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Susquehanna and Elk Lake will each have to go back to trying to win a Lackawanna Wrestling League Division II title.
The Sabers and Warriors both put together a string of bout wins Friday night but fell short in the first round of the District 2 Class AA Dual Meet Tournament against the top two seeds from the Wyoming Valley Conference.
Lake Lehman, which eventually fell to West Scranton in Saturday night's championship match, defeated Susquehanna, 54-24.
Hanover Area eliminated Elk Lake, 48-33.
In the old days of wrestling where matches began at the lowest weight, the Sabers would have at least had a few moments of glory before their defeat.
From 103 on, Susquehanna won five of six bouts. Unfortunately, they trailed, 48-0, before getting to that point.
Brant Thomas won by pin at 125 to start a stretch of three straight bouts that the Sabers won to end the match.
Scott Meagley (103), Travis Cordner (112) and Nathan Huyck (135) all won major decisions. Dustin Perry (130) picked up a forfeit.
The quarterfinal matches all started at 140 pounds and Elk Lake got its three straight wins there for an early 15-0 lead.
Derek Noldy and Dylan Griffiths got the Warriors started with back-to-back pins. Andrew Stevens followed by winning a decision.
When A.J. Reed and Jason Miller produced back-to-back pins at 215 and 275, the Warriors were back in front, 27-18. With two forfeits ahead in the final six bouts, however, Elk Lake still was not in a powerful position.
Hanover Area won by taking the next five bouts.
The only remaining win came when Rich Harvey picked up a forfeit at 135.
Otherwise, it was a big week for Elk Lake, which handed both Montrose and Susquehanna their first losses of the league season, knocking the teams out of first place on back-to-back nights.
Susquehanna recovered from its first league loss and its district loss to defeat Montrose, 40-31, Saturday.
The Sabers need one more win to force a three-way wrestle-off with Elk Lake and Scranton Prep to determine the division champion.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Montrose remained as the only second-half unbeaten in Division III of the Lackawanna League boys' and girls' basketball.
Tom Burgh had 28 points, nine steals and seven assists as the Meteors improved to 5-0 in the half with a 93-68 romp over Carbondale Sacred Heart.
Chris Strohl added 17 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Kyle Adriance had 16 points and Justin Marbaker had 11.
Strohl had 28 points when Montrose defeated Blue Ridge, 64-49, earlier in the week. Marbaker added 10 points and seven steals while Adriance blocked five shots.
The week started with Forest City temporarily moving into a share of the division lead while handing Lackawanna Trail a 57-50 defeat.
Matt Pisarcik scored his 1,000th career point in the win and was one of four Foresters in double figures. Ryan Ogozaly led with 16 points, Mike McGraw had 15 and Pisarcik and Dave Shollock added 11 each.
Forest City then fell to both Mountain View and Susquehanna.
Sean Wolf scored 17 points as Susquehanna won its third straight, 61-38, over Forest City.
In girls' basketball, Montrose had no trouble improving to 20-1 with a 79-26 rout of Susquehanna and a 69-29 romp over Carbondale Sacred Heart.
Kate LaBarbera scored 22 points and added five assists and five steals in the win over Susquehanna. Erika Brown had 17 points. Brittany Ely scored 10 points and Christine Brown made eight steals.
LaBarbera had 14 points and five assists against Sacred Heart. Chelsey Parvin added 13 points and 12 rebounds. Erika Brown had 10 points.
Elk Lake had two big wins during the week.
The Lady Warriors handed Lackawanna Trail its only loss of the half, 63-53, when Amanda Shingler scored 14 points to lead four players in double figures. Celia Tyler added 13 points while Lacey Payne and Brooke Shingler had 11 each.
Elk Lake finally got a chance to finish the first half and wound up with a winning record by stopping Mountain View, 58-23.
Beth Kubus scored 14 points and Bridgette Stone added 13 when Susquehanna beat Sacred Heart, 37-30.
In high school wrestling, Blue Ridge defeated Mountain View, 33-15.
Cody Kuiper and Louis Villella had pins for Blue Ridge while Matt Panasevich moved up to heavyweight to get a pin for Mountain View.
In professional hockey, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins won their fourth straight Saturday when they beat the Philadelphia Phantoms, 4-1.
The Penguins, who have scored power-play goals in 12 straight games, moved into a three-way tie for the American Hockey League East Division lead with the Binghamton Senators and Norfolk Senators. Binghamton has lost six straight. Philadelphia is three points back.
Dana Bennett, a freshman from Forest City, is already in her second sports season at Wilson College in Chambersburg.
Bennett played in every soccer game, starting all but one, at the NCAA Division III school during a 6-8 season.
She is also on the basketball team where she started from the first game and is one of the top players in the Atlantic Women's Colleges Conference.
Bennett leads the AWCC in rebounds with 13.1 per game and leads her team in scoring (11.7 per game) and field goal percentage (41.4). She ranks eighth in the AWCC in scoring, eighth in field goal percentage and 10th in blocked shots while also averaging 1.3 steals, 1.0 assists and 0.5 blocks.
Bennett had her best game of the season last week when she piled up 20 points and 22 rebounds in just 25 minutes as Wilson (4-15) rolled over Christendom College, 64-33. She pulled down 14 of her rebounds on the offensive end.
"Dana has stepped on the court as a freshman and become an impact player," Wilson basketball coach Allison Steiger said. "Our biggest challenge is getting her to make her move to the basket. She is a team player and is always looking to feed someone else."
Bennett, who is planning to pursue a secondary teaching certificate, received the Scholarship to Enhance Mathematics Learning and Research for the 2004-05 academic year. She is interning with the Washington County Board of Education in Maryland.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Jason Spezza of the Binghamton Senators and Michel Ouellet of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will be linemates on the Canadian All-Star Team Monday night in Manchester, NH.
The all-star festivities start with a skill contest Sunday. The next night the league's all-stars meet in a format that pits Canadian born players against players from the rest of the world on a team known as PlanetUSA.
Spezza, the second-pick overall in the 2001 draft, was an AHL All-Star and All-Rookie selection in the 2002-2003 season. He is one of the players who clearly would have been in the National Hockey League if not for a lockout. Instead, Spezza is leading the AHL in scoring.
Ouellet, an all-rookie selection last season, is second in the AHL in goals and nearing his second straight 30-goal season.
While Ouellet is the only Penguin in the game, Spezza is one of three players selected from the first-place Senators.
Defenseman Brian Pothier, a Massachusetts native, and rookie forward Brandon Bochenski, a Minnesota native, are members of the PlanetUSA roster.
Pothier played in the all-star game in 2003 and spent 55 games with Ottawa last season.
Bochenski, an All-American at the University of North Dakota, leads AHL rookies in goals and points.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached on-line at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Which Ten Drivers Will Make The Chase?
It’s a brand new season and all the teams start off equal, but will your favorite driver be one of the ten to make the Chase For the Nextel Cup?
Pictured (l-r) are: back row – Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin; front row – Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Jeremy Mayfield, Ryan Newman.
The first racing weekend of the season is February 12, but this is the Bud Shootout, a non-points race. The big race, the Daytona 500 won’t be until February 19. That’s the race all the teams are shooting for. It’s still the “Superbowl” of racing.
During the off season teams have tested at least once in preparation for the 2005 season.
Eight teams seem to be a cut above the rest. But the nature of competition is that something will happen to keep at least two of these teams out of the Chase; Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, and Jamie McMurray.
There are also nine teams that either did well in 2004 or showed enough promise to put themselves near the front; Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Bobby Labonte, Jeremy Mayfield, Kevin Harvick, Elliott Sadler, Casey Mears, and Dale Jarrett.
The remainder of the teams are long shots, but a surprise could come from this group; Rusty Wallace, Joe Nemechek, Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton, and Sterling Marlin.
NASCAR chairman Brian France called 2004 a year of remarkable change and success and says he doesn't foresee a whole lot more changing in 2005.
France, finishing his first full season as the man in charge of NASCAR after taking the reins from his father, Bill France, Jr., was the architect of the new Chase for the Nextel Cup points system.
He put aside the old system that had been in place since 1975 after years of waning late-season interest by fans, and split its season into two parts in 2004. The first 26 races determined 10 drivers who would race for the title over the last 10 races in a playoff-style championship format.
There was some criticism that the new points system did not reward victories enough, with runner-up Jimmie Johnson finishing eight points behind champion Kurt Busch despite winning four of the last 10 races and a series-high eight races during the season. Busch won three times, including the first race of the Chase.
"The entire team at NASCAR will review the type of things they think can make it better," France said. "If there was anything, it would only be an adjustment, a small adjustment. I pretty much liked the way things turned out.
"We have momentum this off season like we've never had before. Ratings were swelling big in the last three or four races, the energy level was so high down in South Florida (for the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway). That's a great thing for us heading into next year."
Not Everyone Likes The Chase – The Chase For the Championship is not a true playoff, but a realignment of the top-10 drivers after 26 of the 36 races, in order to generate more fan interest as the season winds down – mainly for television – where much of the NASCAR organization’s money comes from.
NASCAR fans take their racing every bit as serious as stick-and-ball supporters take their sports, but racing is different. Whether it’s basketball, football, or baseball, the height of the excitement builds from the moment you leave home. A certain atmosphere prevails among the hometown fans.
But in NASCAR, there is no home field advantage. Instead fans are pulling for 43 different drivers. And since there are only 10 drivers vying for the championship at the end of 26 races, it means the other teams don’t receive as much publicity, because they are out of the big picture.
“My driver was Jamie McMurray,” said H. B. of Raleigh, North Carolina. He had some strong runs, but I don’t think he received the publicity the other 10 drivers did. I believe this hurts the sport when you take something away from one driver and give it to others.
“I think a real playoff system where certain drivers are eliminated down to the last race would be much better. With the Chase, they’re not eliminating anyone, just keeping the same losing people in the game.”
In addition, some of the teams that are not able to run up front feel like they do not receive the television time they should, and as a result, their sponsors suffer.
But like it or not, NASCAR says the present plan, except for a few possible tweaks is here to stay.
Will New Team Help DALE, JR.? During the off season, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. lost both his crew chief and car chief. Tony Eury, Sr. and Eury, Jr. were transferred to other teams in the Dale Earnhardt Inc. organization.
Earnhardt, Jr., who finished fifth in the final Nextel Cup standings, will have Pete Rondeau as his crew chief next year. Rondeau, along with the core members of his crew, will move over to the No. 8 from Michael Waltrip's No. 15 Chevrolet.
Earnhardt admitted, "It was miserable a lot of the time between the good times" as he worked with the Eurys. The driver's relationship with Eury, Jr. was particularly volatile.
"He and I both agreed that each of us needs to work with different people to learn the maturity and the respect side of it that we didn't have for each other," Earnhardt, Jr. said. "I think it will be better for both of us. There will be a higher level of respect both ways, coming or going."
21 Drivers Eligible For Saturday’s Bud Shootout – It’s Speedweek, the opening of NASCAR’s 2005 season. The action begins Saturday, February 12 at Daytona International Speedway with the Nextel Cup Bud Shootout (non-points race) Starting time: 8 p.m. TV: Fox.
The lineup includes: 1. Ryan Newman, 2. Jeff Gordon, 3. Kasey Kahne, 4. Jeremy Mayfield, 5. Casey Mears, 6. Joe Nemechek, 7. Brian Vickers, 8. Greg Biffle, 9. Kurt Busch, 10. Jimmie Johnson, 11. Bobby Labonte, 12. Ricky Rudd, 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 year did Dale Earnhardt, Sr. win the Daytona 500?
Answer Next Week.
You may read additional stories by the Racing Reporter at www.race500.com.
Kate LaBarbera scored in double figures for Montrose in five of eight basketball games in January.
LaBarbera also finished in double figures in rebounds in one of those games. She had at least five assists three times and five steals twice, including one game where she had five of each.
The Lady Meteors have learned they can count on a little bit of everything from their senior guard, who finished the month with a streak of 105 straight starts in her four-year career while helping the team go 78-27 in that stretch.
"I think it's important to be able to be more of a threat than just scoring or just defense," LaBarbera said.
LaBarbera finished with an average of 11.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 3.1 assists during a month in which Montrose finished a perfect first half of Lackawanna League Division III play. For her consistent, all-around effort in leading a balanced team, LaBarbera is the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
The scoring, rebounding and assists statistics for the month pushed LaBarbera's season totals up ever so slightly. Her steals totals are even higher for the season with an average of 3.9 per game, including games of nine and eight in division play.
"I try to get in the passing lanes and read the players’ eyes," said LaBarbera, who makes the most of being taller and having longer arms than most guards.
LaBarbera was at her best against Lackawanna Trail, the top threat to Montrose's first-half title hopes. She went 8-for-10 from the floor, hitting all three of her 3-pointers while scoring 20 points in just 20 minutes.
The Lady Meteors were 24-6 in LaBarbera's freshman season and won a District 2 championship and a first-round state tournament game when she was a sophomore. With a 20-1 start this season, the team is hoping for even more this time around.
"I think the team we have this year is the best team that I've been on," LaBarbera said. "The difference from two years ago is that more people are watching us. We're not an underdog."
LaBarbera was also a four-year starter in soccer when Montrose won its first district championship this fall. She has kept busy springs and summers with AAU basketball. Although she has talked with some Division III coaches, LaBarbera is not certain whether she will continue with the sport after high school.
Kate is the daughter of Tony and Linda LaBarbera of Montrose.
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