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Tunnel Hill – Forest City used an “almost perfect” first half offensively to win its first girls’ basketball division championship in 16 years Saturday.
When Mountain View threatened to rally late, Cassie Erdmann scored 14 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter to finish off the Lady Eagles and lift the Lady Foresters to a 60-52 victory in a playoff for the Lackawanna League Division 3 all-season title.
“They started out in a box-and-one on Erdmann and Kierstin Collins, who hasn’t had the best time shooting in the last five games or so, got hot shooting,” Forest City coach Carl Urbas said. “We recognized open people.
“It was an almost perfect half offensively.”
Forest City matched its highest-scoring quarter of the season when it jumped out to a 21-12 lead after eight minutes. Kierstin Collins hit two 3-pointers and was 4-for-6 from the perimeter while scoring 10 of her 15 points.
“I think we just didn’t make the decision to come out and play good hard defense,” Mountain View coach Errol Mannick said.
The Lady Foresters stretched the lead to 33-21 at halftime when Katie York scored five of her 11 points and Kierstin Collins added another 3-pointer in the second quarter.
York made all three of her shots in the half to help Forest City shoot 56.5 percent (13-for-23). The Lady Foresters (14-8) made their first four shots to jump to a 10-4 lead and never trailed on the way to matching their highest-scoring game of the season.
Mountain View scored six straight points to get within, 39-34, late in the third quarter.
The Lady Eagles (16-7) got closer three times in the fourth quarter.
Erdmann had an immediate response the first two times.
Just 15 seconds after Jessica Butler fouled out on a play where Mountain View closed within four, Erdmann nailed a 3-pointer for a 45-38 lead with 6:45 to play.
“We just had to keep scoring,” Erdmann said. “We knew we just had to keep our heads up and keep shooting.”
Sara Evans hit Mountain View’s first 3-pointer in 11 tries to make it 45-42 with 5:30 left, but Amanda Collins made a pass over the trapping defense for an Erdmann lay-up 10 seconds later.
Amanda Collins scored just five points, but her hustling on defense and calm on offense helped lead the way down the stretch. She finished with seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
“We had to move her to point guard and she’s done a great job,” Urbas said. “She dives for the ball. She’s on the floor. She rebounds. She makes great passes.
“She’s strong enough to throw the ball and beat the press.”
Kelsey Whitaker’s 3-pointer with 1:33 left for Mountain View made it 55-51.
Kierstin Collins hit two free throws with 57.6 seconds left and Erdmann went 3-for-4 down the stretch.
Kayla Kazmierski kept Mountain View in the game early, scoring nine of her 20 points in the first quarter. She finished with 11 rebounds, including six offensive.
Alex Lynn came off the bench to add 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
Mountain View had won eight straight, including two in overtime and three others by four points or less, since losing to Forest City, 33-30, in the first-half championship game. Included in that streak was a 50-47 overtime victory over the Lady Foresters in the second-half league meeting at Forest City.
Forest City forced overtime in that game with a late rally sparked by a man-to-man defense. That convinced the Lady Foresters to come out with the same approach in the championship game and helped ignite the fast start.
“I think we surprised them a little bit,” said Urbas, who guided Forest City through the last five games without starter Alyssa Borick, who suffered a season-ending knee injury. “I’m hesitant without a deep bench, but the kids responded.”
WEEK IN REVIEW
As the leading scorer in the Lackawanna League, Jeff Madrak has a knack of drawing attention from opposing defenses and setting up Elk Lake teammates for open shots.
Steven Rezykowski and Sean Morahan made the most of those shots in the second half of Saturday’s doubleheader at Lackawanna Trail, supporting Madrak in Elk Lake’s 53-47 victory over Montrose for the Lackawanna League Division 3 boys’ basketball second-half title.
The win put Elk Lake in Monday’s all-season championship game against Mountain View.
Madrak had 18 points, four assists, three steals and two blocked shots to lead the way for Elk Lake (19-3).
Rezykowski, who averages 10.7 points per game, had never hit more than two 3-pointers in a game before Saturday when he made four in the first half. He finished with 15 points.
Morahan did not miss a shot in the fourth quarter when he scored all 10 of his points. He hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start a 10-point streak that broke open a one-point game early in the fourth quarter.
