former Bucs star Joey Meyers. Meyers was 1,000-point scorer before going to play at Duquesne University and was an eighth-round draft pick of the New Jersey Nets in the 1983 draft.
In the 1979 title game against Beaver Falls, Meyers had 22 points, but Burrell was defeated, 55-54, by a great Beaver Falls team led by Dwight Collins, Damon Bryant, Ron Rowan and Forest Grant.
“Joey Meyers is a legend at our school and a lot people are comparing our team to their team and me to him. We are a football, wrestling and baseball school,” said Bush, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, who is averaging a “double double”. “I didn’t play basketball last year but I’m playing this year to stay in shape for football. Next year I’ll be playing running back or tight end for St. Francis.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 March 2013 10:34
Category: Sports Written by Smokin' Jim Frazier
CELEBRATION—Bethel Park's Mariah Penascino (Right) jumps into the arms of teammate Kaitlen Chess as they celebrate the Blackhawks 48-32 win over Chartiers Valley in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game. (Courier Photos/William McBride)
Brenna Wise is only a sophomore, but she already has scored 1,000 points. The 6-1 forward led Vincention (25-1) to a, 53-46, victory over Serra Catholic (23-3).
The Vincentian varsity girls basketball team was stuck in neutral for the first few minutes of Saturday’s WPIAL championship game at the Palumbo Center at Duquesne University. The Royals were down 6-0, but were able to fight back to go into halftime with a 24-21 lead.
Wise led all scorers with 18 points and ripped down 20 boards. Kiersten Elliott chipped in with 13 and Mala Joiner had 12 points.
Katie Sieg had 13 points for Serra Catholic and her sister Megan Sieg had 12 points.
Too often, success is measured by what a player does with the basketball. Points, rebounds, assists are the easiest barometer to gauge contributions. Bethel Park junior guard Megan Marecic and junior forward Samantha Simpson play fierce defense and usually shut down the opponents best players. Defense wins championships and that blue print gave Bethel Park (23-3) a, 48-34, victory over Chartiers Valley (19-7) Saturday night.
“We ran into a team that played really good defense,” Chartiers Valley coach Spencer Stekfo said. “It would have been nice if a couple of shots fall, but they didn’t and that’s not a reflection on my kids. That’s a reflection on their kids and some excellent effort on the defensive end. They really got after it and those kids earned it.”
Senior point guard Mariah Penascino led the Lady Blackhawks with 15 points, guard Harper Zimmer scored 11 points and Marecic had 7 points. Jenna Devinney led the Colts with 9 points.
Coach Jonna Burke is a former Pitt player and Bethel Park alum. She has been coaching for 18 years, including 8 years at Butler High School and has over 200 career wins.
“It’s special, it’s something you work for every year,” coach Burke said. “This is our first championship, but it is our goal every year.”
The South Park varsity girls basketball team had a full season the digest last year’s WPIAL AAA championship loss to Hopewell.
In the semi-finals, the Lady Eagles scored a 75-55 victory over Hopewell and gained a measure of revenge. The Lady Eagles (23-2) players who experienced last year’s championship heartbreaker also got a chance to exorcise another demon Saturday afternoon by beating Elizabeth Forward (23-3), 50-32, in the WPIAL Class AAA girls championship.
South Park wanted to make a statement on Duquesne University home court, and the defense helped get the job done. Elizabeth Forward made just 23 percent of its shots.
“We have to hang our hat on our defense,” said Coach Reggie Wells. “To get through Hopewell and finally break through, that was big but we didn’t want a letdown today.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 March 2013 10:32
Category: Sports Written by Smokin' Jim Frazier
AKIL YOUNG – USO
Even though Perry pulled of the major surprise of the season in City League play by defeating favorite USO during the regular season as well as in the championship game, the coaches gave most of the slots on the 2012 All-City Football Team to USO.
When the season began it was predicted that USO (University Prep, Sci-Tech, Obama Academy) would easily win the city with Allderdice giving them their stiffest competition with perennial power Perry expected to battle Brashear for the third spot in the city.
The New Pittsburgh Courier All-City Football Team reflects this thinking. In a combination of coaches and Courier personnel 21 of the 52 slots on the team went to USO with Perry finishing a distant second with 10 spots.
