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Clarks Summit – There is no reason to believe that the 2005-06 will be any different than many recent Montrose girls' basketball seasons. There will be times when the Lady Meteors are far too much for some of their Lackawanna League Division III rivals.
Montrose sought out additional challenges with its non-league schedule to help prepare what is a promising team for its eventual likely title shots.
The Lady Meteors added Scranton Prep and Abington Heights, the two teams likely to fight for the Lackawanna Division I title, to their schedule, playing them back-to-back and earning a split.
The two games were added to the schedule to replace the two league games the team lost from the schedule after Carbondale Sacred Heart closed.
"We knew we had to find two games," Montrose coach John Cherundolo said. "We wound up with one more loss, but we learned a lot."
After winning the opener, 56-24, over Western Wayne, Montrose knocked off Scranton Prep, 38-37, with a rally in the closing seconds. Even when the week ended with a 58-40 loss at Abington Heights, it was hard to see that as disappointing.
"To win two out of three is a good thing," Cherundolo said. "At the start of the week, if we beat either Scranton Prep or Abington Heights, I would have figured we did a good job."
The highlight was the home-court win over Scranton Prep, a state Class AAA quarterfinalist a year ago.
Amanda Lass, playing against 6-foot-4 Prep center Kristin Folk, scored six of her game-high 16 points in the second quarter as the Lady Meteors took a 22-19 halftime lead. Chelsey Parvin had all nine of her points in the first half.
The Classics, however, moved in front and carried a four-point lead into the final minute.
Montrose's defense kept alive the possibility of a comeback by pressuring Prep into using its final four timeouts in the last 1:32.
Brittany Ely's only basket of the game, a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left cut the deficit to 37-36.
Montrose stole the in-bounds pass and called timeout to set up the final play.
Parvin drew the defense and slipped a pass to Lass, who hit a 15-footer with just under two seconds left. Because Prep did not have a timeout, the clock kept moving and ran out before the Classics could even take the ball out of bounds.
"We were in the double bonus, so I wanted whoever had the ball to go to the basket," Cherundolo said. "They swarmed Chelsey and that left Amanda Lass open. She hit a nice arched shot over Folk."
Parvin had 10 rebounds and Caitlin Ely had five steals in the win.
The Lady Meteors briefly threatened another comeback Saturday against the Lady Comets but the deficit was too much to overcome.
Abington Heights opened leads of 28-8 and 30-10 midway through the second quarter as sophomore Becky Burke scored 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting in the first 12:02 before resting a sore ankle.
Montrose still trailed, 37-20, with 5:14 left in the third quarter before scoring 11 straight points. Caitlin Ely scored four points and Ashley Jones hit a 3-pointer during the streak, which brought the Lady Meteors within six late in the quarter.
After Kelly Purcell hit two free throws eight seconds into the fourth quarter, Montrose was never able to get the margin back to single digits.
Lass had nine points and eight rebounds. Caitlin Ely had nine points and four assists. Parvin had eight points while Jones and Brittany Ely added seven each.
Burke finished with 20 points while Purcell added 12 on 10-for-12 free throw shooting. Purcell also had nine rebounds and four steals.
Lass and Brittany Ely led the way in the opening win over Western Wayne.
Lass had 19 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots. Brittany Ely had 10 points and seven steals.
Caitlin Ely added five assists and five steals. Christine Brown had five steals.
Montrose and Carbondale, which won Division II a year ago, both had unbeaten league records last season. Carbondale could present Montrose's toughest competition in the division.
Parvin is in her fourth year started for the defending champs. Lass and Brown are also returning starters. Parvin, Brown and the two Elys were starters on Montrose's soccer team, which won a District 2 title in 2004 and went into a shootout in the division championship game before falling in 2005.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Two county girls' basketball coaches experienced different types of milestones last week.
Forest City's Carl Urbas posted his 400th career win in a 59-30 victory over Old Forge.
Kristen Grausgruber earned her first win as Susquehanna coach when Hannah Price and Sarah Biegert scored 10 points each in a 50-23 win over Mid Valley.
In high school football, Southern Columbia was the only eastern team to capture a state championship.
The Tigers won their fourth straight Class A title with a 50-19 romp over Duquesne. The four straight state titles matches Berwick's record streak from 1994-97 in Class AAA.
Southern Columbia has played in 11 of the last 12 state finals, starting with a 40-20 semifinal victory over Susquehanna in 1994. The Tigers have won five championships, one short of Berwick's record.
The other three champions -- McKeesport in Class AAAA, Franklin Regional in AAA and South Park in AA -- came from the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League in suburban Pittsburgh.
In professional hockey, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins had their record-setting streak ended. The Penguins opened the season by earning a point in the standings in 23 straight games before suffering their first regulation loss, 3-1, Friday against Manitoba.
The Penguins immediately got revenge in an awe-inspiring, 7-1 win over the Moose in Saturday's rematch.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opened a 6-0 lead in the first 25:02 with the help of two goals by Rico Fata. The Penguins outshot the Moose, 23-0, in a stretch of more than 28 minutes of the first and second periods.
Kevin Lee, a 6-foot-4 freshman guard/forward from Susquehanna, is on the basketball team at DeSales University in Allentown.
Lee played 11 minutes in three games during a 4-3 start by DeSales. He hit one of four shots, making a 3-pointer. He also grabbed two rebounds and had one assist.
Last season, Lee was the Lackawanna League Division III Player of the Year while leading the Sabers to the division's first-half title.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Lackawanna League divisional basketball play begins with girls' games Friday and boys' games Saturday.
Defending girls' champion Montrose opens at home Friday against Elk Lake then plays Monday at Mountain View. Blue Ridge is at Forest City and Mountain View is at Susquehanna in other openers.
Boys' favorite Mountain View hosts defending champion Montrose Saturday night. Susquehanna, which lost a playoff to Montrose for the all-season title, is at Blue Ridge in another opener.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Will There Be Turmoil At Penske Racing?
Loss of a full team, a young brash driver replacing a favorite veteran, and a new crew chief are just a few of the challenges facing Penske Racing president, Roger Penske.
Travis Kvapil, who was scheduled to drive the No. 77 Kodak Dodge for Penske Racing in 2006, has been given his release from the team, because Kodak, the primary sponsor is asking for a year off.
"We have asked Penske to take a year off, come back to us with a plan to field a Nextel Cup program that is more competitive in 2007," said David Kassnoff, manager of communications and public relations for Kodak.
"Penske has three teams, two of which made the Chase for the Championship this season. So, you know the ingredients are there to be successful.
"We would like to see a similar competitive level from the No. 77."
It was reported that financial reasons were the determining factor of Kodak's decision to abandon its primary sponsorship of the No. 77 in 2006.
Kassnoff says that is not the case.
"We have been a sponsor in NASCAR for nearly 20 years. We continue to like the sport and think our participation is good for us. We like being there," he said.
"Every year we evaluate our sponsorships to see how they work with our marketing objectives. There is simply less exposure for a team when it is finishing the season 33rd out of 43 cars (in points)."
Several team members of the No. 77 have been reassigned to other jobs at Penske, while Kvapil and crew chief Shane Wilson have been told they are free to explore other opportunities.
Kvapil, a rookie in 2005, had completed one year of a two-year contract with Penske. He ended the year 33rd in points, with two top-10 finishes and a career-best finish of seventh at Bristol, Tenn.
Penske will continue to operate the Nos. 2 and 12 Dodge Cup teams with drivers Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman, respectively. However, it remains to be seen how well these two drivers will react to each other.
Newman is the no nonsense driver of the No. 12, with 35 poles to his credit.
Busch, the 2004 Cup champion is replacing Rusty Wallace in the No. 2, and everyone is well aware of the problems Busch had on and off the track this past season.
According to Wallace, the No. 12 team was created to compliment and help the No. 2 team run better. But that didn’t happen. After the second season, Wallace said, “The 12 car and its team are at a different track than we are.”
He and Newman simply didn’t see eye-to-eye. While Wallace wanted help from Newman, it never seemed to work out that way.
Newman, who has an engineering degree, ran different car setups, and had a different style of racing. Once he bumped Wallace late in a race costing the veteran a second-place finish.
Busch must find his place at Penske, as well as adjust to a new crew chief and team. For most drivers, this wouldn’t be too hard, but for the 2004 Cup champion, who tends to act sometimes like the rules that apply to everyone else aren’t meant for him, this might be a tough task.
Tough not only for himself, but for his teammates and owner, Penske, as well.
Roy McCauley, who served as crew chief for the Busch car in 2005 and won six races with Newman as the driver is expected to move to Cup and serve as crew chief for Busch.
McCauley will replace Larry Carter, who spent the past two seasons with Rusty Wallace, who retired.
Busch, Newman and newcomer Billy Wease will split time in the Penske Busch car, which will run 25 races in 2006.
Good luck, Roger!
NEW NASCAR TV DEAL LESS THAN EXPECTED
NASCAR announced the completion of comprehensive broadcast agreements that it says will benefit the fans and industry for years to come. Under the new eight year agreements NASCAR races will be broadcast on a combination of networks that includes FOX, SPEED, Turner’s TNT and ABC/ESPN beginning in 2007.
However, the deal was not viewed by Wall Street analysts as a blockbuster for the speedways. The analysts expected a higher price tag than the eight-year, $4.48 million deal, and advised their investors to begin selling off shares of International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports Inc. stock.
ISC’s principal owners are the France family, which controls NASCAR, while Bruton Smith controls SMI, which owns six tracks.
Since all speedways share in a portion of the television revenue, this means they will receive less income from the new television package.
Beginning in 2007, each NASCAR season will be launched on FOX with the telecast of the Daytona 500. FOX will also carry NASCAR “Speedweeks” events including the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona Pole Qualifying. FOX will also broadcast the 12 Nextel Cup races following the Daytona 500.
TNT will broadcast six consecutive Nextel Cup Series races (races 14 through 19).
The final 17 Cup Series points races will be broadcast on ABC or ESPN. The final 10 races, the Chase for the Nextel Cup, will be broadcast on ABC. The Busch Series will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN or ESPN 2, with no less than four events on ABC.
Nextel Cup Series qualifying practice and “happy hours” will be broadcast on a combination of SPEED Channel, ESPN and ESPN2.
SPEED will broadcast the Gatorade Duels held each year during “Speedweeks” to determine part of the Daytona 500 starting order.
SPEED will also broadcast the Nextel Cup Series All-Star Challenge and its companion all-star event, the Nextel Cup Series Pit Crew Challenge.
There will be more channel-changing, but fans can expect additional NASCAR-themed programs from all five of the networks.
Racing Trivia Question: Which former NASCAR Winston Cup champion drove for Richard Childress?
Last Week’s Question: Who was the 1960 NASCAR Grand National Champion? Answer. Rex White.
You may read additional stories by the Racing Reporter at www.race500.com. His e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mountain View was locked in a scoreless tie at halftime of its District 2 Class A soccer championship game against Wilkes-Barre Meyers.
BR Jr. High Has Winning CC Season
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