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Hazleton – Mountain View stormed out to a fast start, but it was York Catholic that put together the big finish March 14 in the second round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AA boys' basketball tournament.
The Fighting Irish scored 12 of the game's final 14 points to eliminate the Eagles, 66-60.
Mountain View jumped out to leads of 11-2, 13-3 and 18-5 in the opening minutes.
"They woke up and started playing," Mountain View coach Patrick Heaton said. "I don't think they took us seriously until they saw us play."
York Catholic got right back in the game with a 12-2 run of its own, extending into the second quarter. Mountain View, however, held the lead most of the way.
Just as the Fighting Irish were moving into the lead in the game's final three minutes, the Eagles turned the ball over on three straight possessions.
Patrick Lambert taped in his own rebound with 2:50 remaining to give Mountain View a 58-54 lead.
"Our kids played tremendously hard," Heaton said. "That's a great program we were playing against.
"I thought we had it with a four-point lead coming down the stretch."
Jon Showers, who spent most of the game setting up his teammates for lay-ups, ended an 0-for-5 stretch on 3-pointers by hitting from the left corner to cut the lead to one with 2:35 left. Showers finished with 15 points and eight assists.
Chris Reagan, whose defense made things tough on Mountain View all-time scoring leader Robbie Johnson throughout the game, came up with a steal that set up a breakaway lay-up by Showers to put York Catholic ahead to stay with 2:10 left.
Cory Stiles worked into the lane for a basket and 61-58 lead with 1:50 left.
The Eagles were then forced to foul.
Jacob Iati, who scored a game-high 28 points, hit four free throws to finish 11-for-11 from the line. His first two came with 1:28 left and Showers hit one of three free throws to put the lead at six before Johnson's spinning 12-footer produced the last points of Mountain View's season with 15 seconds left.
Iati added his last two free throws to produce the final margin.
Reagan added 11 points for the District 3 champion Fighting Irish (25-6).
"They were very patient," Heaton said. "They worked the ball. They made good back-door cuts for lay-ups.
"They're a great team. You don't win a district title in District 3 if you're not."
Nick Stoud went 8-for-12 from the floor, including 5-for-8 on 3-pointers, to lead Mountain View with 25 points.
Stoud did all the scoring in a 7-2 start in the first 2:05. He hit from deep in the right corner, went over a player a foot taller for a rebound and two free throws, then hit a 12-foot fallaway in transition.
Johnson had 10 of his 15 points in the second half. He took the ball the length of the floor twice during a 6-2 run to start the fourth quarter and put Mountain View back in front. He also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots.
Joe Scanlon added eight points while Chad Lasher had eight rebounds and three steals.
Lambert came off the bench to grab seven rebounds, helping Mountain View to a 33-23 advantage on the boards.
The loss ends an impressive run by the senior class, which helped Mountain View make a steady climb from just four wins in the 2002-2003 season.
"They changed the face of Mountain View basketball for a long time," Heaton said. "They got two league titles, two District 2 runner-up finishes and 80 wins."
WEEK IN REVIEW
Center fielder Rich Thompson, a Montrose graduate, is making a strong impression as a non-roster invitee to Arizona Diamondbacks camp.
Thompson made key plays in both halves of the 10th inning March 12 to help Arizona down Colorado, 6-5.
Manager Bob Melvin praised Thompson for his sacrifice bunt off hard-throwing reliever Denny Bautista to set up the go-ahead run.
Thompson then threw out Clint Barmes at the plate, trying to score from second on a single to center.
"He certainly grows on you," Melvin told the Arizona Republic. "You love his competitive spirit."
Thompson is known around Diamondbacks camp as "Killer," a nickname he picked up from coach Kirk Gibson after a home-plate collision early in the spring.
Thompson was 3-for-8 (.375) with three RBI, two walks and a stolen base in his first eight games.
Mindy Minnick has been one of the top players at Marywood University just weeks into her college softball career.
The freshman third baseman from Elk Lake was the only player to score twice during Marywood's 1-3 start. Minnick also shared the team lead in hits (three), while batting .231 with a double and a walk.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The winter high school sports season officially comes to an end with the PIAA basketball championships Friday and Saturday. The championships have been moved to the Jordan Center at Penn State for the first time.
The first legal playing date for track, boys' volleyball, baseball, softball and spring girls' soccer is also set for Friday. Tennis teams were already allowed to open Monday.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
The Racing Reporter
Two In A Row For Johnson, Hampton, GA – “We’re thinking championship already,” said Jimmie Johnson, after he ran down, passed, and then closed the door on Tony Stewart to win Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“We just had a great race car,” said Johnson. “We just did the right things we needed to make the car good on the short runs. The car was really as good as it seemed. There was times we weren’t as strong as we needed to be and some of the other guys had us by a little bit, but at the end we were O.K.”
Jimmie Johnson celebrates his Sunday win at Atlanta.
Johnson, who led the most laps of the 325-lap race, was running second behind Stewart when a caution came out on lap 309 for debris.
There had been concern in Johnson’s pit that he might not have enough fuel to finish the race, but the caution erased that problem. Crew chief Chad Knaus called for four fresh tires and a splash of fuel.
On the restart with 11 laps remaining, Johnson was third behind the leaders, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth.
Within two laps, Johnson had gotten by Kenseth and from there to the finish line, fans stood and watched a two-car shootout between the two home improvement teams.