With the City League dwindling down in numbers with all the school closings one would expect the strong to stay strong, which made it surprise that more didn’t pick Perry to challenge USO especially with the closing of Oliver and its students going to Perry. Yet USO, Allderdice and Brashear were expected to finish ahead of them.
Brashear was ranked high because they had the students from Langley joining a team which has always been highly competitive. Allderdice had a very strong nucleus of seniors returning and of course USO had marched through all its opponents last season to win the City League title in its first year in existence.
This season behind the high powered offense led by sensational Quarterback Akil Young who was without a doubt the Offensive Most Valuable Player and a wide variety of receivers in Marcus Johnson, Myles Catlin, Clay Moorefield, Noah Stewart and Nicholas Stallworth gave the city an aerial attack we have never seen in its history. For the first time in Courier All-City selection history there were very few outstanding running backs in comparison to receivers. It was clearly a passing dominated game in the City. Only three running backs received any recognition. Joe Kalsak from Carrick, Pat Fergueson from Allderdice and Curtis Edmonds from Perry who finished second behind Young in the MVP voting.
Quarterback Ahmed Turner from Perry, was clearly the second best quarterback in the city as he and Young stood heads and shoulders over the rest.
Receivers and defensive backs dominated the selections with nine receivers and 13 defensive backs making the team. The transition from running to passing is the cause for the change. In the past it was running backs on offense and they generally played linebackers on defense, which has led to a drop in linebackers, now many are defensive backs.
The offensive and defensive lines as usual most coaches knew very little about other than on their own teams.
The competition for Defensive Most Valuable Player was between two Perry players, Shakeem Cox and Robert Willie, with Willie winning out. Willie comes from a long line of outstanding linebackers from Perry. He should be very successful at the next level.
Other strong competition was for the Coach of the Year which was between last years’ Coach of the Year Louis Berry from USO, and William Gallagher from Perry. Of course Gallagher was the winner based on his win over USO during the season, and his leading the Commodores to the City League title. He’s no stranger to this award, having won it previously.
The big tragedy of the season was the shooting death of Ne’ Ondre Harbour an outstanding defensive lineman from USO.
Congratulations to all the young men who were selected to this team. It took a lot of hard work and dedication. It doesn’t matter if your team was 5-0 or 0-5, we honor you for your efforts.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 10:01
Category: Sports Written by Bill Neal
by Bill Neal
For New Pittsburgh Courier
:10 For starters, it doesn’t hurt if your dad could play…I mean really play. I can remember playing pick-up ball with Dennis Boyce Sr. down at Pitt University, Trees Hall Gym. (You brothers remember the good old days at Trees. Not a better time to be had playing ball back in the day, especially when Charles Smith, Demetrius “Freakazoid” Gore, Jerome Lane and Curtis Aiken and the boys from the Pitt team would come over and remind us of the difference between us and them.) But not to Dennis Boyce Sr. It was clear to me then that D.B. Sr. could play with those guys, or for that matter, with anybody. And for those of you that don’t know…know this, Dennis could fly and would dunk on you or anybody standing there with you in a heartbeat.
The hops notwithstanding, there’s little wonder that when I watch D.J. Boyce play, I see where the talent came from. The fundamentally sound game, equipped with first step explosion, the quick hands, the heads up / coach on the floor mindset and above all, the main thing…“heart”…“attitude”…you know that “I can do this man” attitude.
Come full circle now, D.J. is the unquestioned leader of the Gateway Gators as they went in search of their third straight WPIAL title. To do so would have made them the first team to do so since New Castle did it in ’97-’98-’99. By now, you know that was not to be. But at the time of this writing, the Gators were still in the hunt for the gold and ironically enough were going up against the power house that is New Castle…Did I mention Castle just completed their second undefeated season in a row???
As a bonafide leader and one of the WPIAL’s best point guards, D.J. is averaging 20 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals a game. Without the superior skills of former teammates and Division 1 recruits Tyler Scott and Barnett Harris Jr, the only returning starter D.J. had with him was Tom Kromka. But he also had help from seniors Deon Baker, Matt Shorr, Jordan Landfair and Steve Hartnett, all of whom are very good players and know what it takes to be champions.
