Saturday, April 30, 2011

Farewell Mr. Herman

One of the first people I came across when I arrived at the Observer-Reporter a couple weeks into the 1999 football season was Valley Independent sports editor Brian Herman. The moment happened during an Upper St. Clair at Ringgold football game, a game were Jeremy Cole led the Rams to a 35-0 win (I think).

I had only been at the O-R for a few days, and Herman already told me I was doing a good job. That's something he continued to tell me over the years, and coming from someone with a vast knowledge of local sports and deep roots in the business, it was always appreciated.

After 45-plus years of sports coverage, Herman retired.

For his farewell column, click here.

Enjoy the good life. You did a good job.

Tri-CADA banquet Sunday

Just a quick reminder ... if you want to support Tri-County Special Olympics and local athletics, head out to the DoubleTree by Hilton in the Meadow Lands (right by the casino) Sunday at 5 p.m. for the Tri-County Athletic Directors Association Coach of the Year Banquet.

It's the 57th annual banquet and all proceeds benefit Special Olympics. Tickets can be purchased before the banquet for $30.

If you're an avid Canon-McMillan wrestling fan, the state champs will be recognized at the end of the banquet as the Observer-Reporter Sports Headliner.

Coach of the Year honors will be handed out in football, boys basketball, girls basketball, wrestling, baseball and softball. In addition, six Olympic Sports coaches will be honored for winning team championships. So will 23 athletes who earned all-state honors in their respective sports.

Follow me on Twitter @TheMikeKovak

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trinity, C-M facing budget problems

Trinity School Board is considering sweeping cuts totaling $2 1/2 million, including 25 staff positions, to meet its 2011-12 operating budget.

Among the measures the board discussed at a finance committee meeting this afternoon include requiring high school students to pay to play sports as well as participate in the band. The board discussed levying a $50 fee per student, per sport.

Also back on the table is eliminating full-day kindergarten and eliminating middle school sports.

The 25 staff members that may be eliminated include teachers, administrators and clerical workers.

For more on the situation at Trinity, click here.

Canon-McMillan could be cutting as much as 20 percent from its athletic budget. For more on that situation, click here.

Gatten, 1982 Chartiers-Houston wrestling among WPIAL HOF inductees

One of the great multi-sport athletes to come from Washington and one of the best wrestling teams in the history of the region were announced Tuesday as inductees into the WPIAL Hall of Fame.

The announcement was made during a press conference at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District.

Aaron Gatten, who graduated from Washington High School in 1996, is one of the area's premier three-sport athletes. Gatten was so good that he was awarded the Observer-Reporter Sports Headliner Award.

Gatten played football, ran track and he wrestled as he earned 12 varsity letters for the High. He was a state champion sprinter and wrestler before playing football at Penn State.

The Bucs' 1982 wrestling team won the PIAA Class AAA team championship with a Class AA enrollment, an extraordinary accomplishment. Among the Bucs' wrestlers was current canon-McMillan coach Chris Mary, who just guided C-M to the state championship.

Other inductees include Lavar Arrington of North Hills, Melanie Buddemeyer of Penn Hills, Clinton Davis of Steel Valley, Adam DiMichele of Sto-Rox, Troy Letters of Shaler and Marla Puryear of Thomas Jefferson as athletes; North Allegheny's Bob Miller, Hopewell's Joe Colella and Connellsville's Tom Dolde as coaches and the 1964 Uniontown boys basketball team.

The inductees will be honored at a banquet at the Green Tree Radisson on June 24.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Separated at birth?

Ever see Beth-Center football coach Ed Woods or Dan Onorato, who unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Pennsylavnia, in the same room?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Varsity notebook

Like many readers of The Varsity Letters, I make a regular practice of reading Mike White's Varsity Blog, available on the Post-Gazette web site. It's highly informative and always a good read.

And that's where I saw the sad news concerning Lawrence "Deuce" Skurcenski, a Western Pennsylvania high school statistical institution.

Deuce, as he's called by everyone, suffered a stroke last week and remains in Allegheny General Hospital. Deuce is one of those guys that, if you've been around high school football or basketball for any amount of time, you know.

He's quite the character, so much so that a documentary film was made about him. (Yes, I got to see it.)

The last time I encountered Deuce was during the PIAA basketball playoffs and he was quick to tell me that the game was the 10,987,345th or so that he's attended. He's been to nearly as many football games and the man is literally known by coaches from Class A high schools to major college basketball powers.

Deuce is a fountain of information, and other things. He also can provide some great tips, like letting me know that a young man named Dan Davis was transferring from Peabody High School to Fort Cherry. Davis went on the be the O-R Boys Basketball Player of the Year. He also loves to share his opinions, like he did with me while trying to write near deadline following the WPIAL Class AAA championship basketball game between South Fayette and Montour.

Here's to a speedy recovery and hope to see you out this fall.

* This is the absolute worst spring for rain that I can remember.

* Fort Cherry junior Tanner Garry struck out 17 Southmoreland batters in an eight-inning game last Friday. That's the most I can remember in a varsity game for a local pitcher in some time.

* Speaking of the Rangers, junior Jessie Merckle had another outstanding early-season javelin throw.

In a meet Thursday at Burgettstown, Merckle had a WPIAL-best throw of 143-5. Merckle's personal best is a 147-7, which came during her sophomore year and is the 16th best throw in WPIAL history according to Jim Faiella's honor roll.

Merckle, the Girls Field MVP at Saturday's Washington & Greene County Coaches Meet, is ranked sixth nationally according to With Beka Bellhy and Jenna Lucas, Fort Cherry has three of the top six javelin marks in WPIAL Class AA.

* Clairton's Trenton Coles ran a wind-aided 10.37 in the 100-meter dash at Thursday's Blackhills Invitational at Chartiers-Houston. It may be wind-aided, but that is an outstanding time regardless.

* The WPIAL will announce its fifth Hall of Fame class Tuesday, April 26 at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the History Center in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A total of 15 inductees will be announced, in addition to the 2011 WPIAL Courage Award winner.

Former O-R sports writer and proud Wash High graduate Jim Montecalvo, who died on June 7, 2008 at the age of 26, was honored posthumously with the Courage Award in 2010.

* Washington is dropping varsity boys golf.

* Beth-Center senior Jeff Tarley is a three-sport standout who is in the middle of baseball season for the Bulldogs, who look like one of the better teams in Class A at this point.

Tarley's best sport is wrestling and there's a chance he could end up signing with West Virginia University soon.

* Burgettstown has hired Rich Tranquill as its new boys varsity basketball coach. Tranquill, an Avella graduate, spent the past three seasons with the Blue Devils as an assistant coach.

* The Washington-Trinity alumni football game is scheduled for July 8 and, according to Robert Bishop of Alumni Football USA, there are waiting lists to play for both teams and a venue outside of Washington is interested in hosting.

Both teams will hold a meeting Saturday at the Vernon C. Neal Sports Complex at noon.

* Follow me on Twitter: @TheMikeKovak

All in the family

Someone posed this question last week, "Who are the best set of twins to play sports in the area?"

Tough question.

Naturally, the Lapkowicz twins - Jared and Jeff - of Carmichaels came to mind. So did Jeremy and Josh Kemp of Fort Cherry. That could be due to the fact that the Lapkowicz and Kemp brothers were part of teams that either won or played for WPIAL championships, so the additional coverage added to the visibility.

Taking the originial question, let's broaden the topic and look at some of the better family combinations. We're looking at brother combos, sister combos, brother/sister, twins, triplets, basically whatever we can come up with, excluding parent/sibling, cousins, etc.

I came up with some. I'd like to hear who I'm missing.

Connor and Taylor Schram, Canon-McMillan
Rashad and Vanessa Davison, Washington
Zach, Nate, Beka and Rachel Bellhy, Fort Cherry
The Gibson family (too many to remember), Canon-McMillan
Chuck and Nikki Gasti, Carmichaels

Jared, Jeff and Joby Lapkowicz, Carmichaels
Chris, Nick and Corey Wilcox, Peters Township
The Dyers, Peters Township
The Conns, Bentworth
Jeremy and Josh Kemp, Fort Cherry

Jaci, Karli and Tanya Timko, Chartiers-Houston
Sarah and Alison Riske, Peters Township
Kimmie and Colby Miller, Chartiers-Houston

Follow me on Twitter: @TheMikeKovak

Monday, April 18, 2011

AD from high-profile PA sports program arrested

RADNOR (AP) - The athletic director at Archbishop Carroll High School allegedly used Facebook to solicit sexual favors from a male student, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
Francis Murphy, 39, was arrested Friday on charges of unlawful contact with a minor, promoting prostitution, corruption of minors and related offenses, police documents stated.
Murphy, who has served as the Catholic high school’s athletic director since 1999, is behind bars at Montgomery County prison in lieu of $250,000 cash bail, according to court records.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman announced the arrest today, saying the alleged victim reported that Murphy was sending him sexually suggestive messages on Facebook.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia released a statement this morning saying that Murphy had been placed on administrative leave, pending dismissal. They also noted that all of the required criminal background checks and child abuse clearances were in place.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bellhy shines on all-star circuit

Considering how little defense was played during the annual Washington-Greene Senior All-Star Basketball Game, Fort Cherry senior Nate Bellhy may have scored 70 points.

But Bellhy, a Seton Hill recruit, did rather well in the two higher profile all-star games in which he participated. Actually, he did very well.

Bellhy played in the Hoops for the Cure Friday night at Chartiers Valley High School. He was part of the WPIAL All-Stars team (Class A, AA and AAA) along with South Fayette's Pat Zedreck and Mike Lamberti among others. Bellhy earned team MVP honors with 24 points.

Last night, Bellhy earned MVP honors for the WPIAL Class AA team at the Roundball Classic at Geneva College as he scored 13 points against the Class A all-stars. Lamberti was MVP for the Class AAA all-stars as he scored 16 points.

Follow me on Twitter:!/

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The O-R Sports Headliner is ...

Readers will have to wait to read the newspaper to find that out, but there was some lively debate last weekend in the sports department and, after about 20 minutes of discussion, a consensus was reached.

The Observer-Reporter Sports Headliner, awarded annually to the top local newsmaker, will be selected from the following finalists and presented at the Tri-County Athletic Directors Coach of the year Banquet, which takes place May 1 at the DoubleTree Hilton Meadow Lands.

(In alphabetical order)
1. Canon-McMillan wrestling
The Big Macs won Powerade (an impressive accomplishment) and the WPIAL Class AAA team title. They failed to produce a PIAA individual champion but with a handful of second- and third-place finishes, the Big Macs won the state team championship.

2. Chartiers-Houston softball
The Bucs came this close to elimination in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals and didn't win a district title. None of that mattered in the PIAA playoffs, where C-H advanced to the state championship for the sixth time. Unlike the previous five appearances, the Bucs not only plated a run, they beat Montgomery, 4-1.

3. Josh Koscheck headlines PPV
Nothing drives a Pay-Per-View like a great heel, and Waynesburg native Koscheck was willing to be that heel for UFC 124 in a main event match against Georges St-Pierre. The much hyped fight had a lead-in with both opponents working TV's "The Ultimate Fighter", but Koscheck lost by unanimous decision and suffered a broken orbital bone.

4. Peters Township girls soccer
Before the 2010 season, PT girls soccer wore the title of "Best program never to win a WPIAL or PIAA championship." That changed when the Indians rolled through the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs then knocked off nationally ranked Archbishop Wood, 1-0, in the state championship match.

5. South Fayette football
After years of playoff struggles, South Fayette won its first WPIAL championship since 1964 by beating Aliquippa in the Class AA final. South Fayette, the area's first football champion since wash High in 2001, went on to lose to Philadelphia West Catholic in the state championship, finishing with a 15-1 record.

Naturally, the saga between Ed Dalton and the Trinity Area School Board and the strange operating methods of Peters Township with its coaching staff dominated headlines at times throughout the year. While these stories were heavily covered and topics of discussion throughout the local sports community, the O-R sports staff did not feel they were appropriate when considering the headliner.

Monday, April 11, 2011

How I voted

The Tri-County Athletic Directors Coach of the Year Banquet will be held Sunday, May 1 at 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hilton near the Meadows Casino & Racetrack. The banquet, which honors coaches and athletes from South Fayette to Southmoreland to Albert Gallatin to West Greene and Burgettstown, benefits Special Olympics.

Student-athletes that were selected as first-team all-state football players, such as South Fayette's Christian Brumbaugh, or others who made their respective all-state teams, such as Peters Township girls soccer player Shelli Spamer and Trinity basketball standout Josh Valentic will be honored.

So will the coaches.

Coaches of the Year are selected in the following categories: football, boys basketball, girls basketball, wrestling, baseball and softball. Coaches who won WPIAL or played for PIAA championships in Olympic Sports categories will also be honored.

The Observer-Reporter distributes ballots in each categories to schools, and the athletic director then hands them to the coaches, who are asked to vote for their top three.

The O-R sports staff gets a vote in each category as well, and I voted for the five categories other than wrestling, and will disclose my votes now.

Football - 1. Joe Rossi, South Fayette; 2. Matt Humbert, Ringgold; 3. Terry Fetsko, Chartiers-Houston.

Boys basketball - 1. Joe Salvino, Monessen; 2. Rich Bonnaure, South Fayette, 3. Pete Logan, Ringgold.

Girls basketball - 1. Bob Miles, Fort Cherry, 2. Gina Naccarato, Monessen, 3. Nick Mahalko, Charleroi.

Baseball - 1. Joe Maize, Peters Township, 2. Don Hartman, California, 3. Levi Bristor, Trinity.

Softball - 1. Tricia Alderson, Chartiers-Houston, 2. Jack Cramer, Bentworth, 3. Lars Johnson, Waynesburg.

Green is Mr. PA Football

Clairton's Deismon Green won the first Mr. PA Football small school award as selected by fans, and apparently some media and coaches. Hopewell's Rushel Shell, recently named the country's No. 11 recruit for 2012 by MaxPreps/CBS Sports, won the big school award.

Washington's Julien Anderson and South Fayette's Christian Brumbaugh were two of five finalists for the small school award.

Green, a Texas Tech recruit, led Clairton to a wild comeback in the PIAA Class A championship game - the second consecutive state title for the Bears. As a quarterback, Green accounted for 43 touchdowns and was equally effective at defensive end, where he had 14 sacks. (The guess here is he had to have more than 14 sacks.)

Shell, who has offers from most major colleges, has rushed for 6,766 yards and should break the WPIAL all-time rushing mark established by Fort Cherry's Mike Vernillo in 1999. Follow me on Twitter.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Timko loses in section final

Chartiers-Houston senior Tanya Timko can become the first tennis player in WPIAL history to complete the grand slam next week if she can win the WPIAL Class AA boys singles championship.

It's not going to be easy.

Mt. Pleasant's David Cenkner defeated Timko 6-3, 6-1 in the finals of the Section 1-AA Tournament Friday at Greensburg Racquet Club.

Timko (pictured on the right with her older sister Karli) already won WPIAL championships in girls singles, girls doubles and boys doubles. Her most recent WPIAL championship came in the fall of the 2009-10 school year when she won girls singles. In doubles, Timko teamed with Karli to become the first girls doubles team to play in the PIAA boys doubles championship. The duo were the first females to win a WPIAL boys doubles championship.

Several girls have won WPIAL boys singles titles, including former California High School standout Sarah Shashura, who is now at Brownsville.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Texas-sized baseball blowout

50-run baseball blowout in Texas prompts changes

AP Sports Writer
DALLAS (AP) — Late on a school night, in a game already delayed because of lightning, Richardson Lake Highlands High School came to bat in the top of the fifth inning leading Dallas Samuell by around 30 runs.
Then they scored another 20 or so. The final score was either 53-0, like the scoreboard read, or 57-0, like the winning coach tallied it up. Worse even than the 56-7 Highlands win over Samuell in football this past season.
It was the most lopsided prep baseball game in state history.
The game has gone beyond just another blowout between a suburban program stocked with kids whose parents can afford out-of-season training and a school struggling to field a team in a low-income neighborhood.
It’s already led to a change in the mercy rules in the local school district. Administrators hope it will bring attention to an often-ignored national rule that offers an easy way to end obvious mismatches.
Most of all, it reignited the discussion about sportsmanship in high school athletics, raising questions about how to handle being on either end of such a game.
Good thing, because the teams play again Friday night.
Lake Highlands coach Jay Higgins is among the dean of baseball coaches in Texas. His school opened in 1963, and he arrived in 1967, making this his 44th season. Last season, he made his 25th trip to the state playoffs, having gotten as far as regional finals twice. Also last year, he was inducted into the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.
He showed up to the Samuell game with 783 wins. Although his Wildcats arrived at Pleasant Grove Field sitting at 0-5, having dropped three games by a single run and going down 11-1 in another, there wasn’t much doubt his team would win.
Once upon a time, Samuell High was pretty good at baseball — state champs in 1965, the only such crown for a Dallas school. But these days, the school doesn’t have enough players to field a junior varsity or freshman team. Samuell won only about three games a year when it played in Class 4A and this season was forced to join 5A, the biggest classification.
Still, first-year coach Mike Pena was 1-0 when he arrived for the home game against Lake Highlands. His Spartans had won 18-7 over a smaller-division school that hasn’t beaten anyone this season.
Neither coach returned calls to talk about the game. However, by all accounts, Higgins tried to do the right thing. Once his team was comfortably ahead, Higgins pulled some starters and emptied his bench. He let his hitters swing away, but told them not to take more than one base. They didn’t steal.
According to a community newspaper in Lake Highlands, the Wildcats had 44 hits — 38 singles, five doubles and a triple. They didn’t have a single home run.
Samuell, meanwhile, didn’t have a hit. Two guys reached on errors, so it wasn’t a perfect game.
“We did everything possible,” Higgins told The Dallas Morning News. “The national federation, which is the rule book we go by, says you have to play five innings before the game is considered official. That’s what I was worried about if you stop after three innings and somebody comes back and says, ‘Well, you guys didn’t play an official game.”’
While Texas coaches follow the rule of ending any game when a team is up by 10 runs after five innings, or 4 1/2 if the home team is ahead, there is another provision that can apply. Rule 4, Section 2, Article 4 of the National Federation of Baseball Rule Book — used in Texas and most states — says a game can be ended early with the agreement of both coaches and the umpire.
“It’s not ever been used to my knowledge,” said Mark Cousins, interim athletic director for the University Interscholastic League, the organization that oversees public high schools in Texas, and a former associate director in charge of baseball. “We don’t necessarily publicize the rule, but it’s been in there for a number of years.”
Elliot Hopkins is the baseball rules editor and national interpreter for the National Federation of State High School Associations. He said it was irresponsible that coaches wouldn’t be more versed in game-ending procedures, but the umpires should’ve known the rule — or done something.
“We don’t put common sense in the rule book, but we hope they use it. Nor do we legislate integrity, but hopefully they use that as well,” Hopkins said. “With a game like this, you worry that a kid wouldn’t want to continue. He might say, ’We just got smoked. I’m done.’ Nobody wants any of that to happen.”
It didn’t. All 17 Samuell players returned for practice the next day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

2010-11 Girls All-District team

First team
Beka Bellhy, Fort Cherry
Junior, F
Versatile playmaker and two-time first-team pick led PIAA Class A quarterfinalists with a 14.4 scoring average and scored 13 or more points in all but one of Fort Cherry’s seven postseason games.
Emily Hansen, Canon-McMillan
Senior, G
The first Girls Player of the Year from Canon-McMillan and only the Big Macs’ second 1,000-point scorer averaged 16.6 points in her final season. A two-time first-team selection.
Jessie Merckle, Fort Cherry
Junior, PG
Possibly the area’s most improved player and quickest point guard, Merckle averaged 11.1 points per game and frequently hit double figures in assists and steals.
Geena Shrader, Monessen
Junior, G
Shrader, a two-time first team selection, topped 1,000 points during Monessen’s playoff run and she averaged 16.1 for a team that finished 25-2 and returns every starter next year.
Amanda Temple, Avella
Senior, G/F
Temple accomplished something no girls player from Washington County did since Burgettstown’s Jamie O’Donnell in 1998 – she led the WPIAL in scoring. Temple averaged 21.9 points.

Second team
Shannon Flament, Charleroi
Junior, G
Flament missed two games for Charleroi and her absence led to one of the Cougars’ two losses. She averaged 14.1 points.
Carolena Gasbarro, Fort Cherry
Junior, F
Whether it was guarding the opponent’s top player, scoring or rebounding, she could provide as she averaged 10.3 points.
Morgan Kurtz, Trinity
Junior, G
One of the area’s best three-point shooters, Kurtz paced Trinity’s offense with a scoring average of 13.9.
Aujuwa Moore, Washington
Senior, F/G
The runner-up for Section 4-AA Player of the year, Moore averaged 12.9 points and hit double figures in 11 of her last 12 games.
Chelsea Szakal, Monessen
Sophomore, F
Szakal emerged as a post presence to complement the Greyhounds’ outstanding guards. She averaged 11.5 points.

Third team
Ashley Balzer, Chartiers-Houston
Sophomore, F
The 5-10 Balzer paced an balanced offense for a young, emerging team and averaged 10.9 points.
Jessica Dorazio, Bentworth
Junior, G
Dorazio became a dynamic scorer and the focal point of the Bearcats’ offense as she averaged 16.2 points.
Morgan Iacovino, Charleroi
Senior, F
Iacovino, who will play in the Roundball Classic, anchored Charleroi’s offense and defense. She averaged 12.7 points.
Jocelyn Lucsko, McGuffey
Junior, G
The Highlanders could count on Lucsko to play hard and score points as she averaged 12.6 points.
Chianti Sivek, Ringgold
Junior, G
One of the area’s top players the second half of the season, Sivek averaged 13.9 points the final eight games.

2010-11 Boys All-District team

First team
Nate Bellhy, Fort Cherry
Senior, F/G
Seton Hill-bound Bellhy, the leading scorer in Fort Cherry history with 1,518points, is a double-double machine with shot blocking ability. The 6-6 Bellhy averaged 25.8 points and topped 40 points twice.
Mike Lamberti, South Fayette
Senior, F
Believed to be the first four-time selection to the All-District First Team, the versatile Lamberti averaged a team-best 17.2 points, 8.2 rebounds with 33 blocked shots. Headed to West Liberty State.
Tyler Pavan, Burgettstown
Senior, G
The Blue Devils’ premier three-sport athlete is a two-time Section 5-AA first-team pick and a 1,000-point scorer. Nearly unstoppable off the drive, Pavan (pictured) averaged 23.8 points.
Josh Valentic, Trinity
Senior, G
Arguably the best boys player in Trinity history and the Hillers’ all-time scoring leader with 1,655 points. Wheeling Jesuit-bound Valentic averaged 30.4 points and topped 30 13 times.
Pat Zedreck, South Fayette
Senior, PG
The Observer-Reporter Player of the Year is a four-year starter and 1,000-point scroer. Zedreck helped Lions reached PIAA Class AAA semifinals and averaged 15.2 points.

Second team
Dylan Berger, Canon-McMillan
Senior, F
Big Macs big man averaged 16.3 points and is being recruited by Millersville, Lycoming and Bethany.
Cam Johnson, Monessen
Senior, C
The 6-7 Johnson played his best in the postseason as he had seven double-doubles in eight games.
Justin Robinson, Canon-McMillan
Senior, G
Versatile Robinson could play all five positions for Big Macs and scored no less than 14 points in final eight games.
Andrew Stine, Ringgold
Senior, G
Sharpshooter set Rams’ single-game scoring record with 42 points against Waynesburg and averaged 14.2.
John Tyler, California
Senior, G
Dynamic athlete set Washington-Green All-Star record with 49 points and averaged 16.1 in final season.

Third team
Nick Bolias, Monessen
Senior, G
Greyhounds point guard and defensive stopper helped team to WPIAL Class AA championship.
Tanner Huffman, California
Sophomore, PG
Huffman continues to elvove as an offensive threat and led Trojans in scoring at 17.0 points per game.
Seth Krall, Carmichaels
Senior, G
Krall averaged 16.1 points and played well down the stretch as Mikes tied Avella for Section 2-A title.
Colin McCormick, Ringgold
Senior, G
Well-rounded guard averaged 13.6 and helped Rams win 14 more games than the previous season.
Josh Patterson, South Fayette
Senior, G
A premier defensive player, Patterson could match up against a point guard or center and averaged 10.5 points.

Fort Cherry's Miles honored as Class A Coach of the Year

Fort Cherry girls basketball coach Bob Miles was selected as the 2010-11 PIAA Class A Coach of the Year by the media members who select the Pennsylvania girls all-state high school basketball team.

Miles has compiled a 212-120 record in 14 years as Fort Cherry's coach. This year, the Rangers went 24-5, which set a team record for wins in a season. Miles guided the Rangers to the WPIAL Class A championship game and the PIAA quarterfinals.

Fort Cherry returns four starters next year.

The Rangers didn't place any players on the all-state team, however, Monessen junior Geena Shrader was a second-team Class A pick.

The 2010-11 Pennsylvania sports writers’ girls all-state high school basketball team, as chosen by a statewide panel. (Player, school, height, class, scoring avg.)
First team
Ciara Andrews, Cheltenham, 5-10, Sr., 19.8
Madison Cable, Mount Lebanon, 5-10, Sr., 17.4
Mary Jo Horgan, Mount St. Joseph, 5-8, Sr., 15.4
Stasia King, Harrisburg, 6-2, Sr., 14.2
Belma Nurkic, Baldwin, 5-11, Sr., 18.9
Alex Wheatley, Council Rock South, 6-3, Jr., 20.1
Second team
Emily Fazzini, Archbishop Carroll, 5-10, Sr., 10.2
Kiersten Green, Manheim Township, 5-6, Sr., 18.2
Anna Kestler, Mount Lebanon, 5-5, Sr., 5.3
Erika Livermore, Nazareth, 6-1, Sr., 18.1
Val McQuade, Shaler, 6-0, Sr., 16.1
Jess Rotella, Archbishop Prendergast, 5-10, Sr., 14.3
Steph Smith, Mount St. Joseph, 6-0, Sr., 12.8
Third team
Kara Bonenberger, Northampton, 6-1, Sr., 12.5
Kelly Brennan, North Allegheny, 5-8, Sr., 15.9
Ashley Espinosa, Governor Mifflin, 5-5, Jr., 16.5
Lila Jones, Lower Merion, 5-7, Sr., 12.3
Candace Martino, Bethel Park, 5-8, Sr., 14.4
Maya Nelson, Chester, 6-0, Sr., 15.6
Gisselle Truiett, Red Lion, 5-10, Sr., 12.0
Player of the year — Madison Cable, Mount Lebanon
Coach of the year — Dori Oldaker, Mount Lebanon

First team
Kahleah Copper, Prep Charter, 6-1, Jr., 17.0
Kayla Hoohuli, St. Marys, 5-8, Sr., 28.4
Kerry Kinek, Allentown Central Catholic, 6-0, Jr., 18.9
Christine Verrelle, Archbishop Wood, 5-8, Sr., 9.1
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Hopewell, 5-11, So., 20.9
Amy Zehner, Tamaqua, 5-10, Sr., 22.0
Second team
LaShauna Brothers, New Castle, 5-10, Sr., 18.3
Alexa Hayward, Blackhawk, 5-8, Sr., 15.2
Tiffany Johnson, Prep Charter, 5-7, Sr., 12.4
Steph Keyes, Archbishop Wood, 5-9, Sr., 10.5
Val Majewski, General McLane, 5-7, Sr., 21.5
Kelsey Sleighter, Uniontown, 5-7, Sr., 19.3
Lindsay Stamp, Mercyhurst Prep, 5-10, Sr., 13.5
Third team
Brooke Angelos, Malvern Villa Maria, 5-5, Sr., 12.3
Tori Arnao, Archbishop Wood, 6-0, Sr., 6.6
Amanda Berchtold, Mercyhurst Prep, 5-4, Jr., 9.8
Meghan Ledwith, Villa Joseph Marie, 5-10, Sr., 12.3
Natalie Hager, Franklin, 5-9, Jr., 12.7
Marita Mathe, Indiana, 5-7, Sr., 9.5
Celeste Robinson, Jim Thorpe, 5-10, Jr., 22.8
Player of the year — Kayla Hoohuli, St. Marys
Coach of the year — Dan Perfetto, Mercyhurst Prep

First team
Brittany Hrynko, Engineering & Science, 5-8, Sr., 19.2
Lisa Mifsud, Erie Villa Maria, 5-7, Jr., 13.7
Sierra Moore, Delone Catholic, 5-10, Jr., 23.4
Ashley Murray, Dunmore, 5-7, Sr., 15.7
Tierney Pfirman, South Williamsport, 5-11, Jr., 29.4
Kady Schrann, York Catholic, 5-8, Sr., 17.2
Second team
Alexa Gallagher, Germantown Academy, 6-1, Sr., 11.2
Naje Gibson, Seton-LaSalle, 6-0, Fr., 13.7
Sami Lane, Loyalsock, 5-7, Sr., 18.0
Megan McGurk, Academy of Notre Dame, 5-8, So., 12.4
Monaye Merritt, Friends Central, 5-6, Sr., 14.3
Danielle Terranella, Mid Valley, 5-7, Jr., 19.6
Erin Waskowiak, Bishop Canevin Catholic, 5-10, So., 19.9
Third team
Selena Adamshick, Lake-Lehman, 6-1, Sr., 21.2
Ciara Gregory, Jeannette, 5-8, So., 20.3
Alex Marple, Wellsboro, 5-8, Sr., 17.0
Karlee McBride, Erie Villa Maria, 5-10, So., 6.3
Aimee Oertner, Northern Lehigh, 6-2., Jr., 17.7
Aleesha Powell, Penn Charter, 5-5, Sr., 14.4
Tess Zufall, Greensburg Central Catholic, 5-8., Sr., 15.3
Player of the year — Kady Schrann, York Catholic
Coach of the year — Bob O’Brien, Dunmore

First team
Halee Adams, Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic, 5-7, So., 20.7
Gabby Baldasare, Vincentian, 6-1, Sr., 14.1
Emily Homan, Delaware County Christian, 6-3, Sr., 15.5
Hannah Rush, Sacred Heart, 5-6, Sr., 12.1
Katelyn Skinner, Homer-Center, 5-10, Jr., 18.7
Malia Tate-DeFreitas, Steelton-Highspire, 5-5, So., 23.9
Second team
Marissa Carry, Farrell, 5-7, Jr., 22.0
Kiely Chaklos, Nativity BVM, 5-2, Sr., 15.7
Kendall Hoffman, Pittsburgh North Catholic, 5-9, Sr., 17.6
Tara Nahodil, Tri-Valley, 6-4, So., 12.1
Justine Seely, Benton, 6-0, So., 18.0
Geena Shrader, Monessen, 5-7, Jr., 17.6
Juli Weber, Tri-Valley, 5-6, So., 13.3
Third team
Cinnamon Brown, Steelton-Highspire, 6-2, Sr., 8.7
Reilly Gavitt, Sullivan County, 5-8, Sr., 20.0
Morgan Johnson, Keystone, 5-10, So., 18.7
Stacey MacArthur, Delaware County Christian, 5-6, So., 13.9
Jenna Matzinger, Coudersport, 5-8, Sr., 15.8
Autumn Pellman, Greenwood, 5-11, Sr., 20.4
Brittany Phelps, Cowanesque Valley, 5-7, Sr., 17.0
Player of the year — Malia Tate-DeFreitas, Steelton-Highspire
Coach of the year — Bob Miles, Fort Cherry

Stepoli brothers denied eligibility

(Yeah, this is a little late. Catching up on a few things and fighting Pirates fever.)

The long, publicized saga of Terrence and Josh Stepoli took another turn Tuesday when WPIAL Executive Director Tim O'Malley announced the brothers were denied eligibility by the Board of Control.

The brothers, both of Monessen, transferred back to Monessen March 7, just two days after the Greyhounds defeated Greensburg Central Catholic in the WPIAL Class AA basketball championship. The WPIAL ruled the most recent move was made for, at least in part, athletic intent.

Both were starters on the GCC basketball team until both left the team under odd circumstances, which were explained publicly as concentrating on football. Josh Stepoli, a junior, is a Division I football prospect.

Terrence Stepoli, a senior, transferred from Monessen to GCC in early 2010, not long after a basketball game at Wash High. Josh Stepoli followed a couple weeks later. The WPIAL denied eligibility for basketball for one year from the transfer dates but permitted the brothers to play football but the decision was overturned by the PIAA, as is usually the case.

According to reports, Terrence Stepoli planned on joining the Monessen track team.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lamberti leads local quartet on Boys All-State Basketball Team

South Fayette senior Mike Lamberti – the first four-time selection to the Observer-Reporter All-District first team – is now a three-time all-state selection.

The 6-6 forward and West Liberty recruit was a first-team Class AAA selection in the 2010-11 Pennsylvania sports writers' boys all-state high school basketball team. The team is chosen by a statewide panel.

Lamberti was a second-team Class AA pick last year and a third-team pick as a sophomore.

Trinity's Josh Valentic may be the first boys player in school history to earn all-state recognition. The shooting guard and Wheeling Jesuit recruit with a 30-point average was a second-team pick.

South Fayette's Pat Zedreck - the O-R Player of the Year - was a third-team pick.

Monessen's Cam Johnson, who elevated his play during the Greyhounds' run to the WPIAL Class AA title and PIAA semifinals, was a second team pick.

The 2010-11 Pennsylvania sports writers’ boys all-state high school basketball team, as chosen by a statewide panel. (Player, school, height, class, scoring avg.)
Ryan Arcidiacono, Neshaminy, 6-4, jr, 20.4 ppg
Jaylen Bond, Plymouth-Whitemarsh, 6-7, sr, 19.0 ppg
Aaron Brown, Penn Wood, 6-5, sr, 19.0 ppg
Darrun Hilliard, Bethlehem Liberty, 6-5, sr, 19.8 ppg
Kelvin Parker, York, 6-4, sr, 19.7 ppg
Devin Thomas, Central Dauphin, 6-8, jr, 21.4 ppg
Cory Blake, Rustin, 6-4, sr, 16.0 ppg
Jalen Cannon, Allentown Allen, 6-5, sr, 20.0 ppg
Devon Cottrell, Gateway, 6-7, sr, 18.1 ppg
Anthony Dallier, North Allegheny, 6-6, jr, 24.0 ppg
Eddie Mitchell, La Salle College, 6-0, sr, 16.1 ppg
Aaron Morgan, Council Rock North, 6-0, jr, 14.6 ppg
Terry Turner, Scranton, 6-7, jr, 17.1 ppg
Tynell Fortune, Pocono Mountain West, 5-9, sr, 20.0 ppg
Four McGlynn, Dallastown, 6-1, sr, 23.8 ppg
Maurice Nelson, Chester, 5-11, sr, 13.8 ppg
Jordan Swauger, Hollidaysburg, 6-3, sr, 19.3 ppg
Geno Thorpe, Shaler, 6-3, so, 17.5 ppg
Erikk Wright, Chester, 6-3, jr, 10.8 ppg
Mike Zangari, Red Land, 6-9 1/2, jr, 18.7 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jaylen Bond, Plymouth-Whitemarsh
COACH OF THE YEAR: Larry Yarbray, Chester

