Please visit our kind sponsors
Recent high school basketball seasons in Susquehanna County have been dominated by a group of girls' teams competing for Lackawanna League division and District 2 small school titles.
While some boys' teams have found success from year to year, the collective group of six county teams has not had nearly the same impact as their girls' counterparts.
One season after only Forest City produced a winning record on the boys' side, that trend seems ready to change.
Forest City, Blue Ridge and Mountain View all won tournament titles before the season was a week old.
A mild shift in enrollment has moved Montrose down from a small Class AAA school to a big Class AA school and put the Meteors back into Division III play with their county rivals. The timing may be right to put the Meteors right into contention. They already have a non-league win over Honesdale, one of their former large-school opponents.
Susquehanna made slight improvement last year, climbing to five wins, and could bypass that mark before the first month is over.
Elk Lake is the only team that does not appear to have a chance to make an impact on the division race and the races for district Class AA and Class A playoff spots.
Forest City returns starters Matt Pisarcik, Ryan Ogozaly, Dave Shollock and Jonathan Torch from a 21-win team.
Point guard Robbie Johnson, inside force Tim Bennett and L.B. Feduchak lead a deep Mountain View team.
Sophomore Azim Griffin opened the season with back-to-back, 22-point games in the tournament win by Blue Ridge.
Kyle Adriance and Tom Burgh lead the way for Montrose.
Susquehanna features the combination of Kevin Lee, the county's top returning scorer, and freshman Brent Keyes, who had 17 points in his third varsity game, last week's 61-39 victory over Western Wayne.
Adam Schiffer and Sean Wolf join Lee as returning starters.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Mountain View was trailing by 23 points with five bouts left in Wednesday's wrestling match against Wilkes-Barre GAR.
The Eagles, however, were in strong position because they had an advantage in those bouts with a strong lineup from 145 to 189 pounds.
Greg Nixon, Chad Smith, Joe Johnson, Levi Matulevich and Matt Panasevich made the most of that advantage, stringing together five straight pins to lead a 42-35 victory.
In girls' basketball, Montrose opened its season with three straight victories, including a 56-23 romp over Elk Lake Saturday night in the Division III opener.
Kate LaBarbera hit three times from 3-point range to lead Montrose over Elk Lake. The Lady Meteors jumped to a 19-2 lead after one quarter.
Jessica Franklin added nine points and Christine Brown had seven assists for Montrose.
Montrose opened with a 46-28 victory over Athens.
Erika Brown led the win with 14 points, Chelsey Parvin added 11 and LaBarbera had 10.
The Meteors defeated Bishop Hannan, 41-31, in a Lackawanna League crossover.
Parvin had 16 points and 14 rebounds against Bishop Hannan. The Lady Meteors used a 14-4 advantage in the third quarter after holding just a 19-18 lead at halftime.
Elk Lake had won its Lackawanna crossover, 43-35, over Mid Valley behind 12 points from Brooke Shingler.
In boys' basketball, all the Division III teams had to play on the road in the Lackawanna League crossovers against Division II teams Friday night and all six county teams suffered defeats. Among those losses were Mountain View against Bishop O'Hara and Forest City against Carbondale in rematches of games that had given the two county schools tournament titles.
In high school football, Southern Columbia and Lansdale Catholic won small school state titles.
The two eastern teams had eliminated the last survivors from the Lackawanna Football Conference.
Southern Columbia, which eliminated Lackawanna Trail, won its third straight Class A title. The Tigers ripped Rochester, 35-0, as quarterback Dan Latorre ran for four touchdowns.
R.C. Lagomarsino set a state championship game record by running for 352 yards and four touchdowns as Lansdale Catholic beat Grove City, 40-17, in Class AA. Lansdale Catholic eliminated previously unbeaten Lakeland in the quarterfinals.
In professional hockey, Michel Ouellet scored a hat trick Saturday night as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defeated the first-place Philadelphia Phantoms, 6-4, to move into a tie for second place in the American Hockey League East Division.
Ouellet has 13 goals in his last 15 games to move into second in the AHL in goals.
