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Montrose's Walsh Named MVP In All-Star Game
Montrose's Coleen Walsh led a strong effort by Susquehanna County girls' basketball players on the North team in a 73-71 loss to the South in Friday's night's Lackawanna League All-Star Game at Forest City.
Walsh led a balanced North scoring attack with 10 points and was selected as team Most Valuable Player.
Mountain View's Bob Lambert coached the North team in the game, which was organized by Forest City athletic director Brian Durkin.
Walsh and Mountain View's Ashley Twining had strong games inside.
Forest City's Lauren Pantzer, who did all of her scoring on three 3-point shots, and Mountain View's Bettylou Mihal helped rally the North from behind late in the game.
Elk Lake's Nicole Nasser and Susquehanna's Jennifer Benson were also part of the North team.
Earlier in the week, Montrose's Matt Hornak scored 14 points to help Division I defeat Division II, 92-79, in the Lackawanna boys' All-Star Game in Scranton.
Hornak and Elk Lake's Seth Button, who played on the Division II team, each finished in double figures in points and rebounds.
Elk Lake's Tony Rezykowski, Blue Ridge's Wes Parks and Lance Landes and Mountain View's Dave Breese all joined Button on the Division II team.
WEEK IN REVIEW
It was a week full of honors for the leaders of a successful debut season for the Binghamton Senators.
The Senators are close to the American Hockey League East Division title and appear to be a strong threat in the upcoming Calder Cup playoffs. Coach John Paddock became the first in AHL history to have nine 40-win seasons when the Senators held off the host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-2, Friday night.
Earlier in the day, defenseman Brian Pothier was named as a second-team, all-star.
Pothier's honor came a day after the Senators grabbed three of the seven spots on the AHL all-rookie team. Goalie Ray Emery and forwards Jason Spezza and Antoine Vermette are the top rookies.
Despite eight brief recalls to the parent Ottawa Senators, Pothier leads AHL defensemen with 40 assists.
Emery is second in the AHL in wins with 25.
"He's sharp all the time," Paddock said after Emery's latest strong effort in the win over the Penguins. "That's sort of a given for us."
Spezza, the second pick in the entire 2001 draft, has the second-best, points-per-game average in the league by scoring 54 points in 43 games. He also had 15 points in the first 28 games of his NHL career.
Vermette leads all AHL rookies and ranks second in the league overall with 34 goals.
Binghamton used Friday night's 3-2 win to take its first season series from rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 5-3, including an overtime victory.
Emery's 31 saves made the difference.
"The difference in the game is their goaltender was terrific," Penguins coach Glenn Patrick said. "He showed why he was the rookie goaltender of the year."
With the help of two power plays, the Penguins outshot the Senators, 8-1, in the game's first 6:19.
Binghamton allowed just 12 shots over the next 39 minutes, then got a strong enough effort from Emery to hold on.
When the Penguins finally solved Emery after almost 50 minutes, the Senators needed just 34 seconds to break the tie.
Matt Murley scored a power-play goal through a Kris Beech screen at 9:46 of the third period.
Brad Smyth put Binghamton back in front then set up Chris Bala's goal to complete a give-and-go for a 3-1 lead with 6:24 left.
The Penguins moved back within a goal when Matt Hussey scored with 5:28 left.
Joe Murphy scored Binghamton's other goal on a second-period deflection.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons are about to go through the natural results of setting a club record with 91 wins last season while making the International League playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Seven players who appeared on the Red Barons roster were on the Philadelphia Phillies roster heading into Monday's season opener at the Florida Marlins.
There are only four more of last year's Red Barons, 12 in all, on the roster that is set to open the season in Thursday night's International League opener at Lackawanna County Stadium against the Ottawa Lynx.
The Phillies announced the 23-man opening roster for their top farm team Saturday.
The Red Barons bring back 12 players from last year's roster, plus three -- Wendell Magee, Kevin Sefcik and Wayne Gomes -- who have played for the team in the past.
Jeremy Salazar, Uriel Casillas, Dave Hollins, Jason Knupfer, J.P. Roberge, Jim Crowell, Geoff Geary, Cary Hiles, Eric Junge, Ken Pumphrey, Anthony Telemaco and Jeremy Wedel all return to the Red Barons this season.
The complete roster is: catchers Jesse Levis and Salazar; infielders Casillas, Hollins, Knupfer, Roberge, Travis Chapman and Juan Sosa; outfielders Magee, Sefcik and Jose Cabrera; and pitchers Crowell, Geary, Gomes, Hiles, Junge, Pumphrey, Telemaco, Wedel and Josh Hancock.
Outfielder Eric Valent, the last Phillies cut Sunday, should end up on the Red Barons roster, forcing another player out.
Depending on weather and field conditions, county high school spring sports teams could begin starting league competition late this week.
Jake Johnson, a sophomore infielder/pitcher from Mountain View, is off to a strong start at the plate at Marywood University.
The Pacers lost six straight after a 2-1 start and are now 3-8.
Through nine games, Johnson was the top offensive threat. In five games, including four starts, he was 6-for-11 with two doubles and three walks while batting .545.
Johnson had not made his first pitching appearance. TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
RYAN NEWMAN Makes Late Pass For Texas Win, Fort Worth, TX Ryan Newman passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 11 laps remaining to win his second Winston Cup career victory in Sunday's Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The win was the first of the season for both Newman and Dodge.
Newman's team made the decision to change only two tires on his No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge during the last round of pit stops. It was a strategy that looked bad as the cars took the green flag on the final restart.
Within one lap, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had passed him and began pulling away. But after a few laps, Newman caught back up with Junior, and then passed him with 10 laps to go in the 334-lap race.
Jeff Gordon tried for several laps to get under Junior's red Budweiser Chevrolet, but came up short at the finish line by two-hundredths of a second.
"I told everybody this morning we were about to turn the corner," said Newman. "Well, we've turned it.
"Track position was the key. We had to make that decision on that last pit stop and taking just two tires guaranteed me the first position. Four tires wouldn't have made that much of a difference, and it didn't except on the restart."
Newman was able to run the last 100 laps on the same left side tires.
After losing the battle with Newman for first, Junior had a tough time holding off Gordon for second. The pair traded paint several times coming off turn four on the final lap.
"I had a good car, but not good enough," said Junior. "It just quit running with about 10 laps to go."
Gordon's third-place finish was enough to move him into sixth in the points standings.
"It was a battle," said Gordon. "If we'd been going for a win, I think we would have wrecked."
Jerry Nadeau came in fourth and Mark Martin was fifth.
Elliott Sadler's No. 38 Ford led the most laps, but he wrecked coming out of turn two during lap 168.
Polesitter Bobby Labonte lost an engine in his No. 18
Interstate Batteries Pontiac and wound up 37th.
Top-10 points leaders after 7 of 36 races: 1. Kenseth-1090, 2. Busch-935, 3. Earnhardt Jr.-924, 4. Waltrip-898, 5. Johnson-885, 6. J. Gordon-864, 7. Stewart-849, 8. Newman-848, 9. Craven-840, 10. Harvick-802.
Is Race Safe System For NASCAR?
NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup cars will have two races at high-speed tracks within two weeks.
The first one was Sunday's race at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway and then the April 5 race at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.
High speed and close racing are common at both tracks.
TMS installed a new Warning Emergency System for both races this past weekend. The WES caution lights were embedded in the asphalt at the base of the track retaining walls in the four turns.
Would additional in-car caution lights help or hurt Winston Cup and Busch?
The Indy Racing League and ARCA (IRL races at TMS and ARCA races at Talladega), both use the "Race Safe" system of in-car caution lights.
When a caution is given on the speedway, a light on the dashboard of each car comes on at the same time, alerting the drivers.
John Andretti, driver of Petty Enterprises No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge gives his views:
"There are probably positive things and negative things about it. I can see where it might help some but I can see some problems too. I'm sure a lot of things could be worked out.
"The thing is it has to be where you can depend on it. If you see the light come on, you have to be able to know it's the real thing. 'False positives' - just one, to be honest - will kill it. If the driver doesn't believe it the second he sees it, then it's not going to work. If it helps you once, it's great. If it helps you 10 times but hurts you one time, you're not going to have any faith in it. It's a tough deal.
"Locating it would be pretty important too. You are concentrating so hard and focusing so much on what you are doing, that light has to be something to get your attention. Maybe if they did it like those speedometer systems in some cars, the kinds that show your speed on the windshield that would work. I don't know but I do know it has to be something special to get your attention."
Other Race Results
NEMECHEK Wins Wild Busch Race, Fort Worth, TX Joe Nemechek won his second Busch Series race of the season as the O-Reilly 300 was finished under yellow.
Nemechek was leading the race on the restart on lap 196 of the 200-lap race after a red flag period. On lap 194, a chain reaction wreck involving 15 cars caused a 22-minute stoppage.
Only 11 cars were on the lead lap as Nemechek took the checkered flag.
"It was definitely a wild finish," said Nemechek. " You have to have luck on your side. We dodged the big one today."
During a post race inspection, NASCAR officials discovered a potential problem with the left front spring on Nemechek's No. 87 Chevrolet. Officials are expected to rule next week if they will levy any fines or penalties.
There were 10 cautions and two red-flag periods.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Joe Nemechek, 2. Scott Riggs, 3. Shane Hmiel, 4. Todd Bodine, 5. Chad Blount, 6. Jimmy Spencer, 7. Matt Kenseth, 8. Scott Wimmer, 9. Kasey Kahne, 10. Coy Gibbs.
Top-10 points leaders after 6 of 34 races: 1. T. Bodine-914, 2. Keller-810, 3. McMurray-807, 4. Hornaday-762, 5. Kahne-761, 6. D. Green-740, 7. Hmiel-732, 8. Riggs-724, 9. Wimmer-715, 10. Bliss-703.
HAMILTON, SR. Is Truck Leader Top-10 points leaders after 3 of 25 races: 1. Hamilton-510, 2. Crawford-481, 3. Gaughan-479, 4. Kvapil-455, 5. Pressley-439, 6. Wood-423, 7. Cook-419, 8. Musgrave-416, 9. Setzer-410, 10. Leffler-384.
The Winston Cup and Busch series are at Talladega. The Craftsman Trucks do not run again until April 12.
Saturday, April 5: Busch Series Aaron's 312, race 7 of 34, 113 laps/300 miles, 2 p.m. TV: Fox.
Sunday, April 6: Winston Cup Aaron's 499, race 8 of 36, 188 laps/500 miles, Noon. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: Who is the only woman running a full Craftsman Truck season?
Answer To Last Week's Question: Japanese builder, Toyota has plans to enter the Craftsman Truck Series within two years, and possibly Winston Cup by 2007.
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.
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