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Issue Home January 14, 2003 Site Home

Local Sports Scene
Athlete of the Year

Local Sports Scene
By Tom J. Robinson

Lady Foresters, Warriors Clinch At Least Tie In Half

Forest City took major strides toward adding a Lackawanna League division title to its run of District 2 Class A girls’ basketball championships when the Lady Foresters won three division games last week.

The Lady Foresters clinched at least a tie for the first-half title in the division. They opened the week with a 71-35 romp over Blue Ridge then beat the division’s other two unbeatens two days apart.

After defeating two-time defending champion Mountain View, 46-40, they handled Carbondale, 54-30.

The wins improved Forest City’s records to 7-0 in the division and 12-1 overall going into Monday’s game at Lackawanna Trail where they were a strong favorite to take the first-half title outright.

Amanda Vitzakovitch started the week with 28 points against Blue Ridge and finished it with 18, including the 1,000th of her career, against Carbondale.

Vitzakovitch helped the Lady Foresters take a 31-4 lead after one quarter against Blue Ridge.

Dana Bennett scored a game-high 18 points and Vitzakovitch added 15 against Mountain View. Kelsey Tyson came off the bench to score all 16 of her points in the first half against Carbondale. Tyson had four 3-pointers.

Vitzakovitch then took over in the second half with 16 points. She entered the game needing seven points to reach the milestone and got there in the third quarter when she hit a jump shot coming off a screen.


The Elk Lake boys also clinched at least a tie for the first-half Lackawanna Division 2 North title when they rolled to two big wins.

"At this point, we’re probably playing the best we have all year," Elk Lake coach Dave Clancy said after his team defeated Susquehanna, 72-34, and Mountain View, 90-57.

The Warriors, who are 6-0 in the division, lost in a crossover game to Dunmore and in tournament play at Honesdale during Christmas week.

"The two games we lost over Christmas break were really helpful," Clancy said. "They didn’t hurt us for playoffs or the league. They pointed out the things we were not doing well."

Clancy said his team has addressed those problems.

"Our problems were turnovers and shot selection," he said. "We worked on being more patient on offense. We executed by setting better screens.

"Defensively, we worked on increasing pressure. We had been too passive in the games that we lost."

Tony Rezykowski led the Warriors in scoring in both wins, including a 34-point, five-assist effort in Friday’s romp over Mountain View. Seth Button added 20 against the Eagles.

Blue Ridge, the only team that can still tie Elk Lake in the first-half standings, suffered its first division loss during the busy week.

The Raiders opened the week with a 55-52 victory over Mountain View Jan. 6. They defeated Carbondale, 61-53, the next night, but then fell to Carbondale Sacred Heart, 65-63, while playing for the third straight night. Blue Ridge bounced back Friday to rip Susquehanna, 57-37.

Lance Landes scored 13 points and Keith Geisenhof added 11 against Mountain View. Dave Breese led the Eagles with 19 and Jon Maher added 18.

Balance was again a factor for the Raiders against Susquehanna. Geisenhof and Landes scored 14 each while Wes Parks added 13. Susquehanna was led by Shawn Venesky with 12 points and Kevin Lee with 11.

Forest City outscored Sacred Heart, 85-79, but was shut down by Lackawanna Trail, 53-49.

Mountain View also lost to Lackawanna Trail, 48-44.

Montrose lost twice in Division 1 games, 47-38 to Wallenpaupack and 70-27 to Abington Heights.

In girls’ basketball, Mountain View kept its slim first-half title hopes alive by recovering from the loss to Forest City with a 64-43 victory over Sacred Heart.

Bridgette Stone had a big week to help Susquehanna go 3-1, including 2-1 in division play.

Stone scored 20 points and Jessica Williams added 16 in a 55-37 victory over Elk Lake. Nicole Nasser went 11-for-13 from the line while scoring 15 for the Lady Warriors.

Stone had 23 points, including 7-for-8 from the line, in a 42-35 victory over Blue Ridge. The Lady Sabers jumped to a 12-5 lead after one quarter.

After a 35-30 loss to Lackawanna Trail, the Lady Sabers finished the week with a 50-32 non-league win over Mid Valley.

Stone, who averaged 17.8 points while leading the Lady Sabers in scoring in each game during the week, had 16 against Mid Valley. Maria Reavey added 13 and Jennifer Benson 12 for Susquehanna, which took a 14-1 lead after one quarter.

Montrose overcame sluggish starts to post a pair of impressive wins, 48-26 over Lackawanna Trail and 54-18 over Blue Ridge.

Trail led Montrose, 10-7, after one quarter. The Lady Meteors recovered and were led by double-doubles from Coleen Walsh (20 points, 16 rebounds) and Chelsey Parvin (12 points, 12 rebounds).