Slowly Johnson reeled in Stewart’s No. 20, and as the two cars entered turn-1 with three-to-go, Johnson went low, while Stewart maintained the outside line. Coming out of turn-2, Johnson had gotten the rear bumper of his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet ahead of the nose of Stewart’s No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet.
Johnson slid up the track, cutting off Stewart’s momentum and forcing him to barely touch the outside wall.
Stewart was not able to close on Johnson, who won his second consecutive race since winning last Sunday at Vegas.
“He was faster than us there at the end,” said Stewart. “That was just racing. I’m happy. Obviously we would have rather won, but we gained a lot of points.”
Stewart moved up from 13th to sixth in points.
Meanwhile Mark Martin’s streak of 621 consecutive races has come to an end. He is sticking with his original plan to only run a partial Cup schedule, and will not race next weekend at Bristol.
“I want to thank all the fans that supported me and I’m looking forward to next weekend off,” he said.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Jimmie Johnson, 2. Tony Stewart, 3. Matt Kenseth, 4. Jeff Burton, 5. Juan Montoya, 6. Clint Bowyer, 7. Carl Edwards, 8. Martin Truex, 9. Reed Sorenson, 10. Mark Martin.
Top-10 points leaders: 1. Martin-629, 2. J. Gordon-621, 3. J. Burton-618, 4. Johnson-601, 5. Kenseth-567, 6. Stewart-507, 7. Harvick-482, 8. Hamlin-480, 9. Bowyer-479, 10. Edwards-471.
The COT Is Here Today – The Car of Tomorrow is now the Car of Today. It will debut this weekend at Bristol.
“The Car of Tomorrow will alter the competitive landscape of NASCAR in a very positive way,” NASCAR president Mike Helton said. “We believe the drivers will be safer than ever; we believe the racing will be better than ever; and we believe the Car of Tomorrow will help control costs over the long haul.”
The culmination of a seven-year project undertaken at NASCAR's Research and Development Center had three primary objectives: driver safety; improved performance and competition; and more efficient cost-management for the teams.
With its boxy design, front-end splitter and new-fangled rear wing, it’s getting closer to being the Car of Today. Many fans are reluctant to accept it, because it represents a new design that is far, far from looking anything like a real stock car.
But accept it we must, because NASCAR would like to use it for all the 2008 season.
“I think all in all, from a driver's perspective, once you get in the car, it's just a car,” said Jeff Burton. “It's a matter of getting the car to do the things you want it to do.
“In my world, it's no longer about the Car of Tomorrow, it's just about a car, trying to do it better than everybody else. ... the Car of Tomorrow is here today. We've been working hard on it.”
While most teams had expressed a positive attitude regarding the COT, Tony Stewart doesn’t approve of it. He even called it “prehistoric.”
“I wish we could crash all of them to where we don’t have to run them,” he said.
The car may help Toyota this weekend at Bristol. For the first four races of the season Toyota teams have struggled to make the starting lineup. Last week at Atlanta, only two teams were able to qualify their way in.
With this being the first COT race, it’s all about who has the best development program.
“It’s just a learning process,” said Andy Graves, Senior Manager for TRD (Toyota Racing Development) “All the teams and the manufacturers have been working with NASCAR real close and trying to learn the process and trying to get the body built as tight as they want to see them and the chassis.
“It’s a learning process and it’s something that we’ve never been through before with such tight tolerances on the chassis side. It’s going to take a little bit of getting used to, but just like anything else, once you learn the process and understand what NASCAR wants then we’ll get it sorted out.”
And we should be able to tell at Bristol which teams have done the better sorting out.
Meanwhile Sunoco is still upset about Shell Oil moving into Nextel Cup (in which Sunoco is paying NASCAR for fuel sponsorship rights). Sunoco is considering legal action against Shell to force it to take down over 15,000 Kevin Harvick banners at its Shell stations across the country. Pennzoil and Shell are the major sponsors of the No. 29 Richard Childress Chevrolet.
The COT will be used in races at 11 tracks this season; Bristol, VA, Martinsville, VA, Phoenix, AZ, Darlington, SC, Dover, DE, Richmond, VA, Sonoma, CA, Loudon, NH, Watkins Glen, NY, Talladega, AL and Ft. Worth, TX.
Top-10 Busch Series leaders: 1. Edwards-810, 2. Harvick-666, 3. Blaney-641, 4. Kyle Busch-587, 5. Hamlin-582, 6. Stewart-581, 7. Ambrose-563, 8. M. Wallace-547, 9. J. Burton-531, 10. Montoya-529.
Top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders: 1. Skinner-550, 2. T. Bodine-481, 3. Hornaday-451, 4. Sprague-449, 5. Musgrave-440, 6. Crafton-437, 7. Crawford-437, 8. Benson-409, 9. Kvapil-408, 10. Setzer-358.
The Busch and Cup teams are at the .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway, while the Trucks do not race again until March 31.
Saturday, March 24, Busch Series Sharpie Mini 300, race 6 of 35, 300 laps. 3 p.m. TV: ABC.
Sunday, March 25, Nextel Cup Food City 500, race 5 of 36, 500 laps, 1:30 p.m. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: Jeff Gordon has 58 career poles. Who holds the all-time Cup Pole Record?
Last Week’s Question: Jeremy Mayfield left Ray Evernham Motorsports prior to the end of the 2006 racing season. Who is he driving for this year? Answer: He is driving a Bill Davis Toyota.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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