“The way this team has grown together, guys are able to do things a little more freely with a little more confidence,” Elk Lake coach John Warnero said. “Now, it’s harder for teams to play a diamond-and-one or a triangle-and-two against us.”
Montrose did not get closer than six points the rest of the way, partly because Morahan made four straight free throws in the final 1:18.
Rob Volk led Montrose with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Bill Stranburg added 10 points.
Stranburg moved into the starting lineup in place of Kyle Bonnice, who missed the playoff game after suffering an injury against Elk Lake in the regular-season finale.
The win was the second by the Warriors over the Meteors in three days.
Elk Lake recovered from a loss that knocked the Warriors out of a share of the division lead to move back into a tie for first at the end of the second half by beating Montrose in overtime, 58-47.
Both teams went 6-1 in the second half.
After letting a six-point lead get away in the fourth quarter Elk Lake outscored Montrose, 18-7, in overtime. The Warriors shot 12-for-14 from the line in overtime.
Madrak finished with 24 points to lead Elk Lake. Morahan added 12 points and Rezykowski had 11.
Alan Charles and Andy Burgh led Montrose with 11 points each.
Montrose crushed Forest City, 68-21, to take sole possession of the lead for one night.
Stranburg scored 17 points, Burgh added 14 and Charles had 12 for the Meteors, who opened leads of 21-4 after one quarter, 40-12 at halftime and 58-15 after three quarters.
Bobby Pacholec scored 25 of his 27 points after halftime to lead Lackawanna Trail to a 61-60 overtime win over Elk Lake.
Madrak had 23 points for the Warriors.
Montrose and Elk Lake were tied at 6-1 in the final second-half standings, followed by: Mountain View 5-2, Lackawanna Trail 4-3, Forest City 3-4, Susquehanna 3-4, Blue Ridge 1-6 and Western Wayne 0-7.
The all-season boys’ records were: Mountain View 12-2, Elk Lake 12-2, Montrose 11-3, Lackawanna Trail 7-7, Forest City 6-8, Susquehanna 4-10, Blue Ridge 4-10, and Western Wayne 0-14.
In girls’ basketball, Mountain View clinched the second-half title earlier in the week when they erased a 13-point, first-quarter deficit and rallied for a 60-56 victory over Western Wayne.
Kazmierski led Mountain View with 16 points and 21 rebounds.
Whitaker added 15 points, six rebounds and five steals while Lynn had 13 points.
Marisa Smith and Sara Evans celebrated Senior Night with 11 rebounds and seven steals respectively.
Mountain View finished the half unbeaten with a 50-41 overtime victory over Lackawanna Trail.
The Lady Eagles shot 7-for-9 from the line in overtime.
Kazmierski had 11 points and Erika Lewis 10 in the win.
Montrose avenged its first-half playoff loss to Forest City with a 47-38 victory.
Julia Koloski and Dallas Ely had 10 points each in the win.
Cassie Erdmann led Forest City with 13 points.
The Lady Meteors then topped Elk Lake, 48-44.
Dallas Ely had three 3-pointers while scoring 17 points. Katelyn Spellman added 12 points.
Keek Morahan led Elk Lake with 14 points.
Forest City closed out the half with a 60-49 win over Blue Ridge in which Erdmann scored 23 points and Katie Yale added 13.
Lauren Findley led Blue Ridge with 16 points while Kaitchen Dearborn added 15.
The final second-half girls’ standings were: Mountain View 7-0, Montrose 5-2, Elk Lake 4-3, Forest City 4-3, Lackawanna Trail 3-4, Western Wayne 3-4, Susquehanna 2-5, and Blue Ridge 0-7.
The all-season girls’ records were: Mountain View 12-2, Montrose 10-4, Forest City 9-5, Elk Lake 8-6, Lackawanna Trail 7-7, Western Wayne 6-8, Susquehanna 3-11, Blue Ridge 1-13.
Forest City won the title by going 3-0 in playoff games to make up for having just the third-best record in the division.
The balance throughout the division showed by the fact that last-place Blue Ridge got its only win during a first-half game with eventual champion Forest City. Also, Susquehanna, which finished with the second-worst record, had a win over Montrose, which had the second-best record.
In professional hockey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltender John Curry was named American Hockey League Player of the Week for the period ending February 8.
