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Early-season struggles have made it clear that the Mountain View Eagles will need some time to approach the level of last season's 25-4 team that won a Lackawanna League Division III title and reached the District 2 Class AA championship game.
"We have some young guys that have to step it up," Mountain View coach Pat Heaton said, "but, we'll be fine.
"We're not as seasoned as last year."
The Eagles replace their starting frontcourt, but a deep rotation last season means they return nine letter winners, eight of which are seniors. Once Heaton sorts out which combinations work best, the Eagles should again be the favorite in Division III.
The return of four-year starter Robbie Johnson, the Lackawanna League's top all-around player, is one of the reasons Mountain View should be tough to stop.
Another guard, Nick Stoud, is the other returning starter.
Chad Lasher, John Madas, John Corbin, Pat Lambert, Ken Jesse, Ben Capron and Joe Scanlon all lettered on the championship team.
Forest City returns many of its top players, including 6-foot-7 sophomore center Jesse Walsh.
The other four Susquehanna County boys' basketball teams all had losing records last season, but the return of Brett Keyes and other experienced players could lead to improvement for Susquehanna.
WEEK IN REVIEW
A pair of county basketball players surpassed the 1,000-point mark for their careers.
Blue Ridge's Jocelyn Dearborn reached the mark while scoring 24 points Thursday in a 63-33 girls' basketball victory over Wyalusing.
Dearborn came into the game needing just one point for the milestone and she got it out of the way on Blue Ridge's second possession and her first shot when she nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
"I felt a lot of relief," Dearborn said. "Now I feel like I can just play for the team and focus on winning."
Dearborn hopes the Lady Raiders will do a lot of that in her final season with the sport. Although she was a part-time starter as a freshman in basketball, it is softball that is Dearborn's future. She will attend Fordham University on a Division I softball scholarship.
"Judging by the way we've started and how dedicated everyone is, I think we might have our best team since when I was a freshman," Dearborn said.
The Lady Raiders, who opened the season by winning the Tony Aliano Memorial Tournament at Susquehanna, are 3-1.
Mountain View's Johnson reached the milestone by scoring 22 Friday night in a 52-49 boys' basketball loss to Batavia, N.Y. at Marywood University. The loss dropped the Eagles to 1-3 on the season.
Montrose is also off to a tough start against a difficult schedule as it prepares to try to defend its girls' divisional title.
The Lady Meteors handled Western Wayne, 63-30, in the opener as Brittany Ely scored 13 points, made nine steals, dished out five assists and blocked three shots.
Monica Turner and Christine Brown, who had five steals, added 10 points each. Ashley Bush had eight points while Jessica Franklin had seven points and 10 rebounds.
Montrose then fell to the top two teams from Division I of the Lackawanna League a year ago.
The Lady Meteors lost, 45-36, to Scranton Prep and, 63-35, to Abington Heights.
Brown had 11 points in the loss to Scranton Prep.
Caitlin Ely had 15 points against Abington Heights, which was led by 33 points from South Carolina recruit Becky Burke.
Susquehanna became the first county boys' team to win a tournament this season when the Sabers defeated Stamford, 46-30, in the final of the Deposit Tipoff Tournament.
Keyes was named tournament MVP after scoring 13 in the championship game. Cody Scepaniak led the Sabers in the final with 16 points and Kirk Fallon added 10.
In high school wrestling, Susquehanna and Elk Lake each posted wins over Scranton Prep in meetings between the teams that have battled for the Lackawanna League Division II title the last two seasons.
Susquehanna won, 45-36, on Julian Andujar's decision at 171 pounds in the final bout. Tim Gall (189), Josh Jenkins (215), Mike Arneil (103) and Stephen Andujar (130) had pins for the Sabers.
Defending champion Elk Lake won, 52-24, with the help of pins by Keaton Bennett (103), John Brooks (135), Brent Salsman (152), Derek Noldy (171) and Jake Eastman (189).
Both wins came in non-league matches because Scranton Prep has moved to Division I this season.
In professional hockey, the Binghamton Senators climbed out of last place in the American Hockey League East Division by beating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 5-2, Saturday and the Toronto Marlies, 4-2, Sunday.
Jeff Heerema scored two first-period goals and added a late assist against Bridgeport.
Andrew Ebbett had two goals and an assist in the last 28 minutes to help wipe out a 2-0 deficit in Toronto.
Amanda Lass has made an immediate impact on the Marywood University women's basketball team.
The 6-foot-1 freshman from Montrose has been a starter from her first game and leads the team in rebounds, blocked shots and free throws.
Lass is also Marywood's second-leading scorer with 9.8 points per game. She is second on the team in assists and tied for second in minutes played.
In Marywood's 2-5 start, Lass was 22-for-64 (34.4 percent) from the floor, 3-for-4 on 3-pointers (75.0 percent) and 22-for-36 (61.1 percent) on free throws. She had 49 rebounds, 15 assists, 11 blocked shots and five steals.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Lackawanna League basketball season opens for most girls' teams Wednesday and most boys' teams Thursday.
Montrose and Mountain View were scheduled to open the season ahead of the rest of the girls' teams Monday.
In Wednesday's girls' openers, Lackawanna Trail is at Blue Ridge, Susquehanna is at Carbondale and Forest City is at Elk Lake in Division III games.
Thursday's Division III boys' openers are Mountain View at Montrose, Blue Ridge at Lackawanna Trail, Carbondale at Susquehanna and Elk Lake at Forest City.
In high school wrestling, Blue Ridge and Elk Lake are among the 37 teams that will participate in the Keystone Games Invitational Wrestling Tournament Saturday and Sunday at Penn State University's Recreation Hall.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports report for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
The Racing Reporter
The Godfather Of Stock Car Racing – In every sport, there are those who excel and become synonymous with their given profession.
If one were to list the all-time greats in stock car racing, 91 year-old Raymond Parks of Atlanta, GA, though originally from the hills of north Georgia would be at the top.
In 2001, Raymond Parks stands beside one of his Fords that was driven by Lloyd Seay.
Bill France is often referred to as the founder of NASCAR, but that is a myth. A mechanic named Red Vogt, who worked for Parks in Atlanta, is the one that suggested the name, according to his son, Tom Vogt.
In a 2000 interview, Parks said France often called on him for advice and money in the 1940s and early ‘50s.
Stock car racing didn’t have its origins with NASCAR. It is a southern sport that came into being during the Great Depression. Folks who lived in rural areas couldn’t travel into the cities for a baseball game or movie, simply because there weren’t enough large towns.
The roads were rough, transportation was limited, and since smaller towns rarely had a theater, families were forced to visit, or sit around home.
For those people who were lucky enough to live near an enterprising farmer who would turn a cow pasture or empty field into a race track, then they had something extra and exciting to watch on Sunday.
“Had I stayed in north Georgia, I would surely have wound up like some others, including kinfolks, as a drunk, or in prison,” said Parks.
Parks’ first brush with the law occurred near Dawsonville, GA. He was stopped by the local sheriff and spent three months in jail for hauling corn liquor in his family’s 1926 Model T Ford, when he was just fourteen years old.
After being released, Parks left home and worked hard in the whiskey-making business in the hills between Dawsonville and Atlanta, and saved his money.
Two years later, at the request of an uncle, he moved to Atlanta, to help run Hemphill Service Station. But it wasn’t just the idea of an honest job that appealed to Parks. His uncle also ran a part-time bootlegging business.
While NASCAR and the France family have attempted to distance themselves from those early moonshiners and rowdy race car drivers, they forget who started it all.
Within a couple years after arriving in Atlanta, Parks had made enough money through running and selling illicit alcohol and the numbers racket to buy out his uncle.
Even though he was never caught in the act of moonshining or racketeering, the Atlanta police arrested several of his carriers and runners. Parks along with one of his workers, “Bad Eye” Shirley, pleaded guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence.
The pair spent a year in the same federal penitentiary in Chillicothe, Ohio, that Junior Johnson would later wind up in. Parks and “Bad Eye” were released in 1937.
Parks’ racing career began in 1939 after being encouraged by two of his cousins, Lloyd Seay and Roy Hall, who often hauled moonshine. Both were also anxious to test their driving skills in the races that were springing up around Atlanta and north Georgia.
Drivers who were in the business of delivering illegal whiskey didn’t know they were also “in training.”
Desiring to help Seay and Hall, Parks went looking for the best mechanics he could find. He finally located two men that many considered the best in the business. They were Red Vogt and Buckshot Morris.
Vogt’s garage on Hemphill Ave. in Atlanta was soon to become the headquarters for drivers needing that extra edge in their racing machines.
“Racing was a lot different back then,” continued Parks. “It was really just getting started. I guess Lakewood (near Atlanta) was the first real track that we raced on. There were dozens of other tracks that would spring up in pastures or on farms, with just some fence wire separating the fans from the racing.
“Sunday afternoon was a time that most people relaxed. It was normal for those who had fast Fords, or other type moonshine cars to want to get together. They might decide to go out on a highway outside of town and see who had the fastest car.
“Other times, they would find some farmer that would let them go out in his pasture. Maybe it was one or two cars, but usually it was several. And when the cars revved up, the local people would always be there.”
Parks won his first race in 1938 at Lakewood (GA), with Lloyd Seay as his driver in a 1934 Ford.
Seay and Hall each won their share of racing, but Seay died on Sept. 2, 1941, after being shot in the stomach, apparently after an argument over a moonshine deal.
World War II shut down Parks’ operations and after serving in Europe with the 99th Infantry Division, he was discharged in 1946 and returned to racing.
Because of his successful business, Parks Novelty Co., which included slot machines, jukeboxes, pool tables, and cigarette vending machines, Parks was able to fund his racing ventures better than anyone else at the time.
“Red (Vogt) was one of the best racing mechanics I’ve ever known,” said Parks. “He did all the work and whenever he thought we needed anything, the money was there.”
His other drivers included Red Byron, NASCAR’s 1949 champion, Bob Flock, Frank Mundy, and Curtis Turner.
Roy Hall won a June 30, 1946, stock car race at Daytona. Bill France, who was driving at the time, said, “Give that boy some tools and he could make a covered wagon do sixty.”
At the end of the 1951 season Parks called it quits.
“It was money, that’s what it was,” said Parks. “I loved racing, but I had to make a living. My business was doing well, but I was splitting the purses with the drivers and paying all the expenses, including parts, and my money was coming up shorter each week.”
As long as drivers race for a NASCAR championship, Parks will be remembered as the man whose cars won the first title.
During a1994 interview, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. called Parks “the sport’s unsung hero.”
Parks was always a “gentleman” car owner. He owned some of the best cars built just before and right after World War II, and the impact he had on forming NASCAR was great.
Raymond Parks still goes to work every day, even though he doesn’t need to. Most of his legitimate businesses have been sold, except the one liquor store. Stacked throughout the offices are trophies, banners, and plaques of races his cars won.
Laying on desks and table are albums filled with photographs and other memorabilia.
“At the time, I didn’t know what I was getting into,” said Parks. “I might have had a vision, but I certainly never saw where NASCAR was going. It surpassed anything I imagined. I’m just glad to have been in it at the beginning.
“If there’s one thing I regret, it’s the way NASCAR has tried to distance itself from those early drivers. Some of them were as rough as the liquor they hauled, but I always respected them.”
If it hadn’t been for Raymond Parks and a few others, NASCAR would not have survived those first few years.
He helped many other notable racers and deserves to be called, “Godfather of Stock Car Racing.”
Racing Trivia Question: Who was the 2006 Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year?
Last Week’s Question: How many Busch Series championships has Martin Truex, Jr. won? Truex won the Busch Series championship in 2004 and ’05.
You may e-mail the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Scanlon's high school athletic career is far from over.
The Mountain View senior is a starter on a defending champion basketball team and is a returning co-Player of the Year of the league in volleyball.
Scanlon, however, made sure the soccer portion of his high school career ended on a high note.
The leading scorer in Division I of the Lackawanna League helped the Eagles add a District 2 championship and state Class A semifinal appearance to their division title. For his part in Mountain View's championships, Scanlon has been named as the November Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month for the second straight year.
Scanlon showed amazing consistency as a scorer. He moved back to the midfield this season after a year as a striker and still managed to increase his scoring.
While leading the division in scoring for the second straight season, Scanlon scored in all but one division game. He finished with 23 goals and 10 assists, helping to set up teammate Nick Stoud (16 goals, 10 assists) to finish second in the division in scoring.
"Last year, I was more depended on to score the goals," said Scanlon, who averaged more than a goal per game but had just three assists as a junior. "This year, being back at midfield, I had a lot more assists.
"I always liked midfield. I like being a playmaker."
With Scanlon leading the way, the Eagles had the most successful season in team history with a school-record 19 wins, their first Lackawanna Division I title and their first appearance among the state's final four teams.
Scanlon visited College Misericordia last week and said he would like to continue playing college in soccer. At this point, Misericordia and West Chester University are the most likely places for him to do that.
Scanlon is the son of Tim and Kim Kinney of Harford.
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