The Binghamton Senators lead the AHL in overtime victories with five.
Nicole Zapolski was named Female Athlete of the Month at Keystone College for November.
Zapolski and Julie Lasher, two seniors from Mountain View, have helped the Lady Giants to a 5-1 start.
Zapolski, a 5-foot-8 forward, had 53 points, 11 rebounds and 10 steals in four November games. She then opened December with her best game, a 27-point, 12-rebound effort in a 75-69 victory over Baptist Bible College.
Keystone rallied for a 69-68 win over Keuka with the help of 11 points and eight rebounds from Zapolski in the next game.
Zapolski has 1,188 career points, the most ever by a Keystone woman. She also has 859 rebounds, putting her within range of becoming the first Keystone player, male or female, to reach 1,000 points in both points and rebounds.
In six games, Zapolski is 27-for-61 from the floor, 2-for-4 on 3-pointers and 35-for-46 on free throws. She is averaging 15.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.9 steals, all of which lead the team.
Lasher, a 6-foot-2 forward, has come off the bench in four games. She is 7-for-25 from the floor and 9-for-10 from the line. She is averaging 5.8 points and 4.0 rebounds while leading the team with seven blocked shots.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Mountain View and Susquehanna are among the 47 schools that will compete in the Times Leader Invitational Wrestling Tournament Friday and Saturday at the Wachovia Arena in Wilkes-Barre.
The event is the largest regular-season tournament in Pennsylvania.
In boys' basketball, Susquehanna is at Blue Ridge at Montrose is at Mountain View in Lackawanna League Division III play Thursday. Mountain View was scheduled to play at Susquehanna Tuesday in one of the division openers.
In girls' basketball, Mountain View is at Montrose Wednesday in the latest meeting of the two perennial Class AA contenders.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
It’s The “Last Call” For RUSTY WALLACE
Rusty Wallace will be bowing out of full-time racing as a driver at the end of the 2005 season.
Wallace, the 1989 Winston Cup champion says he struggled with the decision, trying to pinpoint the exact moment he will step out of his car.
Even though he will not be in a Penske Racing car in the Nextel Cup series after 2005, he will remain in the sport, fielding a Busch Series team and helping his son Stephen advance in the sport.
“It has been very frustrating for me not to have been at more of his races,” said Wallace. “I’d have to fly all night long and then it would be 3 a.m. before I got back to my race site, and I feel like that would take away from my Cup team.”
Wallace says he plans to put Stephen in one of his Busch cars as soon as he is ready.
But before he goes the veteran drivers is hoping to get back in victory lane.
Last spring, things were looking good for Wallace. After a battle-scarred 29th place finish in the Daytona 500 knocked him way back in the standings, he used five top-10 finishes in the first eight races to rumble back into the top-10.
A victory at Martinsville in April was the high point of the last three years for his team, but amazingly, it also signaled the end of his year, with 28 races remaining.
A variety of problems doomed him to a best finish of 10th in the next 16 races, with nine finishes of 25th or worse, and knocked him back to 21st in the standings, when he was a mind-boggling 873 points behind leader Jeff Gordon.
A late run with the 10th best point total overall in the final 10 races allowed Wallace to move up to 16th in the standings, but that statement alone for a former fixture in the top-10 proves the general futility of this season for the No. 2 Dodge.
One of the things he definitely won't give back is a decision he announced at the end of the summer, to completely retire from driving following the 2005 season.
"It's everything in the world to go out on top," Wallace said when he made the announcement. "You know what? If I go out next year and I don't have a great year, I'm still going out on top, because I've won this year, I've had tons of top-five runs only to get spoiled by mechanical failures."
Wallace scored his ninth victory at Martinsville in the spring, breaking a three-year victory drought.
But in October, Wallace had a shot to sweep Martinsville for the third time in his career before a collision with Penske Racing South teammate Ryan Newman in the last 10 laps knocked him out.
It emphasized one of the issues that Wallace opined on, but didn't seem capable of solving from the driver's seat, namely the inability of the Penske teams to work together more efficiently and productively.