Curry won all three of his starts during the week, stopping 80 of 84 shots to run his winning streak in goal to eight games. Included in the week was a 32-save shutout in a 5-0 win over Norfolk.
Robbie Johnson led Misericordia University in scoring with 17 points during a 75-63 loss to Eastern February 7.
Johnson has been the team’s high scorer three times, while leading the Cougars in assists (59) and steals (34) on the season.
The 6-foot sophomore guard from Mountain View has started all 21 games, playing a team-high 33.6 minutes per game. He is third on the team in scoring with 11.7 points per game and second in field goal shooting at 48.6 percent.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The District 2 basketball tournaments open this week.
The Blue Ridge girls will be the first in action.
The Lady Raiders will host Lakeland Thursday in a play-in game in the Class AA bracket to try to get a shot at top-seeded Dunmore, the three-time defending champion, in Saturday’s first round.
Tournament pairings were scheduled to be made official Monday with the exception of the four teams involved in Monday night Lackawanna League boys’ basketball championship games.
According to projections and likely pairings heading into the meeting:
Montrose is the seventh-seeded Class AA boys’ team, opening at home Friday against Riverside.
Blue Ridge, Mountain View and Elk Lake all wound up in the same quarter of the Class AA boys’ bracket. Blue Ridge, the 14th seed, will play at the Lackawanna Division 3 champion (either Mountain View or Elk Lake), the third seed, Friday night. The Mountain View-Elk Lake loser falls to the sixth seed and a home game against Lackawanna Trail Friday.
If both Elk Lake and Mountain View win their district openers, they would meet in the quarterfinal round.
The Class AA girls play their first full round Saturday with Mountain View, Montrose and Elk Lake all getting home games.
Third-seeded Mountain View faces Carbondale, fifth-seeded Montrose plays Northwest and eighth-seeded Elk Lake takes on Holy Cross.
The Class AA boys continue Monday, February 23 when the Class A boys get started.
Susquehanna is the fourth seed and faces top-seeded Freeland MMI while Forest City is the third seed and plays second-seeded Old Forge.
The Class AA girls continue Tuesday, February 24 when the Class A girls open with third-seeded Susquehanna playing second-seeded Old Forge.
By winning the division title, Forest City earned a bye into the Class A championship game and, at worst, a trip to state tournament play-in game that goes to the District 2 runner-up.
In wrestling, the District 2 Class AA championships are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Lake-Lehman.
Wrestling starts Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. The finals are scheduled for Saturday at 6:30.
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
Kenseth Wins Rain-Shortened Daytona 500, Daytona Beach, FL – The 2009 Daytona 500 had many lead changes and dramatic duels between lots of good drivers, but in the end, it was rain and a push from Kevin Harvick that allowed Matt Kenseth to claim the victory.
Matt Kenseth celebrates his 2009 Daytona 500 victory.
Photo courtesy of NASCAR
Kenseth cried tears of joy after NASCAR announced the race was history after 152 of the scheduled 200 laps, and he was the winner.
“I don’t mean to cry like a baby, but I just want to thank my team and the Lord for allowing me this opportunity,” said Kenseth. “It’s just an unbelievable feeling.”
Kenseth had to start the race from the rear of the field after going to a backup car. He somehow was able to miss a big wreck that occurred on lap 125.
When the racing resumed, crew chiefs told their drivers to try and get to the front of the field, because it wasn’t “if” rain was coming, but “when.”
Kenseth passed Elliott Sadler with a push from Kevin Harvick on lap 146.
A few seconds later, Aric Almirola spun off the backstretch after Kasey Kahne made contact with him, bringing out another caution.
NASCAR was not able to give the teams the green flag again, because by lap 149, rain was pelting the speedway. Two laps later, it was coming down in sheets.
With Kenseth leading and Harvick second, enough rain had fallen that NASCAR put out the caution flag, and then the red flag, ending the race on lap 152.
“When the rain started we could tell it was going to be with us for at least an hour and a half,” said NASCAR Pres. Mike Helton. “With the high humidity, we might not get back to green flag racing until 11 p.m. That’s just too late. The fans have seen great competition, and it was time to call it with the rain in the forecast.”
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Brian Vickers were the two cars that touched off the massive wreck on lap 125.
Earnhardt was a lap down, and was trying to pass underneath Vickers. Whether he had enough room to get by is arguable, but when Vickers drove down, Earnhardt ran into the back of Vicker’s No. 83.