Lamin Fulton, Neumann-Goretti, 5-9, sr, 15.5 ppg
Juan’ya Green, Archbishop Carroll, 6-3, sr, 20.8 ppg
Mike Lamberti, South Fayette, 6-6, sr, 17.9 ppg
Micah Mason, Highlands, 6-3, jr, 34.0 ppg
Andrew Nicholas, Eastern York, 6-6, sr, 21.4 ppg
Jerrell Wright, Dobbins Tech, 6-8, sr, 20.0 ppg
Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Allentown Central Catholic, 6-3, fr, 14.0 ppg
Peter Alexis, Holy Redeemer, 6-11, sr, 20.5 ppg
John Davis, Neumann-Goretti, 6-4, so, 13.4 ppg
A.J. Dean, Susquehanna Twp, 6-4, sr, 21.0 ppg
Joe Getz, Archbishop Wood, 6-0, sr, 21.0 ppg
Brendan Kilpatrick, Malvern Prep, 6-5, jr, 16.2 ppg
Josh Valentic, Trinity, 6-5, sr, 30.3 ppg
Lamont Clark, Octorara, 5-10, sr, 15.5 ppg
Luke Gallaher, Forest Hills, 6-0, sr, 24.2 ppg
Derrick Stewart, Neumann-Goretti, 6-5, jr, 11.7 ppg
Austin Tillotson, Eastern York, 6-0, sr, 13.9 ppg
Phil Wenger, Lancaster Catholic, 6-1, sr, 12.6 ppg
Devin Wilson, Montour, 6-3, so, 12.6 ppg
Pat Zedreck, South Fayette, 6-0, sr, 15.5 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Juan’ya Green, Archbishop Carroll
COACH OF THE YEAR: Adam Kaufman, Montour

David Appolon, Imhotep Charter, 6-3, sr, 10.3 ppg
Devin Coleman, Friends Central, 6-3, sr, 15.6 ppg
Amile Jefferson, Friends Central, 6-8, jr, 17.7 ppg
Sheldon Jeter, Beaver Falls, 6-7, jr, 24.9 ppg
Daniel Ochefu, Westtown, 6-9, jr, 16.0 ppg
Ameen Tanksley, Imhotep Charter, 6-5, sr, 12.7 ppg
Erik Copes, Imhotep Charter, 6-8, sr, 7.8 ppg
Jimmy Hammer, Germantown Academy, 6-2, sr, 19.5 ppg
Ky Howard, Shipley School, 6-3, sr, 18.9 ppg
Cam Johnson, Monessen, 6-6, sr, 12.5 ppg
Jerry Kincel, Riverside, 6-2, jr, 22.3 ppg
Kevin Montminy, Penns Valley, 6-3, sr, 21.5 ppg
Jesse Reed, Greensburg Central Catholic, 6-5, sr, 18.5 ppg
Tommy Armillay, Riverside, 6-3, sr, 15.3 ppg
Tyler Bogaczyk, Loyalsock, 6-5, sr, 18.0 ppg
Matt Brozewicz, Seneca, 6-4, sr, 27.7 ppg
Brady Burke, Pine Grove, 6-5, sr, 14.8 ppg
Rich Hoskins, Communications Tech, 6-1, jr, 14.2 ppg
Josh Vigneault, Central Cambria, 6-1, sr, 28.5 ppg
Pete Yingst, Hanover, 5-10, sr, 22.8 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Amile Jefferson, Friends Central
COACH OF THE YEAR: Andre Noble, Imhotep Charter

Rakeem Christmas, Academy of the New Church, 6-9, sr, 9.4 ppg
Savon Lloyd-Goodman, Academy of the New Church, 6-5, jr, 13.4 ppg
Donovon Jack, Reading Central Catholic, 6-9, jr, 16.2 ppg
Chaquille Pratt, Lincoln Park, 6-3, sr, 22.7 ppg
Jabril Trawick, Abington Friends, 6-5, sr, 20.4 ppg
Damien Williams, Phelps, 6-5, jr, 16.1 ppg
Warren Dogan, Math, Civics & Sciences, 6-2, sr, 12.5 ppg
Dylan Gravatt, Rocky Grove, 6-4, sr, 21.9 ppg
Xavier Harris, Constitution, 6-5, sr, 14.6 ppg
Wes Lyons, Millville, 6-5, sr, 27.6 ppg
Daiquan Walker, Constitution, 6-1, jr, 17.7 ppg
Devontae Watson, Lincoln Park, 6-10, jr, 16.0 ppg
Jeremiah Worthem, Math, Civics & Sciences, 6-6, so, 14.8 ppg
Luke Berguson, Mansfield, 6-3, sr, 18.1 ppg
John Bray, Vincentian, 6-4, sr, 19.2 ppg
Craig Ciranni, Homer-Center, 6-4, sr, 23.9 ppg
Marcus Dawkins, Reading Central Catholic, 6-3, sr, 14.2 ppg
Cameron Hinkel, Greenwood, 6-3, sr, 15.0 ppg
Markeith Mont, World Communications, 6-5, sr, 17.1 ppg
Howard Sellars, Church Farm, 6-0, so, 15.0 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Rakeem Christmas, Academy of the New Church
COACH OF THE YEAR: George Yokitis, Vincentian

Follow me on Twitter:!/TheMikeKovak

Sunday, April 3, 2011

WPIAL girls track honor roll

Jim Faiella, a longtime supporter of Trinity athletics and the girls cross country coach for the Hillers, compiles the WPIAL girls track and field honor roll. It's as comprehensive a list of top times and distances that one can find considering WPIAL track and it's an essential tool for coaches and media. Faiella not only compiles lists of the top performers in every event for each track season, past seasons are archived and there is an all-time list for each event. Those interested can see the site by clicking