Wallace's frustration with the season was evident by the eve of the Homestead finale.
"Another win would cure a lot of problems," he said then, but despite leading 26 laps in the Ford 400, eighth place was the end result.
Along with his worst career total of top-10 finishes in a season, 11, since 1985 -- his second full season in the league -- he was only 12th best in laps led with 308 and 16th best on the miles led chart.
He led 16 times, but was only on the point for eight of the 36 races. For the second consecutive season, he failed to add to his career total of 36 Bud Poles, despite having $4,447,302 in race purse winnings.
For 16 of the 17 seasons prior to 2003, Wallace occupied a spot in the year-end top-10. He doesn't know for sure if he'll return to that stature in 2005, but with a larger ownership role looming, he's comfortable with the near future.
"I know I'll run good next year because that's just me," Wallace said. "I feel like, at age 48, I'm one of the youngest feeling 48 year olds out there.”
21 Drivers For Bud Shootout – Twenty-one drivers are eligible to compete in the 27th Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, Saturday, Feb. 12, including nine former winners, four newcomers and reigning Nextel Cup Series champion Kurt Busch.
Busch earned his spot in the starting field by winning the Bud Pole Award in the last race of the 2004 season. The '05 Shootout will mark his third start in the non-points paying race, which will officially kick off the NASCAR portion of Daytona Speedweeks.
Making their Shootout debuts will be Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers and Casey Mears.
The Shootout also will kick off three farewell tours for retiring drivers: Rusty Wallace's "Last Call," Mark Martin's "Salute To You" and Terry Labonte's "Shifting Gears, Texas Style" tours.
The lineup includes: 1. Ryan Newman, 8 poles (Rockingham, Bristol, Loudon, Richmond, Charlotte, Martinsville, Atlanta, Phoenix), 2. Jeff Gordon, 6 (Martinsville, Michigan, Sonoma, Daytona, Chicago, Bristol), 3. Kasey Kahne, 4 (Las Vegas, Darlington, California, Pocono), 4. Jeremy Mayfield, 2 (Dover, Dover), 5. Casey Mears, 2 (Pocono, Indianapolis), 6. Joe Nemechek, 2 (Talladega, Kansas), 7. Brian Vickers, 2 (Richmond, California), 8. Greg Biffle, 1 (Daytona), 9. Kurt Busch, 1 (Homestead), 10. Jimmie Johnson, 1 (Charlotte), 11. Bobby Labonte, 1 (Texas), 12. Ricky Rudd, 1 (Talladega), 13. Dale Jarrett (Shootout winner in 1996, 2000, 2004), 14. Tony Stewart (Shootout winner in 2001, 2002), 15. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Shootout winner in 2003), 16. Mark Martin (Shootout winner in 1999), 17. Rusty Wallace (Shootout winner in 1998), 18. Geoffrey Bodine (Shootout winner in 1992), 19. Ken Schrader (Shootout winner in 1989, 1990), 20. Bill Elliott (Shootout winner in 1987), 21. Terry Labonte (Shootout winner in 1985).
Racing Trivia Question: What are Michael Waltrip’s future racing plans?
Last Week’s Question: What are Robby Gordon’s plans for 2005? Answer. Gordon will be running his own Busch Series team, plus a few Cup races in 2005.
Gerald Hodges/the Racing Reporter is a syndicated NASCAR columnist. You can read additional racing stories by Hodges at www.race500.com.
Local hunter, Kenny Kiefer is pictured above with his first buck, a five-point that was taken in East Rush.
Penn State Cooperative Extension in Susquehanna County has an excellent, free publication called “Proper Processing of Wild Game and Fish.” This publication contains guidelines and great hints to help you make sure the food you are consuming is handled and canned safely. Some of the topics covered are: curing methods, smoking, drying and canning methods for all game meats. There are even recipes for salmon, venison, pheasant, duck, and rabbit. For the “Proper Processing of Wild Game and Fish” publication call the Extension office at 278-1158 and they will mail it to you.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe