Sunday, March 30, 2008

Section 1-A supremacy

It's safe to say that, for most of this decade, the road to a WPIAL Class A baseball championships travels through Section 1.

Three of the past five champions – Carmichaels in 2003, 2005 and California in 2006 – hail from the section. In 2004, the Mikes were WPIAL runners-up, as were the Trojans a year ago.

In 2002, Carmichaels beat Bentworth, another Section 1 team, in the third-place game.

In 2001, California won the WPIAL, while Jefferson-Morgan lost the third-place game.

This year, Carmichaels is a highly regarded team and, despite several key injuries, has not allowed a run in its first two games. Jefferson-Morgan, Bentworth and California are all powerful offensive teams.

It could be another banner year for Section 1, a group of competitive, close-knit teams.

"It's not just our section, it's the people I'm around," Mikes coach Dave Bates explained. "With Rob Cole being my assistant coach, it's kind of funny. Like I can tell him what to do. He knows the game as well as anyone I know. Two of my best friends are Rob and (Jefferson-Morgan coach) John Curtis."

Bates played for Curtis at Jefferson-Morgan.

"We get together and have breakfast every Sunday," Bates said. "Then, there's (California coach) Don Hartman. He doesn't live as close but, again, he's one of my closest friends in baseball. These are the guys that can end up breaking your heart in the playoffs. Yet, I traveled to see California make their run through states. Section 1 is something unique."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WPIAL all-state players

The following WPIAL girls basketball players made the Associated Press all-state team:

Class AAAA
Second team
Jackie Babe, Mt. Lebanon, Sr., 11.0
Alex Gensler, Upper St. Clair, Sr., 17.8
Jamie Smith, Woodland Hills, Sr., 23.1
Third team
Emily Correal, Peters Township, Jr., 21.3

Class AAA
Second team
Kiki Brown, Ambridge, Sr., 26.0

Class AA
First team
Darche Jackson, Wilkinsburg, Jr., 33.8
Second team
Nicole Doria, South Park, Jr., 15.8
Devin McGrath, OLSH, Jr., 17.3
Third team
Marisa Wolfe, Ford City, Jr., 17.1

Class A
First team
Renee Brown, Mt. Alvernia, Sr., 16.0
Christina Chukwuedo, Monessen, Sr., 19.0
Amy Longo, North Catholic, Sr., 15.6

Linda Metz story on C-M softball situation

Parents of assault victim cry foul

By Linda Metz, Staff writer

An attorney representing a Canon-McMillan High School student and her parents want to meet with school administrators in an effort to stop what they believe to be unfair treatment of the girl, who wants nothing more than to play softball for the Big Macs.
However, the district canceled a meeting scheduled for today and is refusing to allow them to speak at the next school board meeting, the parents' attorney, Matt Keranko, said.
"She's being singled out," said Keranko, who is representing Lori and James Maier of Canonsburg. "She's being embarrassed and harassed."
The girl is one of two who were sexually assaulted by former Canon-McMillan volunteer softball coach Justin Bedilion.
Bedilion, 25, of Waynesburg, pleaded guilty in January to sexually assaulting the two girls and supplying alcohol to minors on several occasions. He was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in prison followed by 4 years of probation. He also has to register his whereabouts with police for the rest of his life.
Bedilion was arrested in August 2006 for engaging in sex acts on separate occasions with the Maiers' then-15-year-old daughter, who was on the softball team, and a 13-year-old girl who lifted weights with the team.
The Maiers filed the federal lawsuit less than a month after Bedilion's sentencing. They claim that the district and the employees did nothing to stop the assaults.
In addition to a monetary award, the Maiers are asking that the school officials involved lose their licenses and their jobs. Former principal Linda Nichols, softball coach Michele Moeller, former Superintendent Eugene Buchleitner, Superintendent Nick Bayat and Bedilion were named as defendants.
Moeller recently took a leave of absence from her position. Steve Moskal, assistant varsity coach, was recently named interim head coach.
According to Keranko, unfair treatment of the girl, now 17, began before Moeller left the team. He said Moeller at one point refused to coach the second-year varsity player.
Things have not improved since Moskal's appointment, the parents maintain. During team tryouts earlier this month, the girl was the only player required to perform a timed running test before Moskal. Her teammates tested each other.
Moskal said she failed the test. However, upon retesting March 11 by athletic director Guy Montecalvo and principal Dave Helinski, the girl passed. In fact, she was one of just four girls on the team to pass the running test, Keranko stated.
That same day, the girl reported that Moskal confronted her and said, "You will never step foot on my mound. I am not Moeller."
Keranko described the girl as a talented softball player with good grades who has been approached by various colleges.
He added that conditions have been made so bad that she stopped participating with the team last week.
When contacted Tuesday afternoon, Bayat said he was aware of the situation, but he couldn't comment on it.
"We will give due process," Bayat said

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Here's why it's so important to be accurate when reporting results:

According to results of the Waynesburg-West Greene girls track meet reported to the Observer-Reporter, a shot putter from West Greene by the last name of Moore won the throwing event with a put of 68 feet, 2 inches.


The men's outdoor world record is 75 feet, 10 1/4 inches set by American Randy Barnes in 1990.

WPIAL all-state players

The following WPIAL boys basketball players made Tuesday's Associated Press all-state teams:

Class AAAA
First team
Brian Walsh, Moon, 6-4, Sr., 19.7
Third team
Quentin Harding, McKeesport, 6-4, Sr., 15.6

Class AAA
First team
Antoine Childs, Blackhawk, 6-5, Sr., 20.6
Second team
Kaleb Ramsey, Laurel Highlands, 6-5, Jr., 22.8
Mark Javens, Hopewell, 6-2, Sr., 13.0
Third team
T.J. McConnell, Chartiers Valley, 5-8, Soph., 19.5

Class AA
First team
Terrelle Pryor, Jeannette, 6-6, Sr., 21.9
Jonathan Baldwin, Aliquippa, 6-6, Sr., 21.9
Second team
Todd Thomas, Beaver Falls, 6-3, Jr., 15.3
Jordan Hall, Jeannette, 5-9, Jr., 15.0
Player of the year—Terrelle Pryor, Jeannette
Coach of the year—Jim Nesser, Jeannette

Class A
First team
Pat Grubbs, Serra Catholic, 6-8, Sr., 19.7
Tom Droney, Sewickley Academy, 6-5, Soph., 21.0
Second team
T.J. Heatherington, Serra Catholic, 5-9, Jr., 17.0
Jon Kennedy, Bentworth, 6-4, Sr., 20.6
Coach of the year-Bob Rozanski, Serra Catholic

Saturday, March 22, 2008

APB, Where are they now?

Last week's APB went out for former Canon-McMillan softball standout Tiffany Wasniewski. While no replies were given, turns out the O-R answered the APB. Wasniewski's engagement photo ran in Friday's edition. Congratulations to the first Division I scholarship female athlete in C-M history.

This week's All Points Bulletin is for former Wash High multi-sport standout Diontae Walker.

Walker played football and basketball but etched a place in WPIAL lore when he threw a no-hitter in the 1998 WPIAL Class AA baseball championship. The Prexies went on to win the state title.

Anyone with information on Walker's whereabouts, is urged to contact the Varsity Letters.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pryor to Ohio State

Jeannette's Terrelle Pryor will join Trinity's Andrew Sweat as part of Ohio State's 2008 football recruiting class.

Read the story.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Decision nearing

Getting the area all-star basketball teams together and preparing for the spring sports season. In the meantime, there's some big news coming tomorrow.

As reported by the Associated Press: Click here to read the story.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

APB, Where are they now?

The spring sports season is rapidly approaching and, in the spirit of warmer weather and outdoor sports, the Varsity Letters issues and all points bulletin for a former softball standout who several fellas have asked about over the years.

Canon-McMillan grad Tiffany Wasniewski earned a spot in Big Macs lore when she became the first girls athlete in the school's history to earn a Division I scholarship. Wasniewski attended Indiana State University, where she played softball.

Any knowing of Wasniewski's whereabouts is urged to contact the Varsity Letters.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

All-time basketball teams

The Varsity Letters' all-time football team became a popular, and controversial. post. So, naturally, compiling the best of local boys and girls basketball turned into a season-long process.

There are a couple factors into being named to Mike Kovak's all-time teams. First, the player must have been in high school at some point between the 1999-2000 season and the present. Why? Because it covers my time here at the Observer-Reporter. Second, players must be from the O-R coverage area.

Boys starters
Ramone Barnes, Washington
Dan Davis, Fort Cherry
A.J. Jackson, Monessen
Eric Lang, Peters Township
Justin Moore, Canon-McMillan

Girls starters
Charel Allen, Monessen
Emily Briggs, Chartiers-Houston
Emily Correal, Peters Township
Vanessa Davison, Washington
Amber Harris, Washington

Boys backups
Josh Arnold (Monessen), Erik Chmel (McGuffey), Rick Cope (California), Steve Daniele (Peters Township), Rashad Davison (Washington), Christian Goetz (Burgettstown), Javon Hines (South Fayette), Brandon Jackson (Monessen), Jon Kennedy (Bentworth), Ryan Moye (Washington), Charles Murphy (Canon-McMillan), Paul Ruhmann (South Fayette), P.J. Schumacher (Waynesburg), Nate Stoner (Waynesburg), Joe Testa (Trinity), Tim Tyree (Monessen), Troy Wilson (Jefferson-Morgan)

Girls backups
Mallory Fritz (Peters Township), Cameron Jones (Canon-McMillan), Jill Klinar (Peters Township), Kristen Lancas (Ringgold), Raelynn Miles (Fort Cherry), Rachel Phillips (West Greene), Emily Schartner (Ringgold), Megan Stuvek (Carmichaels), Megan Summersgill (Waynesburg), Brittany Warren (Ringgold), Latitia Williams (Monessen)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

No suspensions for Jeannette, N. Catholic

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Terrelle Pryor and his Jeannette basketball teammates can compete in the semifinal round of the state basketball playoffs.
The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League ruled Tuesday that players from Jeannette and North Catholic will not be suspended for Saturday’s post-game fight at Hempfield. The ruling means Jeannette will be at full strength for its game against Erie North East on Wednesday.
Testimony during Tuesday’s hearing did not show exactly which players were involved in the fight, said WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley.
“The board felt the penalties assigned should be equal,” O’Malley said. “The board did not feel what was presented (at the hearing) was severe enough or one-sided enough to take one of these teams out of the playoffs.”
The WPIAL, which doubles as Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 7, said both athletic programs will be placed on two years’ probation and that players and coaches must attend anger management classes by the end of the school year.
The coaches, principals and athletic administrators at both schools will be publicly censured, O’Malley said.
Also, both schools must give the WPIAL a written plan on how future athletic contests will be managed. Jeannette’s plan is due Wednesday.
Pryor is considered the nation’s best unsigned prep football player and is the Jeannette’s top basketball player. He had 21 points, six rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots during Jeannette’s 86-60 win over North Catholic.
Pryor, a star quarterback, has said he would not sign with one of his football finalists — Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan or Oregon — until after his basketball season ended. He is the only Pennsylvania high school player to rush for at least 4,000 yards and pass for 4,000 during his career.

Season-end awards

The local basketball season ended with Bentworth's loss to Serra Catholic in the PIAA Class A boys quarterfinals Friday night at Chartiers Valley. As schools prepare for spring sports, it's time to hand out a few postseason awards.

Game of the Year
Bentworth 64, DuBois Central Catholic 62
This PIAA Class A boys second-round game had everything needed to be labeled a classic. Jon Kennedy finished with 28 points and nine rbounds but it was Joe Kennedy whose last-second putback put the Bearcats into the quarterfinals for the first time.
Honorable mention
South Fayette vs. Jeannette (WPIAL Class AA boys quarterfinals)
Peters Township vs. Mt. Lebanon (WPIAL Class AAAA girls semifinals)
Canon-McMillan vs. Moon (PIAA Class AAAA first round)

Play of the Year
Charles Murphy's buzzer-beater versus Shaler.

Canon-McMillan, desperate to win its first non-preliminary playoff game, trailed Shaler with time ticking away. That's when Charles Murphy took an inbounds pass from Zane Zebrasky and his 38-footer hit net for the dramatic victory.
Honorable mention
Joe Kennedy's game-winning putback vs. DuBois Central Catholic
Maura Lacey's coast-to-coast layup vs. Mt. Lebanon

Team of the Year
Bentworth boys

Several strong candidates but no local team advanced further in the state playoffs than Bentworth, which had its best season in 20 years.
Honorable mention
Peters Township girls
Monessen girls
South Fayette boys
Washington girls
Canon-McMillan boys

Newcomer of the Year
Mike Lamberti, South Fayette

Lamberti, a 6-4 freshman, was a key contributor to South Fayette's success. He led the Lions in scoring and was one of the best passers in the area.
Honorable mention
Terrance Stepoli, Monessen boys
Emily Matthis, Peters Township girls
Kacey Wargo, Canon-McMillan girls

The What-If Award
The Canon-McMillan girls

The 2007-08 Big Macs were tabbed for great success since the 2004-05 season. Then, senior Cameron Jones, who had several DI offers, elected not to play and talented Brittany Taylor struggled through injuries. C-M played tough but missed the playoffs.
Honorable mention
The Burgettstown boys – lost to Bishop Canevin at buzzer in WPIAL prelims. BC went to the WPIAL semis and PIAA playoffs.
The Ringgold girls – The Rams, a PIAA playoff team in 2006-07, were hurt by the transfer of Bethany Warren and did not advance past the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

The So Close Award
(Tie) Washington and Monessen girls

Washington entered the WPIAL Class AA playoffs as the No. 2 seed and with just one loss. Monessen was undefeated and seeded second in the Class A bracket. Neither won a WPIAL championship – Wash High lost in the semis and Monessen lost in the title game – and they combined to go 1-2 in the PIAA playoffs.

Senior of the Year
Boys – (tie) Charles Murphy, C-M; Jon Kennedy, Bentworth
Girls – Christina Chukwuedo, Monessen

Junior of the Year

Boys – (tie) Nick Wilcox, Peters Twp.; Ryne Niemiec, Beth-Center
Girls – Emily Correal, Peters Twp.

Sophomore of the Year
Boys – Chad Hagan, Canon-McMillan
Girls – Alina Selby, Ringgold

Freshman of the Year

Boys – Mike Lamberti, South Fayette
Girls – Not awarded

Most Pleasant Surprise
Team – Burgettstown
Player – Derek Goetz, Burgettstown
Team – Beth-Center
Player – Jocelyn Floyd, Washington

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Another Jeannette/Pryor incident

By now, most have heard about the post-game altercation between the boys basketball teams at Jeannette and North Catholic high schools. Here's a link to Post Gazette writer Mike White's story:

Notice how Terrelle Pryor said no one on Jeannette started the fight. That may be true but, as I previously reported, these incidents are not new to Pryor and Jeannette.

Should be interesting to see how the WPIAL handles the situation. What do you think they should do?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bright future

With only one senior starter and two senior reserves, the South Fayette boys basketball team didn't enter the 2007-08 season with lowered expectations. The Lions believed they would be a playoff team, even with two freshman starters in the always rough-and-tumble world of WPIAL Class AA basketball.

The Lions were right. They were good. They were really good.

South Fayette won the Section 3-AA championship with a 13-1 record. It posted impressive non-section wins against Washington, Center and Serra Catholic (one of the favorites to win the PIAA Class A championship). The Lions barely lost at Class AA quarterfinalist North Catholic and among the other losses were games against Moon (a Class AAAA quarterfinalist) and an overtime defeat in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals against eventual champion Jeannette, which is still alive in the state playoffs.

South Fayette finished its season Wednesday with a tough 63-50 loss to Farrell in the second round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs. The Lions ended with a 21-7 record, all of its losses were to playoffs team.

Early in the fourth quarter, South Fayette was within three before Farrell pulled away.

"We had a lot of guys crying in that locker room. They wanted to win the game," South Fayette coach Rich Bonnaure said.

South Fayette should win a lot over the next few years. Freshman Mike Lamberti already ranks among the area's best players. Starters Pat Zedreck, Joe Silko and Mike Burroughs also return, as does top reserve Tyler Henry.

The Lions must find a replacement for center Zack Patterson, a Lafayette football recruit, who churned out double-doubles.

"I guess I'll say it for the first time," Bonnaure said. "We have a really bright future."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Predicting the winner

The local basketball scene is down to one - the Bentworth boys. Congratulations to the Bearcats on advancing to the PIAA Class A quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

Now, Bentworth faces the unenviable task of playing mighty Serra Catholic Friday night at Chartiers Valley. Serra Catholic, the state's top-ranked team in Class A according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, already beat Bentworth twice this year. The two play in Section 3.

The Varsity Letters went 2-2 with its second-round picks and is now 9-2 in the state playoffs. None of the previous 11 picks will be as astonishing as this:

Bentworth over Serra Catholic.

Call it a hunch, but Jon Kennedy is playing as well as any local player has in the state playoffs over in the past 10 years. Got to ride the hot hand.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bentworth quarterfinal set

Thanks to an impressive win over DuBois Central Catholic Tuesday, Bentworth advanced to the PIAA Class A quarterfinals for the first time.

The Bearcats draw Section 3 foe Serra Catholic, the PIAA released the quarterfinals pairings today. This time, fans won't have as far to drive.

Serra Catholic Eagles (27-2) vs. Bentworth Bearcats (19-8) at Chartiers Valley High School on Friday, March 7.

APB, Where are they now?

The Varsity Letters is issuing an All Points Bulletin for former Wash High/Bentworth boys basketball player Mike Lattimore.

Lattimore spent his freshmen and sophomore years at Bentworth, where he averaged 17 points per game as a sophomore. He transfered to Washington before his junior year in a case that received some media attention. Lattimore started for the Prexies most of his junior year and came off the bench as a senior.

Anyone with information regarding Lattimore is urged to contact the Varsity Letters.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Predicting the winners

With the start of the PIAA playoffs, the Varsity Letters stepped up its game and went 7-0 in the first round. After the second round, the plan is to be 11-0.

Here's you second-round winners:
Class AA
Farrell over South Fayette
Class A
DuBois Central Catholic over Bentworth

Class AAAA
Peters Township over Schenley
Class A
Farrell over Monessen

Sunday, March 2, 2008

PIAA second-round set

Four area teams qualified for the second round of the PIAA boys and girls basketball playoffs. The following are their respective matchups.

Class AA
7-5 South Fayette (21-5) vs. 10-3 Farrell (24-4) at Ambridge High School, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5.
Class A
7-4 Bentworth (18-8) vs. 9-2 DuBois Central Catholic (27-3) at Butler High School, 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 4.

Class AAAA
7-2 Peters Township (21-8) vs. 8-1 Schenley (23-4) at Canon-McMillan High School, 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 4.
Class A
7-2 Monessen (27-1) vs. 10-1 Farrell (24-2) at Ambridge High School, 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 5.

PIAA playoffs thoughts

Time for a few deep thoughts...

The Peters Township girls basketball team does not lose out of section. After knocking off New Castle in the opening round of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs, the Indians are 14-1 against non-section opponents. Victories include New Castle (twice), Fox Chapel (twice), Oakland Catholic, Butler and South Park.

Had Bentworth senior Jon Kennedy stayed out of foul trouble during the Bearcats' first-round game against District 5 champ Southern Fulton, he may have scored 40 points. Southern Fulton had no chance of stopping the high-scoring Kennedy, who led a balanced offense with 14 points.

Those who haven't seen the South Fayette boys may consider the Lions a "sleeper" in the Class AA bracket. Those who've seen the Lions know otherwise. South Fayette, led by freshman Mike Lamberti and senior Zach Patterson, have a legitimate shot at advancing past the second round.

Foul trouble hurt Canon-McMillan in its first-ever PIAA playoff game, a double-overtime loss to Moon in the Class AAAA bracket. I'm sure some C-M fans are salty over the officiating but the Big Macs also struggled defensively. Moon's Brian Walsh and Keir Jeter, two gifted players, drove the lane at will. Of course, if the Big Macs had one starter not in foul trouble, maybe they could have tried to draw a charge or two.

The Washington girls and Monessen boys found out that District 6 is playing some good hoops. D6, not always a basketball powerhouse, has performed well the last several years in PIAA play.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Tough sledding

The St. Joseph boys basketball team forfeited its PIAA Class A first-round game against Bishop Guilfoyle due to travel concerns and Friday's weather conditions.

Can't say I blame St. Joseph. As I found myself driving from the South Hills to tiny Chestnut Ridge High School in northern Bedford County for Bentworth's game versus Southern Fulton, I wondered why the PIAA put so many people in danger by holding the first-round game Friday night.

Simply put, the weather was wretched. It took 80 minutes to get from Chestnut Ridge after the game to Somerset. Awful. At times, traffic on the PA Turnpike was traveling at 25 mph.

Way to go PIAA.