Local Sports Scene
Montrose Preparing To Defend Titles
All the Susquehanna County boys' and girls' basketball teams and wrestling teams will go head-to-head within the same divisions of the Lackawanna League again this season.
Montrose will be trying to defend titles in Division III in both boys' and girls' basketball.
The Meteors beat Susquehanna, the first-half champion, in a playoff to determine last season's title.
The Lady Meteors went unbeaten in Lackawanna League play and 24-2 overall a year ago.
Montrose, Susquehanna, Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Forest City and Mountain View are joined by Lackawanna Trail and Carbondale in the basketball division.
Division III basketball teams will play 14 league games plus two assigned crossover games against Division II opponents which will count toward the District 2 seeding process.
Elk Lake and Susquehanna finished in a three-way tie for first place in the division in wrestling last season, but lost the tiebreaker, round-robin matches with Scranton Prep.
Elk Lake, Susquehanna, Blue Ridge, Montrose and Mountain View are joined by Bishop O'Hara, Valley View and Scranton Prep in Group B of Lackawanna League wrestling.
Winter sports teams are preparing for the start of non-league play December 2.
Lackawanna League girls' basketball opens with a December 13 crossover game that has Lakeland at Blue Ridge. The rest of the teams open the next day. Boys' basketball league play begins December 15.
The first Lackawanna League wrestling matches are scheduled for December 21.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have extended what is now the best start in the 70-year history of the American Hockey League.
The Penguins opened the season with nine straight wins, lost a game in overtime despite a 40-15 shot advantage against Springfield and then rattled off seven more wins to improve to 16-0-1.
"The confidence is there," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "There's no doubt about that.
"We're confident that we can win every night."
Michel Ouellet led the Penguins through a sweep of three games in three states in less than 48 hours from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.
Ouellet extended the league's longest active scoring streak to 12 games.
Since Erik Christensen and Ryan Whitney, the team's top two scorers at the time, moved up to the parent Pittsburgh Penguins, Ouellet has taken over. He is up to second in the American Hockey League with 29 points on 10 goals and 19 assists in 17 games.
Tomas Surovy and Matt Hussey have 19 points to tie Christensen for second on the team.
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, the first pick in the 2003 National Hockey League draft, leads the AHL in goals against average (1.49) and save percentage (9.42).
Fleury played for Pittsburgh Wednesday, stopping 45 of 47 shots in a 3-2 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers then returned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to stop 34 of 35 shots in Friday's 3-1 win over the Norfolk Admirals.
The Binghamton Senators, in danger of going from first-to-worst after winning the East Division last season, have seen some positive signs recently.
Binghamton shut out Springfield, 1-0, Sunday to improve to 5-9-1-1. Kelly Guard made 21 saves and Patrick Eaves scored the only goal.
Veteran left wing Dennis Hamel, who is 11th in the league with 20 points in 16 games, was named AHL Player of the Week for the period ending November 13.
Hamel had five goals and three assists in a stretch of four games.
Brandon Bochenski, who started the season with the parent Ottawa Senators, has 12 points in nine games with Binghamton. He tied a franchise record for points in a game with five November 11 in a 6-5 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack.
In high school sports, the fall season officially came to an end for the last of the Lackawanna League teams when Lakeland was shut out by Hanover Area, 35-0, in the District 2 Class AA football final and Lackawanna Trail lost to three-time defending champion Southern Columbia, 33-15, in the state Class A football playoffs.
With Wyoming Seminary's loss in the state field hockey semifinals, Hanover Area's football team is the only active District 2 fall sports team.
Now that the last Lackawanna Football Conference team has been eliminated, our football predictions are done for the season. We went 3-0 in the final week, making our season record 89-28 (76.1 percent).
Blue Ridge graduate Justin Herbert got his college wrestling career off to an impressive start at Franklin & Marshall University.
Herbert finished second as 165 pounds in the Central Jersey Wrestling Open in Trenton, N.J.
Herbert was tested on the way to the finals. After a first-round bye, he battled through two one-point decisions and a two-point win in overtime.
Tyler Tisdell of George Mason decisioned Herbert, 9-4, in the final.
Franklin & Marshall is an NCAA Division I school in wrestling.
Herbert finished sixth in the state in Class AA as a junior and seventh in the state last season for Blue Ridge.
Herbert dropped a pair of matches this weekend at the East Stroudsburg University Invitational.
THE WEEK AHEAD
First-place meets last place Saturday when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins visit the Binghamton Senators in an AHL East Division game.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
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STEWART Claims His Second Championship
Homestead, FL – Tony Stewart won the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship despite a 15th-place finish in Sunday’s Ford 400, which was won by Greg Biffle.
Biffle, the race winner finished second in points, even though he was tied with teammate Carl Edwards in the final standings, 35 points behind Stewart. Biffle was awarded the second spot, because he has six wins to Edwards four.
Mark Martin moved up to fourth in Chase points.
Jimmie Johnson went into the race second in points, but during lap 126, a right rear tire blew out, forcing Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet into the outside wall. After assessing the damage to the front end, his team loaded the car on the hauler, and he wound up finishing 40th. This dropped him three spots in to fifth in the final standings.
“I knew we had a problem, but I didn’t think we had a flat,” said Johnson. “It blew and I just went into the wall.
“In looking back at the season, I’m disappointed, but we did all we could do.”
Biffle crossed the finish line just 17-thousandths of a second ahead of his other Roush teammate, Mark Martin. Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, two other Roush drivers were third and fourth.
Casey Mears, Dave Blaney, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, and Jeremy Mayfield rounded out the top-10.
Polesitter, Carl Edwards led the most laps, but taking on four fresh tires, instead of two, with just 12-laps to go, probably cost him the win.
Stewart never raced for the lead, and was about to go a lap down late in the race because of a poor handling race car, when a caution for debris allowed him to pit. After his team made adjustments, he was able to maintain his position.
“I’m excited,” said Stewart. “It was a nice way to do it. This championship was for Zippy, (crew chief Greg Zipadelli), because of all the things I put them through in winning the 2002 championship.”
Top-25 final unofficial Nextel Cup points leaders: 1. Stewart-6533, 2. Biffle-6498, 3. Edwards-6498, 4. Martin-6428, 5. Johnson-6406, 6. Newman-6359, 7. Kenseth-6352, 8. R. Wallace-6140, 9. Mayfield-6073, 10. Busch-5974, 11. J. Gordon-4174, 12. McMurray-4130, 13. Sadler-4084, 14. Harvick-4072, 15. Jarrett-3960, 16. Nemechek-3953, 17. Vickers-3847, 18. Burton-3803, 19. Earnhardt-3780, 20. Busch-3753, 21. Rudd-3667, 22. Mears-3637, 23. Kahne-3611, 24. B. Labonte-3488, 25. Waltrip-3452.
Second Busch Title For TRUEX – Martin Truex Jr.’s seventh-place finish in the Busch season finale was good enough for him to claim his second Busch Series title, by 68-points over Clint Bowyer, the eighth-place finisher.
Truex ended the season with six wins, three poles, 15 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes.
"I was really happy that we were able to race for it and nobody really took our chance away to win the title," Truex said. "That was what I was worried the most was starting in the back and having something happen that would not allow us to race for it.
"If we run 25th all day and got beat, I would have took that and went on. If it was something that happened out of our control, it would be hard to swallow."
Bowyer, who trailed Truex by 64 points entering the race, struggled much of the race with the handling on his No. 2 Chevrolet and could never capitalize on Truex's misfortune.
"We were just terrible. It just wasn't quite there all weekend," Bowyer said. "It's been such a good year, and I'm still proud of everyone involved in working with this race car."
Carl Edwards won series rookie of the year honors and finished third in points.
The final unofficial top-25 Busch Series leaders: 1. Truex-4937, 2. Bowyer-4869, 3. Edwards-4601, 4. Sorenson-4453, 5. Hamlin-4143, 6. Menard-4101, 7. K. Wallace-4068, 8. D. Green-3908, 9. Keller-3866, 10. Biffle-3865, 11. J.J. Yeley-3711, 12. Sauter-3695, 13. Stremme-3694, 14. Lewis-3587, 15. Wood-3346, 16. Compton-3345, 17. J. Labonte-3285, 18. Harvick-3259, 19. LaJoie-2880, 20. Raines-2736, 21. Kahne-2511, 22. Barrett-2252, 23. Grissom-2071, 24. Kenseth-2049, 25. E. Sadler-2032.
MUSGRAVE Gets His First Truck Championship, Homestead, FL – Ted Musgrave finished 20th in the rain-postponed Ford 200 on Saturday, but he still beat out Dennis Setzer for his first Craftsman Truck Series championship. The 49-year-old Musgrave became NASCAR's oldest champion, claiming the title after finishing second in 2001 and third the last three years.
Setzer finished second for the third consecutive year.
"You know we're going to be back next year,'' said Setzer, who was 55 points back. "We ain't giving up. We're going to get us one of these.''
Musgrave had to wait an extra day to get his championship, because the race was postponed a day because of intermittent showers Friday night.
Musgrave nearly won the title two years ago -- the same season it was revealed he had cancer -- but a black-flag penalty prevented him from getting the series' ultimate title.
Meanwhile the third-place finisher, Todd Bodine won his third consecutive race, 73 points behind the champion.
Bodine had the best truck in the race. He led the most laps and retook the lead with 16 laps to go when Brendan Gaughan had to pit for fuel.
Todd Kluever, who finished seventh in the season finale, clinched the rookie of the year award in the series.
Kluever is the fourth driver from Roush Racing to win the honor. He will move to the Busch Series next season, where he will again compete for rookie honors. He finished 11th in points this season with six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.
The final unofficial top-25 Craftsman Truck Series leaders: 1. Musgrave-3535, 2. Setzer-3480, 3. T. Bodine-3462, 4. Hornaday-3369, 5. Skinner-3273, 6. Hamilton-3164, 7. Starr-3148, 8. Sprague-3137, 9. Crafton-3095, 10. Benson-3076, 11. Kluever-3074, 12. Spencer-3050, 13. Reutimann-2979, 14. Craven-2976, 15. Cook-2936, 16. Crawford-2917, 17. Lester-2672, 18. Whitt-2602, 19. Gaughan-2564, 20. Pressley-2493, 21. Keselowski-2367, 22. Park-2275, 23. Montgomery-2230, 24. Renshaw-2123, 25. Hines-2108.
Racing Trivia Question: Which Nextel Cup team is owned by Cal Wells?
Last Week’s Question: Mike Bliss is the 2002 Craftsman Truck Series champion. Which series does he drive in now? Answer. He drove the No. 0 NetZero Chevrolet in the Nextel Cup series this past season.
You may read additional stories by the Racing Reporter at www.race500.com. His e-mail address is: email@example.com.
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