Please visit our kind sponsors
Mountain View Girls Claim Another Division Title
Mountain View has become the team no girls' basketball opponent should want to face late in the season.
The Lady Eagles defeated first-half champion Forest City, 56-34, Saturday night in a playoff to determine the all-season champion of the Lackawanna League Division 2 North.
The championship was the third straight and the fourth in five years for Mountain View. In each of the last two seasons, a different team has appeared dominant in the first half of league play only to have the Lady Eagles come on strong late.
Forest City was unbeaten in the first half this season, following up Montrose's early success from a year ago. Mountain View went 8-0 in the second half then pulled away from the Lady Foresters in the second half of the championship game.
Bettylou Mihal and Leah Simko each had 15 points to lead the championship game victory. Whitney Williams gave her team a half-time lead with a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter, including one which she turned into a four-point play by drawing a foul and connecting on the free throw.
Ashley Twining led the charge through the second-half schedule by being one of the division's most effective scorers and rebounders.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Tony Rezykowski became the latest Elk Lake 1,000-point scorer early in the week, but the Warriors were unable to wrap up their division title Friday night.
The first-half champion Warriors lost to Carbondale, 63-51, in a playoff for the second-half title.
Carbondale's win, after three previous losses to Elk Lake, means the teams will have to play again for the all-season title. That game was scheduled for Monday, but the latest storm left uncertainty about when the title would actually be decided.
Rezykowski followed teammate Seth Button, who had reached 1,000 a week earlier along with Nicole Nasser from the Elk Lake girls' team.
Forest City entered the week in a three-way tie for the division lead but fell to Lackawanna Trail, 76-61, and Carbondale, 84-70.
Rezykowski's scoring touch led Elk Lake past Mountain View, 90-57, and Blue Ridge, 76-60.
Blue Ridge opened the week with a 63-47 win over Susquehanna. Wes Parks scored 22 points while Joe Page added 13 and Tony Survilla 10 for the Raiders. Kevin Lee scored 25 points for Susquehanna while Joe Barnes added 12.
In girls' basketball, Forest City helped Mountain View clinch early. The Lady Foresters knocked off Carbondale, 66-61, while the Lady Eagles routed Carbondale Sacred Heart, 83-24, Tuesday.
Mountain View then finished the perfect half with a 69-43 victory over Carbondale.
Forest City settled for a second-place tie in the half with its 62-28 victory over Lackawanna Trail.
Montrose also shared second with a 6-2 record. The Lady Meteors defeated Blue Ridge, 63-39, and Elk Lake, 50-22.
Kate LaBarbera hit four 3-pointers while scoring a career-high 22 points against Blue Ridge. She added 16 against Elk Lake.
Coleen Walsh added 11 points in the Blue Ridge game. Brooke Hinkley scored 16 points and Alison McNamara added 12 for Blue Ridge.
The Lady Raiders came back to beat Sacred Heart, 66-43.
In professional hockey, the Binghamton Senators and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins split a pair of close American Hockey League meetings in front of sellout crowds.
The Penguins won, 4-3, in Wilkes-Barre Wednesday on Kris Beech's power-play goal.
Beech had at least a goal in all five games of the Penguins' season-high unbeaten streak that ended Sunday in a 3-2 overtime loss to Binghamton.
Antoine Vermette's breakaway goal gave the Senators the win.
Both teams lost their leading goal scorers to call-ups during the week. First-round draft pick Jason Spezza is up with the Ottawa Senators for the second time while Tomas Surovy has joined the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time. Surovy scored his first National Hockey League goal in his second game.
The overtime victory Sunday allowed Binghamton to hold on to the East Division lead over Bridgeport.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's recent surge allowed the Penguins to move into position where they would be hosting a first-round playoff series in the season ended today.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The District 2 postseason arrives in wrestling and basketball.
The Class AA wrestling tournament is set for Friday and Saturday.
The seeding meeting for basketball was scheduled for Monday, but was called off because of weather. The pairings, however, have been determined in all but the Class AA boys' tournament, which will have some slight adjustments made once Elk Lake and Carbondale decide the Lackawanna Division 2 North title.
Four-time defending champion Forest City is the only team with a bye into the semifinals in the Class A girls' tournament.
The Lady Foresters will play the winner of Feb. 24's Old Forge at Pittston Seton Catholic game in a Feb. 26 semifinal.
Sixth-seeded Susquehanna is at third-seeded Bishop Hafey of Hazleton in one of the other Feb. 24 games. If the Lady Sabers win, they will meet the Carbondale Sacred Heart-Bishop O'Reilly winner in the semifinals.
The two district finalists advance to state tournament play.
Mountain View is seeded third behind two other division champions in the district's largest tournament, the 17-team Class AA girls' event.
Wilkes-Barre Meyers and Bishop Hannan are the top two seeds.
Mountain View and Montrose each get to play their first home District 2 playoff games in the new open tournament format.
Blue Ridge, the 14th seed, will play at Mountain View Friday night. Lackawanna Trail will play at sixth-seeded Montrose the same night. The winners of those two games meet on a neutral court in the Feb. 24 quarterfinals.