Blue Ridge led Montrose, 9-8, after one quarter, but a 23-1 second quarter turned that game around. Walsh had another double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Erika Brown’s 10 rebounds, Kate LaBarbera’s five assists and Tiffany Palmer’s five steals also contributed to the win.

Elk Lake defeated Lackawanna Trail, 52-40.

In wrestling, Mountain View and Blue Ridge won Saturday.

Mountain View remained alone in the Lackawanna League Division 2 lead when it used five pins and a forfeit in the last six bouts to rally past Susquehanna, 48-32.

Blue Ridge picked up a win over the most successful program in Lackawanna League history when it topped Abington Heights, 40-27, in Division 1.

Mountain View’s win was its second of the week. The Eagles also defeated Montrose, 45-21.

Blue Ridge lost its Division I opener, 42-31, to Western Wayne.

Susquehanna and Elk Lake were each 0-2 for the week.


Elk Lake (6-0) was scheduled to play at Blue Ridge (5-1) Tuesday in the final game of the first half in boys’ basketball. A Blue Ridge win would force a playoff for the first-half title later in the week.

Division 2 wrestling is already down to just three teams without a loss. It will get to two Wednesday night when Bishop O’Hara (1-0) wrestles at Mountain View (3-0).


Courtney Parvin, a freshman from Montrose, is seeing regular playing time at Springfield College.

Springfield, which reached the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Sweet 16 last season, is off to an 8-3 start after winning six of its last seven games.

Parvin has played in 10 of the 11 games, averaging 12.9 minutes.

The 5-10 forward has carried her scoring prowess into the college game. She averages 3.8 points per game by ranking fifth on the team in field goal percentage (16-for-37, 43.2 percent) and going 3-for-5 on 3-pointers.

Parvin has 23 rebounds, six assists and five steals while committing 14 turnovers and going 3-for-8 from the line.

She scored six points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists while playing 22 minutes in her college debut, a 63-54 loss to DeSales.

Parvin’s best game was her second game when she went 4-for-4 while scoring nine points and grabbing four rebounds in 11 minutes during an 83-38 romp over Washington College of Maryland. Her season-high for rebounds came with five in 11 minutes Jan. 5 when Springfield defeated the University of Southern Maine, 56-51, in the championship game of the Holiday Inn Naismith Classic.

TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at

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Acupuncture In The Eyeballs, Daytona, FL – The Roush Racing trio of Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch represent three of the five Ford teams present during the first week of testing at Daytona International Speedway for next month's Daytona 500.

Kenseth had five wins last season, Busch collected four, but Jeff Burton was winless. During mid-season, Paul Andrews came on board as the new crew chief for Burton's No. 99 team. Many observers think 2003 might see a turnaround for Burton and his team.

"We've certainly been disappointed with the last couple of years," said Burton. "We're a team that likes to believe that we're gonna contend for race wins and championships and those kind of things and we contended for hardly no wins last year and the year before that the wins we contended for were maybe two or three and we pulled off two of 'em. So we've got to put ourselves back in position to win more races. We've got to put ourselves in position to be faster than we were. If we're not, then it won't be the year of Jeff Burton or the Citgo team. We've just got to go faster. Paul (Andrews) came on board and I think he's done a really nice job. We've built a lot of new cars. Everything we have is new this year. We really worked hard on changing some stuff and making it better. The whole emphasis is speed. Paul's done a nice job of concentrating 100 percent on the cars. He's turned some other things over to different people in the shop and he's just concentrating on the car part of things. I think that's really gonna bode well for us."

During last season, Burton told reporters that he would like to concentrate more on driving and less doing off track things.

"We're not going to the race track yet, so right now I feel like I'm inundated with things that have everything to do that aren't necessarily about being on the race track," he said. "That's part of the sport too. You've got to learn how to juggle all those things, but the emphasis this year is on testing a lot and spending a lot of time at race tracks around the country and trying to get our program back where it needs to be. I'd like to think we can turn our program around in a year. I don't know if we can or not. We've dug ourselves a pretty large hole. Maybe we can dig out of it in a short period of time, but I don't know if we can. I feel like we have an honest shot at it, I really believe that. The little bit of time Paul was on board last year, I think everybody saw positive results from that. We went to Homestead and ran really well. We went to Rockingham and ran really well. We went to a lot of places and ran very well. One of the first races he was with us was at Kansas and we were running third when we broke. I saw a lot of gains and just a new attitude and new way of looking at things. Hopefully, we can carry that into this year."

Unlike some Winston Cup drivers, Burton does not like testing.

"No. To be perfectly honest, testing here for the driver is like acupuncture in the eyeballs," continued Burton. "Yesterday, this is what I did. I got in the car at 9:10. I got out of the car at noon. I got in the car at 12:45 and got back out of the car about 3:45. I got in another car, got out of that one and back in the primary car and got out at 5:00. So I spent seven hours in the seat yesterday. Some people might say, 'Wow, that's exciting at 185 miles an hour.' It's not exciting here. You can just about go to sleep. We made some gains yesterday and we started to run better and we started making improvements with our primary car, so I never felt compelled to get out of the car and never felt compelled to get bored because we kept making gains. But when you're here and you're slow and you're not making gains and you sit in the car all day it is awful. I mean, it's the worst kind of testing for a driver."

With increased technology and additional engineers on almost all multi-car teams, it seems like this year's Daytona testing is the closest and most competitive ever.

"I have never seen competition as close in testing as we saw here yesterday," Burton said. "I was amazed. We went out one time and I think we picked up three-hundredths and went from 13th to 11th in speed. That's pretty amazing. I was telling Paul yesterday, 'Just two more tenths, man, and we'll be top five.' And he's looking at me like, 'OK, two more tenths.' It's just so close right now.

"When you go to Martinsville or somewhere else, generally everything is under the hood or underneath the deck lid. Here, a lot of things are experimented on the body of the car or on part of the car where you can see what they've done. You just try to be observant and look and see what other people are doing because a lot of things here you don't think would work do work. Yesterday I think we ended up 13th fastest, which is not where we want to be, but we're in the ballpark. We've never come to Daytona in testing and left here the fastest car. We have generally come to Daytona and left here being one of the slowest cars. With where we were yesterday, that wasn't bad. We need to be better, but it's not bad."

Top-10 fastest times during testing at Daytona International Speedway, Jan. 7-9: 1. No. 09, Mike Wallace, Dodge, 184.053 mph, 2. No. 4, Mike Skinner, Pontiac, 183.786, 3. No. 15, Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet, 183.572, 4. No. 18, Bobby Labonte, Chevrolet, 183.539, 5. No. 38, Elliott Sadler, Ford, 183.505, 6. No. 49, Ken Schrader, Dodge, 183.046, 7. No. 20, Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 182.997, 8. No. 10, Johnny Benson, Pontiac, 182.994, 9. No. 1, Steve Park, Chevrolet, 182.964, 10. No. 41, Casey Mears, Dodge, 182.938.

Racing Trivia Question: Which car will Winston Cup driver Elliott Sadler be in this season?

Answer To Last Week's Question: Chip Ganassi will field three Winston Cup teams in 2003.

Gerald Hodges/the Racing Reporter is a syndicated NASCAR columnist. If you have a racing question that you would like answered send it to The Racing Reporter, P.O. Box 160711, Mobile, AL, 36616, or e-mail it to:

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Blue Ridge's Brittany Pavelski Is The 2002 Athlete of the Year
Tom J. Robinson

Brittany Pavelski has competed comfortably with some of the best young softball players Pennsylvania, New York and even the entire United States for years.

So, when Pavelski led Blue Ridge into the state Class A tournament, she was ready to handle the state’s best high school players despite being just a freshman.

Pavelski’s streak of 38 straight scoreless innings as a pitcher in the state playoffs and 44 in a row in the playoffs overall ended in disappointment when Blue Ridge gave up a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to lose the state championship game, 1-0, to Penns Valley.

That disappointment, however, could not overshadow a remarkable performance.

Pavelski’s playoff shutouts included an 18-inning marathon and a masterpiece in the state semifinals.

When Pavelski responded to the state semifinal with her first high school perfect game, she lifted the Lady Raiders to the first state championship game appearance by any Blue Ridge sports team. For that effort, Pavelski has been chosen as the Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Year for 2002.

With an outstanding defense and balanced offense support Pavelski’s efforts, Blue Ridge won the Lackawanna League Division III North title and finished second in District 2 to earn its state playoff berth.

Pavelski threw six shutouts and four one-hitters while posting an 0.84 earned run average. She walked just eight of the 585 batters she faced and struck out 119.

On offense, Pavelski batted .354.

Her pitching was done under pressure throughout the state playoffs.

Blue Ridge needed 18 innings to beat 2000 state champion Canton, 1-0, in the first round. After another 1-0 victory, against Tri Valley, Blue Ridge was in a scoreless tie until the sixth inning of its 9-0 semifinal victory over Loyalsock.

In addition to her high school softball success, Pavelski and the Firestyx team that includes future Blue Ridge teammate Sara Barnard won the New York state 14-and-under championship. The Firestyx then went to Columbus, Ga. where they finished 34th in the nation.

After earning second-team, all-star status in soccer in the fall, Pavelski passed up basketball this winter to work on her pitching skills. She is already at work hoping to improve on last season’s success.

"She needed some time off," said Bob Pavelski, Brittany’s father and her coach at Blue Ridge and with the Firestyx. "She had softball for almost nine months then soccer season.

"She’s thinking about basketball for next year, but she knew she had to start dedicating time to softball and learning new pitches."

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