Saturday, April 2, 2011

O-R Girls Players of the Year

Girls Players of the Year
2011 – Emily Hansen, Canon-McMillan
2010 – Megan Sowers, Beth-Center
2009 – Emily Correal, Peters Township
2008 – Emily Correal, Peters Township
2007 – Emily Correal, Peters Township
2006 – Vanessa Davison, Washington (pictured)
2005 – Rachel Phillips, West Greene
2004 – Vanessa Davison, Washington
2003 – Amber Harris, Washington
2002 – Emily Briggs, Chartiers-Houston (pictured)
2001 – Emily Briggs, Chartiers-Houston
2000 – Kristen Lancas, Ringgold
1999 – Lauren Hull, West Greene
1998 – Kristin Polosky, Mapletown
1997 – Amanda Burchett, Trinity
1996 – Gina Naccarato, Monessen
1995 – Gina Naccarato, Monessen
1994 – Gina Naccarato, Monessen
1993 – Gina Naccarato, Monessen
1992 – Elizabeth Proudfit, Washington
1991 – Elizabeth Proudfit, Washington
1990 – Elizabeth Proudfit, Washington
1989 – Pam Noble, Fort Cherry
1988 – Jamie O’Donnell, Burgettstown
1987 – Jamie O’Donnell, Burgettstown
1986 – Kim Spencer, Washington
1985 – Michelle Bazzolli, Chartiers-Houston
1984 – Lynette Schwartz, Peters Township
1983 – Lynn Bazzolli, Chartiers-Houston

O-R Boys Players of the Year

Boys Players of the Year
2011 – Pat Zedreck, South Fayette
2010 – Mike Lamberti, South Fayette
2009 – Nick Wilcox, Peters Township
2008 – Charles Murphy, Canon-McMillan (pictured)
2007 – Jock Wells, Washington
2006 – Christian Goetz, Burgettstown
2005 – Dan Davis, Fort Cherry (pictured)
2004 – Nate Stoner, Waynesburg
2003 – Paul Ruhmann, South Fayette
2002 – Javon Hines, South Fayette
2001 – Tom Lulich, Peters Township
2000 – Eric Lang, Peters Township
1999 – Aaron Ankrom, Waynesburg
1998 – Bryant Thomas, Bentworth
1997 – Henry Klinar, Peters Township
1996 – Justin Voithofer, Carmichaels
1995 – Mike Horan, Ringgold
1994 – Vince Graham, Belle Vernon
1993 – Chad Lechner, Carmichaels
1992 – Mike Maloy, Washington
1991 – Brian Miller, Ringgold
1990 – Yancey Taylor, Ringgold
1989 – Matt Jennings, Immaculate Conception
1988 – Wade Timmerson, Fort Cherry
1987 – Dan Conn, Bentworth
1986 – Ron Moore, Washington
1985 – Chris Popeck, Washington
1984 – Adam Sarson, Peters Township
1983 – Duane Johnson, Canon-McMillan
Tony Conn, Bentworth
1982 – Jeff Conn, Bentworth
1981 – Lance Spernak, Mon Valley Catholic
1980 – Ray Natili, Immaculate Conception

Former PT standout Gallagher impressing White Sox

Peters Township graduate Jim Gallagher put together one solid spring training with the Chicago White Sox.

Girls scoring leaders

Name, school GP Pts. Avg.
Temple, Avella 23 504 21.9
Shrader, Monessen 25 435 17.4
Hansen, Canon-McMillan 19 315 16.6
Dorazio, Bentworth 20 325 16.2
Shashura, Beth-Center 17 262 15.4
B. Bellhy, Fort Cherry 27 403 14.9
Phillis, Burgettstown 20 287 14.4
Berardi, Carmichaels 21 300 14.3
Flament, Charleroi 17 240 14.1
Kurtz, Trinity 17 237 13.9
Cree, Carmichaels 21 280 13.3
Moore, Washington 20 258 12.9
Iacovino, Charleroi 19 242 12.7
Lucsko, McGuffey 19 240 12.6
Szakal, Monessen 25 310 12.4
Weiss, Trinity 18 222 12.3
Zajicek, California 16 195 12.2
Ward, Monessen 25 299 12.0
Merckle, Fort Cherry 28 323 11.5
Tarpley, Charleroi 19 217 11.4
As. Balzer, Char-Houston 23 250 10.9
Lombardo, Canon-McMillan 19 203 10.7
Gasbarra, Fort Cherry 27 279 10.3

Games reflect only those reported to the Observer-Reporter.

Final boys scoring leaders

The final boys basketball scoring leaders from the 2010-11 season.

Name, school GP Pts. Avg.
Valentic, Trinity 23 699 30.4
Bellhy, Fort Cherry 20 517 25.8
Pavan, Burgettstown 20 477 23.8
Lamberti, South Fayette 28 482 17.2
Huffman, California 17 290 17.0
Berger, Canon-McMillan 21 342 16.3
S. Krall, Carmichaels 21 339 16.1
Tyler, California 17 274 16.1
Zedreck, South Fayette 28 426 15.2
Cumpston, Mapletown 17 253 14.9
J. Krall, Carmichaels 20 286 14.3
Stine, Ringgold 22 312 14.2
Negley, Waynesburg 16 228 14.2
Walls-Mitchell, Bentworth 18 254 14.1
Counihan, Chartiers-Houston 22 303 13.8
McCormick, Ringgold 21 286 13.6
Irwin, Monessen 22 298 13.5
Barker, Bentworth 19 252 13.3
Robinson, Canon-McMillan 20 263 13.2
Wise, Washington 20 263 13.2
Pritz, Peters Township 17 217 12.8
Lohr, Waynesburg 17 215 12.6
Sabatini, Beth-Center 16 198 12.4
Corbitt, Charleroi 16 194 12.1
Yamber, Avella 20 240 12.0
Diethorn, Beth-Center 16 192 12.0
Norton, Peters Township 21 246 11.8
Davis, Canon-McMillan 21 244 11.6
Cupp, Avella 19 218 11.5
Johnson, Monessen 24 264 11.0
Fisher, California 17 188 11.0
Bonacci, Burgettstown 19 207 10.9
Gordon, Washington 20 216 10.8
Fernbaugh, Avella 20 213 10.6
McNamara, Burgettstown 19 199 10.5
Smith, Ringgold 22 222 10.1
Rose, McGuffey 20 202 10.1