And while you’re taking notes, know this, Tyler’s mom, Jennifer Bruce Scott, remains Pitt University’s women’s 2nd all-time leading scorer, and his dad, a Duquesne University grad, would play defense on you till your heart stopped. Barnett’s dad would rain 3 pointers down on ya until you got back on the bus…yes boys and girls, the apple does not fall far from the tree.
I know I gave you the DNA set-up early on, but it’s more than that. D.J. brings his own skill set to the dance. He’s the ultimate hard worker, never takes a day off the prize and trust me when I tell you, a 3.3 GPA doesn’t hurt either. When the time comes to put the final numbers in place, I put my money on the future accountant D.J. Boyce…and that you can take to the bank!!!
Editors Note: Top-seeded New Castle (24-0) ended Gateway's three-year run of appearances in the WPIAL title game following an 87-55 quarterfinal victory Feb. 23 at Ambridge.
:09 Speaking of New Castle, and I was, whatever kind of water they’re drinking in Castle and Clairton and Aliquippa, needs to be bottled and sold as “Small Town American Champion Water”—and why aren’t more Division I coaches recruiting these kids? Remember, is it size? Remember, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog. These kids are winners…they’re champions for a reason!!!
:08 I told ya twice already. The Pens are playing hockey and your Pirates are…well, they’re playing! That’s all I got.
:07 Ring…Ring…Rrriiinnnggg…Hello. Yea. Is Walt “Clyde” Frazier or “Earl the Pearl” Monroe there? Tell ‘em it’s Bill Neal from the Connie Hawkins League in Pittsburgh. Tell ‘em it’s urgent! Hello…Clyde and Pearl here brother Neal. How can we help you? Get dressed man. You guys are starting for the Knicks again. I need somebody right now who can pass the ball to someone other than the guys on the other team!!
:06 What about O.J. ???
:05 Trust me. The only people who “storm the court” or for that matter “the field” are people that never played. That’s the only way they can “feel the thrill.” I’m with “Coach K.” It’s stupid and should be outlawed.
:04 I guess you know Rayco Saunders is still knockin’ people out. He just came back from a 4th round K.O. in Indy. He’s still a bad man! And for some reason, remains one of Pittsburgh’s most underrated champions. C’mon man!
:03 So you really believe Joe Flacco is worth $120.6 million dollars? Then you should have no trouble believing that Jimi Hendrix, Jannis Joplin, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke and Michael Jackson are having a jam session at my house Saturday night. C’mon over about
8:00 p.m. Oh yeah, it’s BYOB.
:02 After a great opening turn-out and superior dress-up, Rayco “War” Promotions and Five Starr Corporation will bring you “Harlem Nights” once again, Friday, March 29. Yea, we know it’s Friday . . . don’t act funny. Ya’ll know how we do! More information next week. Just get ready to par-tay!
:01 The 38th Annual Champions W.Pa. High School All-Star Basketball Classic is set. Sunday, April 7th, 2013 at the new and magnificent Penn Hills Sr. High School.
9 a.m.-noon—Girls’ Middle School Tournament; noon-3 p.m.—Boys’ Middle School Tournament; 3 p.m.– H.S. Senior Girls City vs. WPIAL; 5 p.m.—H.S. Senior Boys City vs. WPIAL. Adults $5; children 12 and under $2 ~ one ticket good all day. Free parking. Refreshments. Slam dunk, 3 point, foul shooting contest and the McDonald’s “Big Money” half court shot for lucky you! Call the Champions for information (412) 628-4856. SENIORS, IT’S YOUR TURN…IT’S YOUR TIME !!!
~ GAME OVER ~
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 March 2013 10:26
Category: Sports Written by Aubrey Bruce
“Each day through my window I watch her as she passes by. I say to myself, “You’re such a lucky guy.” To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true, out of all of the fellas in the world she belongs to me. But it was just my imagination, running away with me. It was just my imagination, running away with me.” —From the Temptations; ‘Just my Imagination’
I will be in Bradenton, FL (Pirates City) next week to check on the evolution or continued dissolution of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unlike most of the “objective” sports scribes hailing from the steel city; I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to the Buc’s.
