Thursday, January 31, 2013

Patriots stay in thick of playoff chase

Staff photo by Brad Spahr/Great Valley's Kim Hooven drives to the basket during Thursday's Ches-Mont American Division contest at Oxford.


EAST NOTTINGHAM -- It’s been a roller coaster ride through the Ches-Mont League this season for the Great Valley High School girls basketball team.
The Patriots had a hold on sole possession of first place in the American Division for a good part of the first half of the league campaign. Then they suddenly dropped to third in the standings. Now they are back up to second place and find themselves in an all-out fight to not only win the division title, but to also finish in one of the top two spots to qualify for the Ches-Mont Final Four Tournament.
The Patriots know what’s at stake in the final stretch of the season, and ever since dropping three straight earlier this month they have come back swinging in a big way. On Thursday night, Great Valley won its fourth game in a row by defeating host Oxford, 39-25, in a key American Division tussle.
Great Valley (8-2 American, 11-6 overall) trails division-leading West Chester Rustin (9-1) by one game in the standings, and each team has two league tilts remaining. Great Valley, which lost to Rustin 51-41 in their first meeting, will host the Golden Knights on Tuesday in a showdown for first place. Sun Valley (8-3), which sits in third, is hot on the heels of the Patriots for the second spot in the division, though, so they can’t afford to slip up.
"We want to make the [Ches-Mont Final Four] extremely bad," said Great Valley senior forward Maddie Buettner, who scored six points. "This was a very important win for us to get. We saw that Oxford had beaten Downingtown East recently, and we knew we had to play our best against them.
"We had been in a little slump, but lately we are really playing well. Our defense has been coming up big, and we know we are going to have to continue to play well on that end of the floor from here on out."
Great Valley received a game-high 13 points from junior guard Danielle DiSanto, which included three 3-pointers. Senior guard Kim Hooven added 11 points, and senior center Danielle Strang finished with five.
Oxford (5-5, 10-10), which came into the contest red-hot on a five-game winning streak, pulled out to an early 9-8 lead after the first quarter of play as junior guard Alex Fernandez netted five of her team-high eight points in the period.
However, the Hornets went ice-cold offensively from there, thanks to a terrific defensive effort by Great Valley.
"We were kind of hoping to play the role of spoiler," said first-year Oxford coach Matt Messick. "This was a tough game for us. We had won five straight, but tonight I think we were just on our heels a little bit too much."
The Hornets, who also got strong games from Melanie Kempf (six points) and Meghan O’Conner (five points), have improved their win total already this season by six games after going just 4-18 last year. They’ll close out the season with two tough league contests against Sun Valley and Rustin.
"We’ll see what we can do," said Messick. "The girls would be real excited if we could get a district playoff game."
Great Valley was fantastic in the second quarter. The Patriots went into it down by one, but opened the period on a 9-0 run, holding the Hornets scoreless for the first five minutes of the frame. Freshman guard Ashlyn Smith and Hooven both had four points in the quarter, during which the Patriots outscored Oxford by an 11-2 margin to seize a 19-11 halftime lead.
They were equally as good in the third quarter, with DiSanto knocking down a pair of 3-pointers to help her team up the lead to 33-17 after the period.
"From the second quarter on we were much more energetic," said Great Valley coach Alex Venarchik. "We made a lot of our shots, but the big key for us is we did a great job of keeping them off the boards.
"We went through a little lull there for a while, but the girls have really been fighting the second half of the season."
Great Valley 39, Oxford 25
GREAT VALLEY: Hooven 5 0-0 11, Strang 1 3-4 5, Walsh 0 0-0 0, Buettner 3 0-0 6, DiSanto 4 2-2 13, Smith 2 0-0 4. Totals: 15 5-6 39.
OXFORD: O’Connor 2 1-2 5, Fernandez 3 0-0 8, Kempf 3 0-2 6, Hostetter 1 0-0 2, Hamilton 1 2-2 4. Totals: 10 3-6 25.
Great Valley 8 11 14 6 -- 39
Oxford 9 2 6 8 -- 25
3-point goals: Hooven, DiSanto 3, Fernandez 2.

Bench comes up big as Patriot boys stay perfect


EAST WHITELAND -- You do not win 18 straight basketball games by being lucky or depending on just one or two players. No, it takes a total team effort to reach the heights the Great Valley boys basketball team has attained so far this season.
Thursday night in a Ches-Mont American Division clash with Oxford, Great Valley got contributions from every player who entered the game and used a third-period burst from star Mikal Bridges to take down a game Oxford squad, 47-37.
Bridges and Brad Sherry sat for most of the second period due to foul trouble, but in stepped Mike Gregory, who buried three long three-balls as he and Nate Cohen led the Patriots (10-0 Ches-Mont, 19-0 overall) to a 20-13 halftime lead.
"I was getting some nice open looks and everybody always tells me to shoot so I took some shots," Gregory said. "We are going to need everybody in the upcoming playoffs and we battled when Mikal and Brad went to the bench. I have confidence in my shot and tonight it worked out.
"There is a little more presuure having won 18 games in a row but with that comes confidence too."
Oxford came out ready in the third period, but a quick barrage by the magical Bridges was something the Hornets (6-4, 11-9) were powerless to stop. Sherry started the scoring with a three-ball from the top of the key for a 23-13 advantage. Cohen then blocked a Musty Mahmud shot and off to the races went Sherry, who beat everyone down the floor and took a nice feed from Cyree Ames for a layup and a 25-13 lead.
Then, it was the Bridges show. While Oxford shot just 3-for-12 in the period, Bridges blew the game wide open. To start the thrill show, Bridges went strong down the lane for a driving basket and Great Valley had a 30-15 lead. After Mahmud scored in tight to make it a 30-17 game, Bridges went off.
He blocked an Oxford shot, ran the floor, took a feed from Sherry and buried a long three to make it a 34-17 game. After another Oxford turnover, Bridges took the ball at halfcourt, darted toward the top of the key, rose up and sank another three for a 37-17 lead and the Hornets were effectively out of the game right there. Bridges led the Patriots with 16 points, including four three-pointers.
"Mikal has the capability to take over games and in the third period tonight he did that," Great Valley coach Jim Nolan said. "And I was happy with the way our bench played tonight when we had some foul trouble. And Mike Gregory hit some big shots for us when we needed them.
"I also want to say that I think Sean (Oxford coach Harvey) does a great job getting the most out of his kids. They are a young team and they really battled tonight."
Oxford did not roll over, as Nolan pointed out. The Hornets actually drew to within 41-30 with 3:15 left when Jordan Logan hit an open jumper. Logan led all scorers with 17 points. But, Great Valley spread the floor and Cohen hit two free throws to keep the lead safe and win number 19 was in the books for the Patriots.
"I mean Bridges is a heck of a player," Harvey said. "I thought besides the third period burst we did a pretty good job of containing him."
Notes: Nate Cohen had 10 rebounds to lead the game and great Valley will host Penn Wood Saturday night in a key nonlegue clash.
Great Valley 47, Oxford 37
OXFORD (37): Logan 5 5-6 17, Mahmud 4 0-0 8, Clarke 3 0-2 6, Farr 1 2-2 4, Hubvley 1 0-0 2, Dunn 0 0-0 0, Herb 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 7-10 37.
GREAT VALLEY (47): Bridges 6 0-0 16, Sherry 4 1-2 10, Gregory 3 0-2 9, Ames 0 2-2 2, Cohen 2 5-6 9, Dickinson 0 0-0 0, Bucholz 0 0-0 0, Alston 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 8-12 47.
Oxford 5 8 6 18 -- 37
Great Valley 8 12 17 10 -- 47
3-point goals: Gregory 3, Bridges 4, Sherry, Logan 2.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

McCartney's impact felt beyond basketball


WILLISTOWN - In the fourth quarter of the Villa Maria basketball team’s 67-30 win over visiting Sacred Heart on Tuesday evening, a little girl from the crowd wandered out onto the court as the game was in progress. No one noticed her for a few moments as the action continued, until Villa Maria head coach Kathy McCartney saw her and went out and helped her off the floor.
Everyone, it appears, wants to play for the legendary coach.
McCartney, now in her 27th year with Villa Maria, hit a prestigious milestone on Tuesday as she became just the 22nd high school girls basketball coach in Pennsylvania history to record her 500th career win.
A packed crowd turned out at Villa Maria to root her on and celebrate her achievement. It included former players, family, and former coaches.
All of them spoke glowingly about not only the type of coach McCartney is, but the special human being she is as well.
"I sobbed there at the end of the game," said former Villa Maria standout guard Kellie O’Rourke, a 2012 graduate who helped lead the Hurricanes to back-to-back District 1 Class AAA titles the last two years. "I couldn’t think of a better person for this to happen to.
"She gave me a D once on my math mid-term; I still give her a hard time about that," joked O’Rourke. "I could have a really bad game when I played for her and she wouldn’t yell at me afterwards or make me feel even worse about it. She would put her arm around me and make me laugh. I couldn’t have asked for a better coach to have played for."
Longtime Villa Maria athletic director Maurene Polley has known McCartney for years. Polley, herself a very highly regarded field hockey coach who has helped lead the Hurricanes to the PIAA Class AAA title game in each of the past two seasons, addressed the crowd of supporters following Tuesday’s game.
"The star that shines the brightest of all today is Kathy McCartney," Polley said. "Each of these 500 wins represents many years of blood, sweat and tears.
"Although 500 wins is a personal milestone to many, they mean nothing to Kathy compared to the influence she’s had on so many kids over the years. She’s made a great life for herself at Villa Maria, and touched so many lives along the way."
Among the many in attendance to have played or coached with McCartney over the years was current West Chester East head coach Moe Blatt. From 2000-09, Blatt worked with McCartney as an assistant coach at Villa Maria. Blatt couldn’t help but laugh when asked if McCartney would have 700 career wins by now if he hadn’t coached with her over the years.
"That’s probably true," joked Blatt. "Kathy hates these things. She doesn’t want any attention on herself. It’s all about the kids with her.
"She’s an example of all the good there is in high school basketball. She’s had numerous opportunities to move up and coach at the college level over the years. She’s always felt she could make more of a difference with these kids. That’s the type of person she is."
For over a decade now, Helen Hoban has sat beside McCartney on the bench as an assistant coach. Hoban, a 1992 Villa grad who helped lead the Hurricanes to their first district title, has seen first-hand what McCartney has meant to the school as both a former player and current friend.
"I probably gave her a few of those gray hairs when I played for her," said Hoban. "She’s as good a person as you’ll ever meet. She’s dedicated her life to this. To me, she’s way more than a basketball coach.
"I think the biggest tribute to her tonight is all the alumni that came out for this game. Everyone loves her."

Old and young keep Pioneers' playoff hopes alive


TREDYFRINN -- Basketball teams have to mnake district playoff pushes right now or be on the outside of the upcoming District 1 tournament. Tuesday night, two Central League teams on the playoff bubble made their cases.
Host Conestoga got huge games from senior Joe Viviano and exciting freshman Daryl Caldwell and held Garnet Valley to just 22 points in the last three periods on a 13 for 48 shooting night to roll to a 53-39 Central League triumph.
Viviano totaled 13 points to go along with 11 rebounds and at times, dominated the glass in the decisive second half. Garnet Valley had no answere for the Pioneer big man.
"I have not been playing well the last few games," Viviano said. "Tonight, I went to the glass and played hard underneath and picked up some garbage points. One of our goals this season was to make the district playoffs and make a push once we get in and we had to win tonight to keep that alive."
Conestoga (6-8 Central, 10-9 overall) broke open a 28-24 game at halftime by outscoring the Jaguars (5-8, 7-11) 25-15 in the second half mainly by closing out on the Garnet Valley shooters and having Viviano dominate the glass. ‘Stoga played very tight man-to-man defense most of the game.
Also, some big 3-point shooting by Caldwell, Zack Yonda and Andrew Diehl opened things up for ‘Stoga in the third. After Viviano scored on a follow of a Yonda miss, it was a 33-29 lead. Aaron Parenti scored in tight for the Jaguars to make it 33-31.
But then Caldwell and Diehl hit long three-balls, and combined with 4 for 13 shooting by Garnet Valley, the Pioneers took a 41-35 lead into the final period. Conestoga put four players in double figures and Caldwell scored 10 points to go along with four assists.
"I was very happy with our defensive effort tonight," Conestoga coach Mike Troy said. "We did a good job of identifying the shooters and the kids talked to each other out there and played good team defense. Joe’s game is to go to the glass and he did that very well tonight.
"Daryl Caldwell got us going in transition and also hit some three-pointers for us. He is learning every game and he is going to be a special player for us."
Caldwell started things out in the fourth by zipping a perfect pass to Martin Dorsey for a layup and a 43-35 lead. After a Garnet Valley miss, once again Caldwell was great in the open floor, hitting Viviano in stride for a layup and the lead was 45-35 with 6:02 to play.
"My game is to run the floor and hit the wings or our bigs," Caldwell said. "We have balanced scoring and it helps because we can just run our plays and I can hit the open man."
Garnet shot just 1 for 10 and scored just four points in the final period and Viviano ended the suspense when he scored on two straight follow to give Conestoga a 49-37 adavantage with just over three minutes to play.
Austin Klenotiz led the Jaguars with 13 points and Kyle McCrossan added 11. Garnet Valley coach Mike Brown talked about the poor shooting night.
"Not to make excuses, but we have a lot of guys playing sick," Brown said. "I think we just ran out of gas. The biggest part of shooting is using your legas and we just got tired out there."
Conestoga 53, Garnet Valley 39
GARNET VALLEY: Klenotiz 5 1-1 13, McCrossan 3 2-2 11, Palis 2 2-2 6, Sweeney 0 2-2 2, Parenti 3 0-0 6, Diggory 0 1-2 1, Tienboso 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 8-9 39.
CONESTOGA:) Viviano 6 1-2 13, Yonda 4 0-0 10, Diehl 4 2-2 12, Caldwell 4 0-0 10, Dorsey 2 0-1 4, Vila 1 0-0 2, Vanderventer 1 0-0 2, Turley 0 0-0 0, Utter 0 0-0 0, Knight 0 0-0 0, Dickey 0 0-0 0, Novak 0 0-0 0, Portonovia 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 3-5 53.
Garnet Valley 17 7 11 4-39
Conestoga 17 11 13 12-53
3-point goals: McCrossan 3, Klenotiz 2, yonda 2, Diehl 2, Caldwell 2.

McCartney gets win No. 500 as Villa rolls


WILLISTOWN - With all the different things going on around the Villa Maria girls basketball team on Tuesday evening, it was certainly understandable to see them start out a little slow in the early goings of their Athletic Association of Catholic Academies game against last place Sacred Heart.
For starters, longtime head coach Kathy McCartney was seeking her 500th career victory. To add a little extra excitement to the night, the Hurricanes’ four seniors were also honored before the game as part of the school’s Senior Night festivities.
So there was definitely a whole lot of butterflies for the Villa Maria players to deal with in front of what was a packed home crowd. After trailing numerous times in the opening half, they came out of the locker room at halftime and put together a dominant third quarter performance to pull away for a resounding 67-30 win to help their beloved coach hit the prestigious 500-win milestone.
Villa Maria (15-4 overall) outscored Sacred Heart, 27-1, in the third period and never looked back. McCartney, who has spent all 27 years of her coaching career at Villa, was honored following the game in front of a crowd that included numerous former players.
"Once I knew the game was in hand, I was able to look around the stands a little bit and I started to see the faces of all these kids I used to coach," said McCartney. "It made me a little overwhelmed -- I have to be honest. My hands were shaking and my pulse was racing.
"It was all very humbling. I know this was about me tonight, but it’s really more about all these kids I have coached over the years. This is such a special place to coach. This night was really all about the Villa Maria community."
Senior guard Lisa Mirarchi led the Hurricanes with a game-high 18 points, and Molly Namiotka added 10. Villa led 31-21 at halftime. They opened the third quarter on a 19-0 run in the first four minutes, forcing seven Sacred Heart turnovers in the process. Namiotka had eight points in that stretch, and Mirarchi added three baskets as they upped their lead to 50-21 before their guests scored their only point of the quarter on a free throw.
"At halftime coach kept telling us we needed to pick up our defense," said Mirarchi. "She got in our faces a little bit.
"We wanted this so bad for her. We were pumped up all day at school. This is an unbelievable milestone for her. She’s a part of history now, and one of the best coaches of all-time in the area. We’re all really proud of her."
Villa Maria’s defense forced 18 turnovers on the night, and they allowed just nine second-half points.
After the game, students held up a sign with 500 on it. Athletic director Maurene Polley then addressed the crowd, and so did McCartney.
"I’m really grateful to be a part of this community," McCartney said to a standing ovation. "I’m really overwhelmed by everyone that came out for this."
Villa Maria has won countless league titles and a few district crowns in McCartney’s 27 years at the helm, and she’s established the program to be one of the most successful in Chester County. One thing she doesn’t have to her credit, though, is a state championship. Make no mistake about it, she’ll continue to put her heart and soul into doing everything she can to change that until the moment she retires.
"I’d trade every one of these wins for a state championship," she said. "On a personal note, I wish my dad [Joe] was here to see this. He passed away 12 years ago. My mom was here, though. A night like this wouldn’t mean nearly as much without the people you love -- my family."
Villa Maria 67, Sacred Heart 30
SACRED HEART: McTaggart 1 0-0 2, Cartafalsa 0 0-0 0, Tucker 2 0-0 6, Kidd-Wilkerson 6 4-8 16, Singer 1 0-0 2, Schneider 0 2-2 2, Kerns 1 0-0 2. Totals: 11 6-10 30.
VILLA MARIA: Mirarchi 8 2-4 18, Daggett 4 0-0 8, Walsh 1 0-0 3, Borden 2 1-2 5, Carlin 3 1-3 8, Namiotka 5 0-2 10, Fetterolf 1 2-2 4, Picinich 2 3-3 7, Steinetz 0 2-2 2, Allan 1 0-0 2. Totals: 27 11-18 67.
Sacred Heart 10 11 1 8 -- 30
Villa Maria 10 21 27 9 -- 67
3-point goals: Tucker 2, Walsh, Carlin.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Christie's hat trick leads Rustin past West

Staff photo by Tom Kelly IV/Rustin's Brett Christie (50) scores one of his three goals.


WEST GOSHEN -- With a roster that turned over serverely from a year ago, it has taken a little while for the West Chester Rustin ice hockey team to find its footing this season, but with time and talent, the perennial power looks poised to start a powerful stretch run.
Behind a hat trick from Brett Christie and a 12-save performance in net by Brent Millichap, the Golden Knights rolled to a 7-0 Inter-County Scholastic Hockey League Ches-Mont victory over Downingtown West at snowy Ice Line Arena on Friday afternoon.
"We had 13 seniors graduate from last year’s team and we have a lot of freshman taking their places," said Rustin coach Nick Russo. "Our goal is always to peak in March, like March Madness. Our young guys have stepped up, like Brett and Joel (Sheriko). You like to see that. It makes your job easy."
The Whippets needed a strong start to keep pace with the Knights, but they couldn’t get it. Two minutes into the game, Rustin (5-4-1, 6-4-1) cashed in on power-play chance with Max Spitola in the penalty box for interference. Christie took a pass from Armen Asdourian down low at the right side of net, stick-handled into the middle through a pair of defenders, and beat goalie Thomas Cliggett low to the left side for a 1-0 lead.
"Sometimes it just comes to me to do that stuff, but I don’t do that very often," Christie said. "But, it just came to me to do it."
His second goal, ten minutes later, came with a little less work, but much of the same artistry as the freshman was on the receiving end of a pretty rush with him, Asdourian and J.R. Barone. Christie was wide open in the left slot for Barone’s pretty feed, and made no mistake in putting the puck into the net to extend the adavantage to 2-0.
Mitchell Preuhs closed out the three-goal first with a shot from a sharp angle that seemed to surprise Cliggett, and eluded him as the Knights began to assert control over the game.
"The team that gets out of the chute and gets out early, it puts a different flow to the game," said Russo. "If you can get them on their heels right away it’s tough playing offense when you’re playing from behind."
Fellow freshman Joel Sheriko staked Rustin to a 4-0 lead by scoring midway through the second, then Barone scored to add a goal to go along with a pair of assists for a commanding 5-0 bulge after two.
Millichap did not have much work to keep him sharp, but he was huge the one time he needed to be. With the score 2-0 in the first, and Rustin on a power play, Joe DeGinto stripped the puck from a Rustin defenseman and came in alone. He moved to his backhand, but Millichap got a piece of it with his glove. Moments later, Rustin scored and kept the Whippets from gaining a toehold into the game.
"That was a big save," said Millichap. "I saw him come down the right side and I thought he was going to go right, and then I stuck my pad and glove out left and got a piece of it. It was a good win; we played a good all-around game and the defense played well."
Sheriko added his second of the night before Christie, who was stoned on three different occasions by Cliggett in his bid for the hat trick, finally completed the feat on the power play to close out the scoring as Asdourian notched his third assist on the play. The high-flying line, which has all three members in the top eight in the league in scoring, recorded 10 points on the day. Christie’s trioka now gives him 13, among the best in the C-M.
"It was hard getting that third goal," said Christie. "I got stoned a couple of times, but it came."
The Whippets (3-9-0, 3-10-0) did gain more of the play after an animated time out from first-year coach Ryan Smith, but were not able to dent the scoresheet. Despite the loss, Cliggett played well in goal, making 25 saves -- a few of standout, blue-ribbon variety.
Rustin now stands in fifth place in the C-M, 11 points behind leaders West Chester East, but the Golden Knights believe they are peaking at the right time for a playoff push.
"We came out of the holiday break real strong and hopefully, we’ll do real well in the playoffs," said Millichap. "One game at a time."
West Chester Rustin 7, Downingtown West 0
Downingtown West 0 0 0 -- 0
West Chester Rustin 3 2 2 -- 7
W.C. Rustin goals: Christie 3, Sheiko 2, Preuhs, Barone.
Goalie saves: Cliggett (DW) 25; Millichap (WCR) 12.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shanahan edges Cougars for historic win

Staff photo by Brad Spahr/Shanahan's Jordan Ogden goes up for a shot during Thursday's 26-23 victory over Downingtown East.


UWCHLAN - There was plenty of screaming and celebrating in the locker room of the Bishop Shanahan High School girls basketball team following their game on Thursday night. It was for good reason, as the program had just pulled off a historic win by defeating perennial Ches-Mont League powerhouse Downingtown East for the first time.
Bishop Shanahan did so despite the fact that it was only able to muster a total of five points in the first two quarters, as the Eagles awoke in a big way after halftime, roaring back to stun the host Cougars by a score of 26-23 at Robert A. Boyer Gymnasium in a key Ches-Mont League National Division contest.
The Eagles (6-3 National, 10-7 overall)got an impressive game from sophomore guard Rachel Parker, who scored all of her team-high 10 points in the second half, including three separate offensive rebounds that led to putbacks.
None of those three was more crucial than her last. With 2:41 remaining Parker gave Bishop Shanahan the lead for good, 25-23, when she corralled an offensive board following a missed free throw and quickly put it back in for what turned out to be the game-winning basket.
The Eagles added a free throw by Christine Lawrence with 32.1 seconds to go, upping their lead to 26-23. They then had to avoid numerous scares in the waning moments as Downingtown East’s Abby McKinley had three separate 3-point attempts to tie the game in the final 12 seconds. All three of them were good shots that just barely missed.
"We wanted this game so bad," said Parker. "We played terrible in the first half, and our coach was a little bit upset at us. We came out so fired up and energized in the second half.
"This was such a big win for us. Even though things didn’t go our way early we kept fighting and found a way to get it done."
Bishop Shanahan really needed this game to keep its Ches-Mont Final Four Tournament hopes alive. They moved to one game back of Downingtown East (7-2, 11-6) for second place in the National Division. Both teams have three league contests left, with the top two teams in each division qualifying for the tournament following the completion of the regular season.
Thursday night’s tilt was a bizarre one from the start. Bishop Shanahan led 4-2 after a slow-paced opening quarter. Downingtown East then dominated the second quarter by outscoring its guests, 12-1, to seize what appeared to be a commanding 14-5 halftime lead.
Bishop Shanahan went on a quick 6-0 run to open the third, and never looked back on its way to controlling the period to turn the tides on the game. Parker scored a big basket at the buzzer to close the quarter, as she grabbed an offensive board and put it back in to give the Eagles a 19-17 lead.
The game was tied two different times in the first four minutes of the fourth.
However, with 3:49 to go Downingtown East seized a 23-21 advantage on a pair of free throws by freshman guard Paige Warfel, who finished with a game-high 11 points. Those would be the final points the rest of the way, though, for the Cougars.
Down three points with 12 seconds left, McKinley just missed a 3-pointer to pull Downingtown East even, but the Cougars retained possession when the ball went out of bounds off a Shanahan player. Following a timeout, the Cougars in-bounded the ball from underneath the basket, eventually finding McKinley open at the top of the key. She again just came up short with a potential tying 3-pointer with 6.2 seconds left. Downingtown East, though, grabbed the offensive rebound and quickly kicked the ball out to an open McKinley on the left side, and her 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
"We had three good looks to the tie the game in the last 15 seconds. You can’t ask for anything more than that," said Downingtown East coach Bob Schnure. "This was a hard-fought game. Shanahan did a nice job defensively, and Parker made a couple of big plays for them in the second half."
Shanahan tied the game at 23 with 3:20 to go on a clutch jumper by Diana Cusick. After Parker’s basket to make it 25-23, the Eagles later would burn some valuable clock running their four corners offense to perfection before getting fouled with 32.1 left. Lawrence made the front end of the one-and-one, upping the lead to three, and then Shanahan was able to hang on down the stretch.
"I’m really proud of the girls. They never gave up," said Shanahan coach Mary Ann Keenan. "Diana Cusick was outstanding defensively, Christine Lawrence was such a leader out there on the court for us, Kristen Habbel was very patient and played a smart game, and Jordan Ogden is playing so tough for us after just getting injured recently.
"We rode the girls a little in the locker room at halftime. They worked so hard to just let this go and we told them they had to dig deep. This was a huge win for us. Not only is it the first time we’ve beaten Downingtown East in the eight years I’ve been here, it was also big because it keeps us in position to have a shot to get into the Final Four Tournament."
Bishop Shanahan 26, Downingtown East 23
BISHOP SHANAHAN: Cusick 2 0-0 4, Lawrence 2 1-4 5, Ogden 3 0-0 6, Habbel 0 0-0 0, Parker 4 2-2 10, Wirshup 0 1-2 1, Dreiling 0 0-2 0. Totals: 11 4-10 26.
DOWNINGTOWN EAST: Van Eyken 2 2-2 6, Warfel 2 7-11 11, Kent 3 0-0 6, McKinley 0 0-0 0, Sheron 0 0-0 0. Totals: 7 9-13 23.
Bishop Shanahan 4 1 14 7 -- 26
Downingtown East 2 12 3 6 -- 23
3-point goals: none.

Surging Whippets win fourth straight


DOWNINGTOWN -- The Downingtown West boys basketball team started the season 0-5 and looked to be dead in the water for any district playoff hopes. Well, think again.
Thursday night the Whippets played a beautiful game of team basketball -- without three of their starters -- and led wire to wire in a convincing 51-35 triumph over West Chester East in Ches-Mont League National Division play.
The win was their fourth in a row and now Downingtown West (6-3 Ches-Mont, 9-9 overall) has legitimate hopes of gaining entrance into the Ches-Mont Final Four and the Class AAAA District 1 playoffs if they continue to play as they did Thursday night.
The Whippets continually beat East (1-6, 5-11) off the dribble and kicked out to an open teammate for an easy look at the basket. Junior Sean Loerzel led all scorers with 21 points, while Colin Reilly had 15. Evan Anderson led East with 11 points.
"We were without three starters tonight and another one, Greg Lattanzi, goes out of the game in the first period with an injury and we beat a team by double digits," Downingtown West coach Jason Ritter said. "We played very unselfish basketball tonight and we got good games from a lot of different people.
"We want to keep it going right now. This was our fourth win in a row and I am very happy with the way we played tonight."
Downingtown West held a 21-15 lead over the Vikings at halftime, and opened things up immediately in the third period. West shot 7-for-9 in the period, outscoring East, 16-10, to take command of the game.
Reilly started things off by driving hard down the lane for a 23-15 lead. Kevin Murphy came right back for East to make it a 23-17 game, but Loerzel went strong to the hole for a 25-17 Whippet lead. A Reilly 3-pointer made it a 28-17 game and East was in trouble.
The Vikings shot just 6-for-24 in the second half and could not find the basket. But, the Vikings did hang around. Anderson hit three of four free throws to make it 33-23 with just over a minute to play in the third. But, Loerzel hit a wide open jumper at the buzzer to give Downingtown West a 37-25 lead after three.
"We talked at halftime about coming out strong and getting on them," Loerzel said. "Tonight we tried to make the assist with the extra pass and think about our teammates more than making the shot. Our goal is to make the Ches-Mont playoffs and the district playoffs so we have to continue to play well."
East got a long three-ball from Nick Scotese to start the fourth and make it a 37-28 game. But, once again the West subs came to the rescue. Dion Lattanzi hit a corner jumper and Loerzel scored off an East turnover for a 41-29 adavantage with 4:34 to play.
Downingtown West continued its hot shooting in the fourth period, going 5-for-11 and finishing the night shooting 21-for-39.
Every time it looked like the Vikings would make a run, Loerzel seemed to right the ship and hit the open man or bury a medium range jumper. The Whippets now go to Coatesville next Tuesday night in a National Division showdown before taking on West Chester Henderson next Thursday.
East coach Eric Anderson talked about how his team’s defense did not please him tonight.
"We were not helping each other out," Anderson said. "We took a few timeouts and we told them that we all have the same color jersey on and we have to help each other, but we did not do that. We were very selfish tonight and I am not happy."
Downingtown West 51, W.C. East 35
W.C. EASt (35): Anderson 3 5-7 11, K. Murphy 4 2-5 10, Scotese 3 1-1 8, Leonard-Hakim 2 0-0 4, K. Smith 1 0-0 2, Z. Smith 0 0-0 0, A. Murphy 0 0-0 0, Cheney 0 0-0 0, Chittajallu 0 0-0 0, Hostetler 0 0-0 0, Canarano 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 8-15 35.
DOWNINGTOWN WEST (51): Loerzel 8 4-4 21, Reilly 6 2-4 15, Hall 1 1-3 3, Long 1 0-1 2, D. Lattanzi 1 0-0 2, Warren 1 0-0 2, Johnson 1 0-0 2, G. Lattanzi 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 7-12 51.
W.C. East 6 9 10 14 -- 35
Downingtown West 11 10 16 14 -- 51
3-point goals: Scotese, Reilly, Loerzel.

Thursday's Highlights

Highlights from Thursday's local sports action:

Boys Basketball
Great Valley 61, Kennett 46: Mikail Bridges' 21 points helped the Patriots remain perfect in Ches-Mont American Division play at 8-0. Great Valley stayed atop the division standings, a half game ahead of 8-1 West Chester Rustin.

W.C. Henderson 40, Avon Grove 37: Colin Costello knocked down a three-pointer from the corner at the buzzer as the Warriors kept pace with Coatesville atop the National Division. Both teams stand at 8-1 in league play after victories Thursday.

Girls Basketball
Downingtown West 58, W.C. East 43: Kayla Feairheller and Lyndsay Galczynski scored 15 points apiece as the Whippets moved to 8-0 in league play. West is the only girls team with a perfect Ches-Mont record, and the Whippets pulled even farther ahead of rival Downingtown East, which fell to Bishop Shanahan on Thursday to drop to 7-2 in the league.

Downingtown East 40, Neshaminy 22: The Cougars won the last six bouts of the match to upset Neshaminy and advance to the second day of the District 1 Duals. Along with Downingtown West, the Cougars were the only local squad to make it past Day One at the duals.

Check out for all of our local sports scores, plus a local wrap with highlights of all the day's action.

Pommerer reaches milestone as Whippets advance

Photo by Nate Heckenberger/Downingtown West's Dan Pommerer netted his 100th career victory as the Whippets advanced to the second day of the District 1 Duals with wins over W.C. Rustin and Norristown.


WESTTOWN -- In the first round of action in the District 1 Duals, Downingtown West’s Dan Pommerer got things started with a milestone win. In the second round, the senior finished things off.
In between, Pommerer saw some of his younger teammates step up, all while helping his team get back to a spot the Whippets of old made commonplace.
Pommerer won his 100th career match in the opening bout of the night, and No. 9 Downingtown West discarded No. 24 West Chester Rustin, 49-18, in the first round and then No. 8 Norristown, 43-33, in the second.
The Whippets advanced to the second day of the duals for the first time since 2008 and will face No. 1 Owen J. Roberts February 1 in the quarterfinals.
"I remember watching those teams and I could probably name everyone in the lineup," Pommerer said. "They were all great individuals and I really looked up to them. It’s great to get where they were. It means a lot to follow in their footsteps and hopefully we can keep improving and carry on the West legacy."
The Whippets (22-6) started slow against the Golden Knights (6-5), but after a 9-9 tie through four bouts, West outscored Rustin 40-9 the rest of the way.
"With a team with a lot of underclassmen in the lineup, experience in this kind of setting with a lot of good kids is nice to have," Rustin coach Brad Harkins said. "To learn from experience they get and from watching others, as well, is nice."
Norristown, the District 1 runner-up in 2012, has a much different look this winter. The Eagles came in at 10-0 and start with almost 18 automatic points against most teams in the district with state medalists Zach Fuentes (120), Brett Harner (182) and state qualifier Mike Springer (145).
The trio held up to their reputations, earning three first-period pins. Springer worked his in eight seconds, one tick quicker than Harner. Despite the strong firepower, West still felt it had a good chance to move on.
"I liked our matchups, especially with Pete (Rhoads) and Gabe (Hale) dropping," West coach Corey Sigle said.
Norristown had leads of as much as 12 and 11, as late as the 10th bout, but the Whippets got major production from its lightweights.
The Eagles forfeited at 106, bumping Armon Weems to 113. West’s Joe Rennie got in on Weems numerous times to no avail in the first two periods, and changed the momentum of the meet with a third-period pin.
"That was a good move on (the Eagles’) part, because they had to forfeit somewhere," Sigle said. "They did it at 106 and tried to win at 113 and 120. Props to Joey for stepping up and getting the win, and not only the win, but bonus points were key."
Rennie’s win gave West its first lead of the contest, 28-27, but Fuentes quickly took it back. Mike Murta (126) and Tristan Reynolds (132) stole the lead again with pins, and this time the Whippets would not relinquish it.
"They’re program kids," Sigle said. "They’re always around, all year round, and they work hard and love wrestling. You need kids like that to be a successful team and a successful program."
Pommerer closed out the night with an 11-4 decision to give him 101 victories.
"It means a lot to me," Pommerer said of the 100-win mark. "It’s something I dreamed of since I was a little kid. To hit the milestone is a big deal. I owe a lot to my coaches and my team and I have to give a big shoutout to coach (Brad) Breese. He’s been there anytime I’ve needed him to work on stuff."
The Whippets were without an injured Jeff Jackman (152), but expect him to be back next week.
Downingtown West 43, Norristown 33
145- Springer (NT) pinned Garber, :08 (0-6)
152- Rashon Lusane (NT) pinned Lucci, 3:09 (0-12)
160- Rhoads (DW) maj. dec. May, 14-4 (4-12)
170- Hale (DW) pinned Smith, 1:47 (10-12)
182- Harner (NT) pinned Chambers, :09 (10-18)
195- Duplicki (DW) pinned Samuel, 5:43 (16-18)
220- Rasheed Lusane (NT) pinned McClelland, 2:22 (16-24)
285- Hill (NT) dec. Austin, 2-1 (16-27)
106- Smith (DW) won by forfeit (22-27)
113- Rennie (DW) pinned Weems, 5:40 (28-27)
120- Fuentes (NT) pinned Angelini, 1:22 (28-33)
126- Murta (DW) pinned Castro, 3:52 (34-33)
132- Reynolds (DW) pinned Colclough, 1:47 (40-33)
138- D. Pommerer (DW) dec. Soldano, 11-4 (43-33)
Downingtown West 49, West Chester Rustin 18
138- D. Pommerer (DW) dec. Lourido, 5-2 (3-0)
145- Ricci (WCR) pinned Garber, :33 (3-6)
152- C. Hatzipavlides (WCR) dec. Lucci, 5-0 (3-9)
160- Rhoads (DW) pinned Monagul, :56 (9-9)
170- Chambers (DW) dec. Weaver, 1-0 (12-9)
182- Hale (DW) pinned Barcusky, 2:46 (18-9)
195- Spriggs (WCR) dec. Duplicki, 3-1 SV (18-12)
220- McClelland (DW) pinned Sheikh, 1:11 (24-12)
285- Austin (DW) dec. Moscharis, 6-0 (27-12)
106- Smith (DW) pinned Cooper, :11 (33-12)
113- Pascale (WCR) pinned Rennie, :17 (33-18)
120- Angelini (DW) maj. dec. Cugini, 12-2 (37-18)
126- Reynolds (DW) pinned Bartholomew, 3:45 (43-18)
132- Murta (DW) pinned Walters, 4:00 (49-18)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday's Highlights

Highlights from Wednesday's local sports action:

Girls Basketball
West Chester Rustin 47, Octorara 29:  Noelle Powell scored a game-high 16 points as the Golden Knights stayed in first place in the American Division. Rustin is now 8-1 in league play, putting the Golden Knights in the driver's seat for a division crown ahead of 6-2 Sun Valley and 5-2 Great Valley.

Kennett 44, Great Valley 33: Cory Tomasetti, this week's Daily Local News Athlete of the Week, earned a pin at 220 pounds as the Blue Demons picked up their first league victory of the season.

Downingtown West 35, West Chester Henderson 25: The Whippets (3-1 league) pulled off the National Division upset and knocked the Warriors (3-1) from the ranks of the unbeatens. Downingtown East, which defeated West Chester East on Wednesday, is now all alone in first place in the National Division with a perfect 3-0 record in Ches-Mont play.

Malvern Prep 104, Penn Charter 74: The Malvern Prep swim team clinched its first Inter-Ac league title since 2008 with the emphatic victory. The Friars improved to 4-0 in the league and 6-0 overall. Triple winners were M.P. Salinas in the 100-yard butterfly (53.46), who was also involved in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams; C.J. Schaeffer, who won the 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke; Paul Stockard, who won the 200 free, 100 vackstroke, and 400 free relay; and Chris Cary (200 medley, 200 and 400 relay teams.)
For all local scores and a local wrap with short recaps of every game, check out our website at and select the sports tab.

Indians clinch first league wrestling title since 1990

Photo by Nate Heckenberger/ Unionville's Ian Larson closes in on a fall by headlock against Rustin's Ed Bartholomew at 126 pounds during Wednesday's match.


EAST MARLBOROUGH -- In the long-term picture, getting back to the pinnacle has been no walk in the park for Unionville.
In the short-term, present view, the Indians’ climb to the top of the Ches-Mont League American Division has been just that.
It’s been since 1990 that the Indians have won a league wrestling championship. Every wrestler on the team, as well as a couple assistant coaches, wasn’t even born then, but Wednesday in front of the home crowd, Unionville finally got that proverbial monkey off its back.
Coupled with an Octorara loss to Oxford, Unionville clinched the American Division crown with a 53-13 victory over West Chester Rustin. In doing so, the Indians halted a 22-league-meet win streak by the Golden Knights, while ending their three-year reign over the American Division.
"We’ve talked about not doing any celebrating until next Wednesday (against Octorora)," Unionville coach Chris Matz said. "We’re gonna have good practices the rest of this week and next Monday and Tuesday and be really, really hungry to finish our goal."
The Indians (5-0 division, 8-4 overall) collected six pins, including one in eight seconds by Will McNew (106 pounds), and never took their foot off the pedal.
Rustin (4-1, 6-4) led early, two different times, thanks to a meet-opening decision by Ross Barcusky (182). Following Unionville’s first pin by Ryan Margolin (195), Rustin’s Isaiah Spriggs (220) won by fall in 74 seconds. But the lead was short-lived as Unionville rattled off the next 41 points.
"When you’re young you’re gonna take your lumps sometimes," Harkins said. "Eventually our guys will turn the corner, but our focus every time we step on the mat is to improve. (Wednesday night) is a learning experience for the team on what they have to do to improve."
Will Hart (285), McNew, Ian Larson (126), and Zach Pfeifer (145) earned pins during the Indians’ 41-point run. Bobby Murray (113) and Nate Chaclas (120) used third-period takedowns to earn major decisions as well.
Paul Giannoukos won a decision at 132 and Mike Caldwell (138) clinched the contest with a 5-3 win over Alex Lourido in the most competitive bout of the night.
"It’s so gratifying after losing the last three years," Pfeifer said. "This is my fourth year of not losing to them, personally, so I really like that."
Tyler Crossman (152) and Connor Reilly (170) contributed a decision and a fall, respectively, for the Indians, who can finally add another year to the championship banner.
"Every morning practice and in the afternoon we mention it and make everyone look at the banner," Matz said. "We’ve been talking about it since the end of last season."
For Rustin, who was without injured Thomas Hatzipavlides (132) and Matt Lamberjack (195), starting a new streak is not as important as maturing a younger roster.
"We don’t honestly look at running streaks," Harkins said. "We try to take it one match at a time and (Wednesday night) we ran into a tough team and they were a better team."
The Golden Knights will host No. 9 Downingtown West tonight as the No. 24 seed in the first round of the District 1 Duals, while No. 22 Unionville will travel to Central Bucks East to face No. 12 Upper Darby.
Unionville 53, West Chester Rustin 13
182--Barcusky (WCR) dec. Summers, 9-5 (0-3)
195--Margolin (UV) pinned Sheikh, 1:49 (6-3)
220--Spriggs (WCR) pinned Baccerielli, 1:14 (6-9)
285--Hart (UV) pinned Moscharis, 1:33 (12-9)
106--W. McNew (UV) pinned Cooper, :08 (18-9)
113--Murray (UV) maj. dec. Pascale, 10-2 (22-9)
120--Chaclas (UV) maj. dec. Cugini, 10-2 (26-9)
126--Larson (UV) pinned Bartholomew, 3:03 (32-9)
132--Giannoukos (UV) dec. Walters, 4-3 (35-9)
138--Caldwell (UV) dec. Lourido, 5-3 (38-9)
145--Pfeifer (UV) pinned Ricci, 2:46 (44-9)
152--Crossman (UV) dec. Hatzipavlides, 6-3 (47-9)
160--Monagul (WCR) maj. dec. J. McNew, 13-5 (47-13)
170--Reily (UV) pinned Weaver, 2:48 (53-13)