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Local Sports Scene

Depth, Coach's Patience Carry Eagles To Title
By Tom Robinson

Mountain View boys' basketball coach Patrick Heaton was proud that his team did not panic with the Lackawanna League Division III first-half boys' basketball championship on the line January 16.

Perhaps the Eagles were just following their coach's lead.

Mountain View put the coach's patience and the team's depth on display while overwhelming Lackawanna Trail, 69-44, in a meeting of teams that took perfect league records into the final game of the half.

Down, 7-2, early, the Eagles had reigning division Player of the Year Robbie Johnson on the bench with two fouls.

Heaton kept Johnson out of the lineup and let the rest of the Eagles show what they can do.

"The guys did a great job," Heaton said. "They didn't panic."

Heaton said he was not afraid to keep Johnson on the bench to avoid even more serious foul trouble.

"The other guys we put on the floor are quite talented in themselves," Heaton said. "We don't rely on one person, not even two people."

While Johnson sat, the Eagles ran off 10 straight points to take the lead.

After playing sparingly in the first half, Johnson took over in the second half while the Eagles continued to pull away en route to their 11th straight win since a 1-3 start.

Johnson finished with 20 points, including 16 in the second half.

"In the second half, he really stepped up," Heaton said. "They had to go man-to-man and there are not many people who can handle Robbie one-on-one."

Chad Lasher added 12 points and 15 rebounds while Joe Scanlon had 10 points for Mountain View.

The Eagles also won the first-half title last season, but needed a playoff to take the all-season title after Lackawanna Trail took the second half.

Heaton said he would like to see his team avoid any playoffs between the end of the regular season and the start of play in what will be a loaded District 2 Class AA bracket.

"We are going to try to take care of it," Heaton said. "We want those extra few days off at the end of the season.

"We have to match the intensity of our opponents. We know the other guys are coming after us in the second half of the season."

Mountain View finished the first half 8-0 in boys' basketball, followed by Lackawanna Trail at 7-1, Carbondale at 5-3, Elk Lake, Montrose and Forest City at 4-4, Blue Ridge and Susquehanna at 2-6 and St. Rose at 0-8.


Caitlin Ely scored 11 points while Julia Koloski added 10 as Montrose closed the first half of girls' basketball play with a 63-11 rout of St. Rose.

Brittany Ely had five assists and Autumn Ely had five steals for the Lady Meteors, who opened a 53-7 lead after three quarters.

The win allowed Montrose to finish the half at 7-1, one game behind Carbondale, which clinched with a 44-31 victory over Forest City.

Forest City's 6-2 record was followed by Blue Ridge at 4-4, Susquehanna, Mountain View and Elk Lake at 3-5, Lackawanna Trail at 2-6 and St. Rose at 0-8.

In high school wrestling, Blue Ridge edged Montrose, 39-36, in a Lackawanna League Division 2 match with the help of pins by Damian Allard (125), Nick Decker (130), Alex Stanton (145) and Tim Esposito (103).

Elk Lake and Susquehanna remained undefeated in the division, but Montrose beat Susquehanna in the Lackawanna Trail Duals on the way to a 12th-place finish in the 16-team event.


Matt Hornak has continued his strong play after being named College Misericordia's Male Athlete of the Month for December.

Hornak had 16 points and four rebounds Thursday in an 83-64 victory over Wesley.

The 6-foot-5 senior forward from Montrose is the second-leading scorer for Misericordia, which is 4-4 in the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference and 6-9 overall. Hornak is one of the team's top shooters, going 84-for-160 (52.5 percent) from the floor, 22-for-54 (40.7 percent) on 3-pointers and 17-for-20 (85.0 percent) from the line while averaging 14.3 points.

Hornak also leads the team with 7.1 rebounds per game.

Hornak was the team's leading scorer and rebounder during December and had a career-high 28 points against King's while making the all-tournament team at the Ramada Inn/Monarch Classic.

Tony Rezykowski, a 6-foot-2 senior from Elk Lake, is also a starter at Misericordia.

Rezykowski averages 7.1 points and 3.6 rebounds while ranking second on the team with 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game.


The Lackawanna League wrestling schedule closes Saturday and, depending on the result of a Tuesday night match, the title could be on the line at one of two spots.

After Elk Lake wrestles at Susquehanna Tuesday, the winner likely will be in title contention. Elk Lake will be at Western Wayne and Blue Ridge will be at Susquehanna Saturday night.

In professional hockey, the American Hockey League All-Star Classic will feature four representatives from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Head coach Todd Richards and assistant Dan Bylsma will guide the Planet/USA team that takes on Canada Monday in Toronto.

Defenseman Noah Welch will start for Planet/USA for the second straight year.

Penguins forward Jonathan Filewich is on the Canada roster.

Josh Hennessy of the Binghamton Senators is a starter for Planet/USA.

The all-star festivities begin with a skills competition Sunday night.

TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at

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By Gerald Hodges

The Racing Reporter

NASCAR Will Determine COT Speeds, Daytona Beach, FL – There were 60 Nextel Cup teams that participated in two sessions of testing at Daytona International Speedway and had the option of testing a Car of Tomorrow, but only those of Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch took advantage of the opportunity.

Crew Chief Roy McCauley and driver Kurt Busch.

After Busch’s test, NASCAR reconfirmed that a gear rule would be in effect – in addition to a restrictor plate – when the COT races at NASCAR's biggest tracks.

Busch's lap of 191.188 mph in the COT was run using a 1 1/8th-inch restrictor plate, not the 7/8th-inch plate used by the standard cars – rendering it worse than an apples-to-oranges comparison.

“It's just a matter of us wanting to get ahead of the game and set the curve and raise the bar for people thinking they've got their COT scienced-out,” Busch said. “In the end this Car of Tomorrow is going to be a good thing.

“I can't say that right now it's approved by everybody's standards, but for us and myself the interjection of safety is obviously the key thing.”

An actual COT has yet to be significantly crashed, at a team's test or by NASCAR, though significant computer modeling of crashes has been done.

At this point, performance is still the hot-point for NASCAR and the teams.

“I think it's obvious, with restrictor plates, that we can make them run any speed we want to,” Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said. “We can make them run 192 mph, or we can bring them back into the mid-180s.

“Although we got a good baseline at Talladega [last fall] with rear-axle ratios or gear rules and plate size for what seemed to be a nice combination, the first mission for [Wednesday] was to find that same sweet spot, if you will.”

The Car of Tomorrow, which will debut March 25 at Bristol Motor Speedway, is NASCAR’s next-generation race car. The result of a five-year project, it features improved driver-safety features, better performance and is more cost-efficient for teams.

“We played with wing angles and the different combinations with the plate with fuel and air mixtures,” Busch said. “I thought the car could handle any speed it wanted to go.”

But that doesn’t mean Busch and his team were satisfied with test results.

“You really feel like you’re cutting some new ground,” said Roy McCauley, Busch’s crew chief. “We’re far from learning everything we need to know, but we definitely learned some things to get started.”

“The speeds are very comfortable right now,” Darby said. “Even as the teams come back and finish rubbing, polishing, and tweaking and getting the last few ‘tenths’ out of every lap, we still have a little bit of cushion. So everything should line up just fine.”

TOYOTA Testing Not Good – The Toyota teams struggled at Daytona. There are eight Toyota teams prepared to make their 2007 debut in this year’s Daytona 500, but speeds by Toyota teams produced decidedly mixed results.

Dale Jarrett, one of two Toyota drivers who doesn't have to worry about qualifying for the race, because he can use a Past Champion’s Provisional, posted the seventh-fastest overall speed and drove one of two Camrys inside the top-20.

The other belonged to rookie David Reutimann, whose speed ranked 19th.

The other six Toyota drivers were scattered, from Blaney in 21st, to Jeremy Mayfield in 44th, and Michael Waltrip in 59th.

When Speedweeks get here, everyone but Jarrett and Blaney (whose car was 27th in 2006 owner points) will have to either qualify on speed or race their way in through the Gatorade 150s.

“I'd be lying if I told you it wasn't daunting. I'd be lying if I told you I was confident that those eight cars will even run the race, because only two of them are guaranteed in,” said Lee White of Toyota Racing Development.

“By no means are we at the point where we're going to be when we go back to race. It's still something that's evolving day-by-day, because it's so new. We only got the final version of the cylinder heads a month ago, and we're racing in a month. That's a massive amount of work when you consider just the number of finished cylinder heads you need to go to Daytona with eight cars.”

Although Toyotas had tested twice previously on Nextel Cup tracks alongside vehicles of other manufacturers – at Michigan and Homestead – this past week at Daytona marked the first time Camrys had rolled on the 2.5-mile oval at Daytona.

“This is just another step. Another racetrack, another step,” White said. “Is it momentous? Sure. Getting to the Daytona start line will be momentous. If we get more than a couple of them into the field, it will be momentous.

“It doesn't mean squat, frankly, because the weather is different, the track is different, and you're not even being measured against everyone. You really don't know what people are doing and what people are working on. When we get there in three weeks, we'll see how it shakes out.”

TERESA Sees Bigger Role For Dale, Jr. – In an article in USA Today, Teresa Earnhardt said she wanted a bigger role in Dale Earnhardt Inc. for her stepson Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

The relationship between Earnhardt, Jr. and Teresa Earnhardt has become a focal point because the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet is in the final year of his contract with the team owned by his stepmother.

In a December 14 story in The Wall Street Journal, Teresa Earnhardt was quoted as saying, “Right now the ball's in his court to decide on whether he wants to be a NASCAR driver, or whether he wants to be a public personality.”

Dale, Jr. took offense with her statement, and there was some speculation that it might cause a riff between the pair, but at a Daytona press conference last week, she shed light on Dale’s continued presence at DEI.

“As far as I'm concerned, I've been with Dale, Jr. and watched him grow up since he was in preschool practically,” she said. “It's kind of been a natural chain of events for me to be part of it, so I haven't really analyzed it. We're just a typical family with just normal relations.

“We’re just trying to grow the company and I think that's what Dale wants. We're moving forward and going after that first championship with Dale, Jr.”

Racing Trivia Question: Juan Pablo Montoya will be driving the No. 42 Dodge Charger in 2007. Which country is he from?

Last Week’s Question: Which Cup team will Clint Bowyer drive for in 2007? Answer. He will continue to drive the Richard Childress No. 07 Chevrolet.

You may read additional stories by the Racing Reporter at

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