When I think of the Pirates more memories come to mind than just athletes striking out, hitting homeruns or making great defensive plays. I continue to visualize my father in his pitch black bedroom; I was the last of 12 children and by the time I came along he and my mother inhabited separate bedrooms only coming together for what they both described as “occasional celebrations.” His new “mistress” displayed multi-personalities daily and had names like; Vernon Law, Bill Mazeroski, Donn Clendenon, Elroy Face, Bob Friend, Willie Stargell, John Candelaria, Steve Blass, Al Oliver, Manny Sanguillen. Let’s forget about individuals; he loved the Pittsburgh Pirates, period. The only thing visible in that “lightless chamber” that he retired to every evening to be transported to his own personal pirate ship was the lighted red power button on his Zenith radio. My nostrils “smile” as I recall the smell of cherry tobacco filling the air almost allowing the sound waves from the broadcast of the game to “piggyback” on the aromatic smoke as it wafted toward baseball” heaven.” Even amidst the blackness of the room dad may not have been sitting in the stands at Forbes Field or Three Rivers Stadium (he never lived to see PNC Park) but he had faith and believed that between the 1st and 9th inning someone was going to emerge as one of the Pirates heroes of the night. It might have been a nasty Elroy Face forkball that would end a promising rally for the opposition or a sliding “basket” catch somewhere out in right center field by Roberto “the great one” Clemente. Pirates’ manager Danny Murtaugh could almost always count on a “bloop” by Roberto Clemente and a “blast” by Wilver Dornell Stargell to almost always keep the Pirates in the game. By the way in 1971 Willie Stargell hit 48 home runs and the only “steroids” that he required was a plate full of collard greens and ham hocks and a nice cold pitcher full of vodka and orange juice. Every night, on my knees I pray “Dear Lord, hear my plea. Don’t let them take Joel Hanrahan away from me or I will surely cry.” The Pirates have to win now. Pittsburgh no longer has ex-Pirates GM Dave Littlefield to blame for stupid money motivated deals. For the life of me I cannot comprehend how management could even consider allowing super reliever Joel Hanrahan to slip out of their grasp.
Every time that I consider another season of sub .500 baseball by the Pirates, who are arguably one of the most storied franchises in the history of professional baseball, I want to perform my loudest imitation of Fred G. Sanford. The character was portrayed by the late comic icon Redd Foxx. Every time Mr. Sanford was traumatized by any events real or imagined he would grab and clutch his chest feigning a heart attack all while yelling up into the heavens to his deceased wife, “Elizabeth, I’m coming to join you.” Most of the fans who watched the show and knew about the scurrilous and suspect personality of the world’s most famous junkman couldn’t even remotely imagine Fred getting anywhere near the “pearly gates.” Yeah go ahead and laugh at me. Call me names like “dreamer,” “naïve,” “homer.”
You can define me any way that you wish but I will always keep hope alive. I have more and better memories of the Pittsburgh Pirates than the world has been forced to watch for the past 18 years. There was a time when there was not one weakness in the starting “nine” of the Pirates from head to foot. No team wanted to face them on any afternoon or evening. There was not even slightest desire by the opposition to face the gargantuan Pirates lefthander Bob Veale on a summer night trying to see through his fogged up ½ inch glasses with hands big enough to cause the baseball to appear as if it was a ping pong ball; all while throwing 90 mile per hour fastballs. It would be sheer stupidity to desire to face an all African-American lineup who some may argue invented the word “swagger.” These boys had will and skills.They were feared by all and feared none. I am quite certain that the ghosts of Pirates broadcaster Bob Prince, Roberto Clemente, “Doc” Ellis, Oprah Elliott Bruce (my father) and many, many other fans, players and journalists who have covered the Pirates since their inception are floundering around in ‘purgatory’ pining for the Pirates to win all the while refusing to be ushered through the gates of heaven until the Pirates at least make the playoffs. However, it is my prayer, hope and dream that I do not join them until I am credentialed to cover a World Series featuring the Pirates. Something tells me to make sure that my life insurance remains current because as all of you should have figured out by now; seeing the Pirates accomplish an even Steven season in 2013. I continue to believe that the Pirates will win in 2013 but this may be “just my imagination, running away with me.”
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at email@example.com or 412-583-6741.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 09:59
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