The resulting wreck involved at least nine cars including those of Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and others.
Later, Vickers said he couldn’t understand why Earnhardt wasn’t penalized for intentionally hitting him.
“I got a run on him, he saw me coming and I didn’t try to wreck him,” said Earnhardt in a post-race interview. “He went to block me and hit me and sent me down to the grass.
“I don’t hate it for him, but I do for everyone else that got wrecked.”
Before the race ended, Earnhardt had radioed to his pit crew that if Vickers wanted to have his *ss whipped, to meet him in the garage.
A. J. Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer, Elliott Sadler, David Ragan, Michael Waltrip, Tony Stewart, Reed Sorenson, and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Top-10 Sprint Cup leaders after 1 of 36: 1. Kenseth-190, 2. Harvick-170, 3. Allmendinger-165, 4. Bowyer-160, 5. Sadler-160, 6. Ragan-150, 7. Stewart-147, 8. Waltrip-146, 9. Sorenson-138, 10. Truex-135.
Stewart Is Daytona Nationwide Winner – The top-10 Nationwide Series leaders after 1 of 35: 1. Stewart-190, 2. Edwards-175, 3. Bowyer-175, 4. Ky. Busch-165, 5. Biffle-160, 6. Vickers-155, 7. Earnhardt-146, 8. Keller-143, 9. Ragan-142, 10. Kenseth-139.
Bodine Takes Daytona Truck Race – The top-10 Truck leaders after 1 of 25: 1. Bodine-195, 2. Ky. Busch-175, 3. Cook-165, 4. Fitzpatrick-165, 5. Hornaday-160, 6. Skinner-151, 7. Peters-150, 8. Crafton-147, 9. Braun-143, 10. Malsam-134.
Give Me Real Mashed Potatoes – The bus was late to take me to the track, so I waited on the sidewalk outside my hotel in downtown Daytona Beach, and watched people.
I couldn’t help but reflect on what I’d eaten the last two days.
I was raised on fried chicken, turnip greens, red beans and rice, pork chops, ham, fresh vegetables, with either mother’s corn bread or biscuits. I still need that kind of food at least once a week. My wife Gloria keeps me well fed, on fresh southern staple foods.
Whenever I go to races, it seems like the hotels and restaurants get together and plan menus that are either bland, steak with gristle, or chicken a la heartburn.
The food during this year’s trip to Daytona wasn’t much different.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of fine folks in central Florida, and they have great seafood, but somebody needs to go down there and teach them about soul food, the real down-home style of southern cooking.
The previous night, I had gone into a restaurant that advertised southern cooking. I ordered country fried steak, fried okra and mashed potatoes. I knew the okra would be frozen, but that was all right.
“Could I get some gravy along with the mashed potatoes,” I asked the waitress.
“Sure,” she answered.
The steak was passable, and the okra was O.K., but after taking the first bite of the mashed potatoes, I called the waitress back.
“Would you be perfectly honest with me,” I said. “These mashed potatoes were poured out of a box, weren’t they?”
She gave me a pretty strong look and said, “Well of course, what did you expect?”
I realized the waitress didn’t have anything to do with the fact that this restaurant, which specialized in southern cooking, served mashed potatoes out of a box.
It was blasphemy to potato lovers and all southern mothers.
When I paid the bill I did give the manager a few words about how he ruined the good name of mashed potatoes and southern cooking
I told him, “You should be ashamed.”
He looked at me kind of funny. I believe he took me for some kind of religious nut.
Instant mashed potatoes, along with silicon implants are two things I cannot tolerate.
Some things aren’t meant to be changed.
Next Week: Everyone Needs To Walk Around Daytona.
All three of NASCAR’s major touring series will be at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA.
Saturday, Feb. 21: San Bernardino 200 Camping World Truck Series Race No. 2, 3 p.m. TV: Fox.
Saturday, Feb. 21: Stater Bros. 300 Nationwide Series Race No. 2, 7:45. TV: ESPN2.
Sunday, Feb. 22: Auto Club 500 Sprint Cup Race No. 2, 6 p.m. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: Who is the driver of the No. 14 Cup car?
Last Week’s Question: How many times did Dale Jarrett win the Daytona 500? Answer: Three times. 1993, ’96, and 2000.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: email@example.com.
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