Elk Lake is also in the tournament as the 10th seed in a road game at Wyoming Seminary. If the Lady Warriors advance they would face second-seeded Bishop Hannan, barring a huge upset by Wilkes-Barre GAR.
The four semifinalists all advance to the state tournament.
There are nine teams in the Class A boys' tournament, meaning just one game is needed to get the field down to the quarterfinals.
Winless Susquehanna will travel to Hazleton to face Bishop Hafey Thursday in a matchup of the bottom two teams in the bracket. The winner gets a date with top-seeded Bishop Hannan Saturday at 2:30 at Scranton High School. As a Class AA team, Bishop Hannan won last season's state title and reached three of the last four state finals before moving down in enrollment classes.
Sixth-seeded Forest City plays third-seeded Bishop O'Hara Saturday at 1 at Valley View. The winner takes on either Seton Catholic or Bishop O'Reilly in the semifinals.
If Elk Lake wins the all-season Division 2 North title, it will claim the second seed and a first-round bye in the 13-team Class AA boys' tournament. Otherwise, Elk Lake will slip to fourth and open at home against Wyoming Seminary, the last seed in the field.
As the second seed, Elk Lake would await the Bishop Hoban-Lakeland winner for the quarterfinals. If they are the fourth seed the Warriors would face the Mid Valley-Northwest winner in a potential quarterfinal game.
Mountain View and Blue Ridge each start the tournament on the road Thursday. Mountain View, the 11th seed, is at Dunmore trying to earn a shot at Wilkes-Barre GAR, a Wyoming Valley Conference division champ.
Ninth-seeded Blue Ridge is at eighth-seeded Lackawanna Trail, trying to win its way into a meeting with top-seeded Riverside, the Lackawanna League Division 2 South champ.
Montrose, the 13th seed in a 15-team Class AAA field, is at Scranton Prep Thursday. If they win, the Meteors will take on the Crestwood-West Scranton winner.
The top three Class AAA teams advance to the state tournament. As in the girls' playoffs, the top two Class A teams and top four Class AA teams go on to state play.
Matthew Treible and Jeremy Pierson are members of the Keystone College baseball team that will begin its spring season March 9 in Florida.
Treible, a sophomore pitcher/outfielder from Blue Ridge, and Pierson, a freshman pitcher from Elk Lake, helped Keystone go 15-3 in its fall schedule.
Treible went 1-1 with a 1.27 earned run average and 15 strikeouts in 11 innings. He also batted .278 with a home run and five runs batted in.
Pierson went 2-0 with a save, a 1.40 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 15 innings. TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Waltrip Gets Second Daytona 500
Daytona Beach, FL Under threatening clouds, Michael Waltrip raced past leader Jimmie Johnson after a restart on lap 106 to win Sundays rain-shortened Daytona 500 for the second time in three years.
"We put that car in front, and then it started raining," said Waltrip, the driver of the NAPA No. 15 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet.
It was Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had electrical problems brought on by a dead battery, and was two laps down who helped his teammate take the lead on the last green flag lap.
Waltrip was second on the restart on lap 106 behind Jimmie Johnson. The No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet of Johnson was on the outside and the lapped car of Dale Jr. was leading the inside line of cars.
When the green flag was given Dale Jr. got a good jump and Waltrip was able to move down and zipped by Johnson for the lead and eventual victory.
Two laps later, Ward Burton spun in turn four bringing out another caution. The rains returned before speedway officials could clear the track and the cars were parked on pit road.
After an almost hour delay, NASCAR officials ruled the race official. There had been a previous rain delay of one hour and seven minutes after lap 64.
Waltrips first career win was the ill-fated 2001 Daytona 500 in which his team owner Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed. His second win came last July 4th in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona
"I knew before that last restart Jimmie was going to be in a bind," continued Waltrip. "You can only control your car. My plan was for Dale to get a good start, and luckily it worked."
Kurt Busch finished second in a Ford.
"I knew I was in trouble," said Johnson. "If Junior hadnt been there, wed still be leading."
Kevin Harvick wound up fourth and Mark Martin came in fifth.
Earnhardt Jr. wound up 36th and polesitter, Jeff Green came in 39th.
DEI cars swept all four Daytona events they competed in during this years Daytona Speedweek.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Michael Waltrip, 2. Kurt Busch, 3. Jimmie Johnson, 4. Kevin Harvick, 5. Mark Martin, 6. Robby Gordon, 7. Tony Stewart, 8. Jeremy Mayfield, 9. Mike Wallace, 10. Dale Jarrett.
Top-10 points leaders after 1 of 36 races: Waltrip-185, Busch, Johnson-170, Harvick-160, Martin-155, Stewart-151, R. Gordon-150, Mayfield-142, M. Wallace-138, Jarrett-134.
Busch Series Koolerz Goes To EARNHARDT, Daytona Beach, FL Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his domination of NASCAR racing as he took Saturdays season-opener Koolerz over Matt Kenseth for his third win in eight days.
"That was a great car the guys built for me," he said. "Everything has gone well for us this week in the Busch car, practicing and qualifying.
"Its hard to beat winning a Winston Cup race, but I remember the feeling I had when I built my first late model and took it to victory lane. That was a special feeling, also."
Kevin Harvick led the first 53 laps of the 120-lap race, finished third. Mike Wallace, who is running a limited Busch schedule, came in fourth. Jamie McMurray was fifth.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2. Matt Kenseth, 3. Kevin Harvick, 4. Mike Wallace, 5. Jamie McMurray, 6. Todd Bodine, 7. Bobby Hamilton Jr., 8. Kasey Kahne, 9. Johnny Sauter, 10. Chase Montgomery.
Top-10 points leaders after 1 of 34 races: Earnhardt-185, Kenseth, Harvick-170, Wallace-160, McMurray-155, T. Bodine-150, Hamilton Jr.-146, Kahne-142, Sauter-138, Montgomery-134.
CRAWFORD Leads Truck Points Rick Crawford broke a 120-race win streak as he made a brilliant move to beat Travis Kvapil and Robert Pressley in last Fridays Dodge Dealers 250 for Craftsman Trucks.
Top-10 points leaders after 1 of 25 races: 1. Rick Crawford-185, 2. Travis Kvapil, Robert Pressley-170, 4. Bobby Hamilton-165, 5. Andy Houston, Mike Wallace-155, 7. Dennis Setzer-146, 8. Terry Cook-143, 9. Jon Wood-142, 10. Brendan Gaughan-139.
Both the Busch and Winston Cup series are at North Carolina Motor Speedway, Rockingham, NC. The Craftsman Trucks do not race again until March 14.
Saturday, February 22, Busch Series Rockingham 200, race 2 of 34, 197 laps/200 miles, 12:30 p.m. TV: FX.
Sunday, February 23, Winston Cup Subway 400, race 2 of 36, 393 laps/400 miles, 12:30 p.m. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: Which Winston cup team does Terry Labonte drive for this season?
Answer To Last Weeks Question: Richard Pettys seven Daytona 500 wins lead all drivers. Cale Yarborough is second with 4 victories.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Naming the top contenders in this years NASCAR Winston Cup series is like laying your money on a racehorse. On any given Sunday there are 25-30 teams that are capable of winning.
But putting together a string of wins, or running consistently in the top-10 requires teamwork, dedication, experience and lots of money.
1. JEFF GORDON. My money will be going on the 1-2 car combination of Hendrick Motorsports, driven by Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. If NASCAR allowed two teams to compete for a win like in horse racing, this combo would be a shoo-in.
Watching the pair in the garage area, you can tell the chemistry is there. While Johnson made it to the Busch series without Gordon, Johnson now provides an awful lot of input to both teams.
Gordon has four championships, and he is still a hungry young man. His attitude during the off-season has been one of determination and dedication. With much of his messy divorce behind him, I believe he will be the top contender for this years title.
Johnson, a sophomore driver, has all the essentials except experience in NASCARs top circuit. Unlike Gordon, who has proven he can take the good with the bad, Johnson is not at the top of the learning curve, but I would expect him to finish the season in the top-5.
2. TONY STEWART. Stewart won last years title despite failing to finish six races. Supposedly, engine problems were a thing of the past, but during qualifying for the Daytona 500, he again experienced a motor failure.
His team switched from Pontiacs to Chevrolets and this could present a performance letdown. Jimmy Makar left teammate Bobby Labonte to oversee both teams R&D, which is a good move.
Stewart has tremendous racing skills that makes him capable of winning many races, but to me, Stewart is an, "all or nothing racer," and I feel like he will come up short.
3. KURT BUSCH. I thought Jack Roush was crazy when he moved Kurt Busch into a Winston Cup ride. But boy, was I wrong. After watching this young man win four races in 2002, Im convinced, he is the future of Roush Racing.
4. RYAN NEWMAN. Newman only had one win as a rookie, and finished sixth in the points, but his yearlong performance was impressive. He had more top-5 and top-10 finishes than any other driver.
There are two things that bother me about his chances; teammate, Rusty Wallace and the teams switch from Fords to Dodges.
I think Rusty has taught him all he is able to, and now it is up to Newman to carry the Penske Racing flag forward. If the engine program is solid, expect Newman to be near the top.
5. STERLING MARLIN. Only if his team can put together a season long performance, can Marlin gain the championship. During the first half of last season, Marlin and his No. 40 Chip Ganassi team were at the top of the leader board.
But even before the accident that forced him to sit out the last few races, Marlin had slipped to second spot.
The 44-year old driver still wants to win, but the Ganassi stable doesnt show me the intensity that Hendrick and several other teams have.
If the amount of heart a driver has could win him a championship, then Mark Martin would certainly get the $4-plus million winners check in November. But unfortunately, I dont think Mark or his team have what it takes to bring home the big trophy.
And as for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who practically dominated Daytonas Speedweek, I dont think he will finish higher than fifth this year. He and his team need more time to jell. He will win a championship, maybe several, but not in 2003.
Everyone starts off equal this Sunday. A quick glance shows there are cagey veterans and young rookies. It wont be until November that things will be sorted out. In the meantime, choose your favorite driver and root him on.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe