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Forest City took a young girls’ basketball team on the road, picking up what coach Carl Urbas hopes will be valuable experience to help the team in the next two seasons.
The Lady Foresters, the only Susquehanna County basketball team to qualify for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament, lost in a Class A play-in game to try to reach the full 32-team bracket.
Girard College High School of Philadelphia made the most of the home-court advantage while eliminating Forest City, 41-33.
Urbas said the private boarding school had the bulk of its student body present with about 400 students cheering on the home team and adding to the atmosphere of the playoff game.
“It was a great experience for our kids,” said Urbas, who started three sophomores, a junior and a senior in the game.
Two sophomores led the team in scoring throughout the season and in the state game.
Katie Yale had 13 points while Cassie Erdmann added 11.
The offense, however, bogged down in a scoreless third quarter that ultimately decided the game.
The teams were tied at 8-8 after one quarter and Forest City led, 14-13, at halftime.
Kahleah Cooper, a 6-foot-1 freshman who led Girard College with 22 points and 10 rebounds, scored seven of her team’s nine points while Forest City was going scoreless in the third quarter.
“It was just cold shooting,” Urbas said. “We had plenty of shots, just nothing dropping in until the fourth quarter.”
The game opened up in the fourth quarter and Forest City matched Girard College while the two teams combined for more points than they had produced in the first three quarters combined.
Forest City, which won the Lackawanna League Division 3 championship before finishing second in District 2 Class A, finished 14-11.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Abington Heights junior Evan Craig gave the Lackawanna League a state champion in wrestling.
Craig (41-0) defeated back-to-back undefeated opponents Saturday to claim the Class AAA 285-pound title a year after finishing second.
Craig avenged a loss in last year’s state final by beating Sean Owen of Clearfield, 3-2, in Saturday morning's semifinal. In the final, he topped David Osei of Abington, 3-1.
Lance Moore of Lackawanna Trail, a Lackawanna League Division 2 member, finished third at 285 pounds in Class AA.
In high school basketball, only three Lackawanna League teams made it through the first round of the state tournament.
The Dunmore boys and girls and the Mid Valley girls all won Class AA openers.
In professional hockey, Nick Johnson’s power-play deflection broke a third-period tie and lifted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins past the Binghamton Senators, 3-1, Wednesday in the first of two meetings in four days between the American Hockey League rivals.
Johnson broke a 1-1 tie at 7:24 of the third period.
Brian Lee scored for Binghamton in the first period.
Jeff Taffe tied the game in the second period.
Johnson tipped in an Alex Goligoski shot and Janne Pesonen scored an empty-net goal with 10 seconds remaining.
The teams meet again Saturday with Jeff Glass making 42 saves to lead Binghamton to a 2-1 victory.
Glass carried a shutout deep into the third period.
Matt Panasevich is 4-5 with one fall this season wrestling for Cornell University.
The junior 184-pounder from Mountain View lost in his only dual meet appearance. During his three-year career at Cornell, Panasevich is 0-2 in duals and 12-28 overall with two pins.
Cornell, the nation’s second-ranked college wrestling team, won its seventh straight Ivy League title.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Spring high school sports teams are allowed to begin non-league play this week, provided they can find suitable playing conditions.
The first legal date for games in the PIAA in track and field, boys’ volleyball, baseball and softball is Friday. Boys’ tennis teams were allowed to start competition 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
Kurt, “The Other” Busch Wins At Atlanta, Hampton, GA – Kurt Busch won Sunday’s Kobalt 500 at Atlanta in dramatic fashion for his first win of 2009.
Kurt, the other half of the Kurt and Kyle Busch racing family out of Las Vegas, led 232 laps of the 325-lap race, including the last lap of an overtime shootout.
Kurt Busch, winner of Sunday’s Atlanta Cup race.
Busch was leading the race over Brian Vickers when a caution came out with four laps remaining. Busch and most of the leaders pitted for tires and a splash of fuel. Carl Edwards took only two right side tires while Busch, Gordon and Vickers got four fresh tires.
Edwards beat Busch and Gordon out of the pit. When the final restart was given on the green/white/checkered restart, it was Edwards, Busch, and Gordon in that order.
Busch quickly got by Edwards. Gordon was also able to get by Edwards, and for a moment or two, it looked like Gordon might be closing on Busch’s blue No. 2 Dodge, but he was never able to challenge for the lead.
Busch celebrated his victory lap by driving backwards around the 1.5-mile track.
“Good things come to those who wait,” said Busch. “This car was incredible. We’ve found a good package to start off 2009.
“I’ve got to hold up my end of the bargain because Kyle is on the gas right now.
“I want to thank Carl and Jeff for racing me clean there at the end. When you beat those two guys here at Atlanta, you’ve got to really handle.”
Jeff Gordon finished second and remains the Sprint Cup points leader. It was his third top-10 finish this season.
“This race team is really stepping it up,” said Gordon. “With the fire in their eye and the things they’ve been working on back in the shop and setups that match my driving style have been awesome.
“We’ve had some small issues, like last week with the fender and this week with the clutch, but these guys are flawless, they aren’t skipping a beat.”
The third-place finisher, Carl Edwards got his first top-5 of the season.
“I wish we had four tires, but I thought maybe they would throw the green flag and then the yellow flag, which would have ended the race, and I had rather be out front in a situation like that,” said Edwards.
At one point, it appeared Vickers was almost equal to Busch, but his last pit stop was a disaster. He went in second and came out seventh.
Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and Martin Truex, Jr. were the remaining top-10 finishers.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was unable to run with the leaders and finished 13th.
Polesitter, Mark Martin wound up 31st.
Top 10 Chase leaders after 4 of 36: 1. J. Gordon-634, 2. Bowyer-591, 3. Kurt Busch-588, 4. Edwards-547, 5. Kenseth-546, 6. Stewart-521, 7. Kyle Busch-514, 8. Harvick-511, 9. Kahne-484, 10. Biffle-480.
Busch Wins Another Truck Race – Kyle Busch’s win Saturday in the Camping World Truck Series at Atlanta was his second of the season. After just three races, he has two wins and two poles in the series. Top 10 leaders after 3 of 25: 1. Kyle Busch-560, 2. Bodine-535, 3. Skinner-441, 4. Hornaday-436, 5. McCumbee-426, 6. Crafton-423, 7. Cook-413, 8. Bell-412, 9. Peters-406, 10. Starr-384.
The Trucks Need More Meat And Potatoes – “If you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, you can go to a clinic and get help,” Billy Jenkins, of Baltimore, Maryland wrote in an e-mail, “But where can you go if you’re addicted to truck racing?”
Sorry, Billy, you’ll have to talk to the France family, owners of the series.
Billy, like many fans, has come to view the Camping World Truck Series as the most exciting series in NASCAR racing.
But like the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series they, too have problems, maybe even greater than the other two.
It’s all about money. For truck owners, the big money hasn’t drifted down to them.
The season started with only ten fully-funded truck teams.
While the trucks do not run as many laps in races as cars, and only have a 25-race schedule, their operating costs still run into several millions of dollars.
And one of the problems is the payouts they receive.
Consider this: The Cup cars ran 160 laps in the Daytona 500. Matt Kenseth, the winner, took home $1,536,388. Joey Logano, the last place Cup finisher, received $317,720.
Now, let’s look at the Camping World race that was run two days before. The winner, Todd Bodine ran 100 laps. He took home $93,750. Wayne Edwards, the last-place truck team, received $13,195.
How pitiful. It’s like running for the fun of it.
The truck owners had to bring full teams, which meant transportation to and from Charlotte, housing, uniforms, and meals.
Rick Crawford operates two Camping World teams. He drives the No. 14 and James Buescher drives the No. 10. They finished 21st and 25th respectively. Take-home pay for both teams was a whopping $33,060.
According to Crawford, he had only a couple thousand dollars left over after paying the tire bill. For you fans that might not know it, the Goodyear tires are priced at over $400 each.
How much do you think it cost to feed, clothe, and house 25 team members for five days?
You can only do so much with love. The truck guys are struggling. They need more meat and potatoes.
The money just isn’t there. Truck teams do not have the same level of recognition as the other two series.
Something has to be done.
It’s time NASCAR gave some straight talk about the trucks, so fans like Billy Jenkins can make plans to find help for his addiction.
Next Week: A Room at the Top.
There is no racing next weekend. It is an off week for all three NASCAR touring series. The next racing venue will be March 21 and 22 at Bristol.
Racing Trivia Question: Where is Robby Gordon’s home town?
Last Week’s Question: Who were the four teams that won 32 of the 36 races last year? Answer: Hendrick Racing, Joe Gibbs, Roush-Fenway, and Richard Childress.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the entire starting team came back from last season and three of them were still in their sophomore year, it was clear from the start that the Forest City girls’ basketball team had a bright future ahead.
With Cassie Erdmann leading the way, the Lady Foresters found out they did not have to wait for the next year or two to start celebrating their accomplishments.
Erdmann scored 25 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, when Forest City wrapped up its first division championship in 18 years by beating Mountain View, 60-52, in a playoff for the Lackawanna League Division 3 all-season championship.
“We thought we were going to do really well,” Erdmann said after Forest City doubled its win total by going from 7-21 to 14-10 and reaching the state Class A tournament. “We had a year of (varsity) experience behind us. We’ve all been together since fifth grade.”
Erdmann, the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month selection, led Forest City to its two biggest offensive games of the season back-to-back. The 5-foot-9 sophomore forward had 23 points when the Lady Foresters avenged an earlier upset loss with a 60-49 victory over Blue Ridge.
The win over Mountain View capped a five-game stretch in which Forest City won four times and Erdmann led in scoring four times, averaging 19.6 points through the stretch which started immediately after a loss to the second-half champion Lady Eagles.
Forest City was ready for the rematch, which gave the Lady Foresters a 3-0 record in league playoff games this season, including the two it needed to win the first-half title.
“They thought we’d be in a 2-3 defense and we came out and surprised them with man defense,” said Erdmann, who also had eight rebounds, three blocked shots and three assists in the title game. “We had to play real good defense against them. They have real good outside shooters and a post girl (Kayla Kazmierski) who is 6-1.
“On offense, we had to find open shots and keep shooting. We found ways to get through their 1-3-1.”
Erdmann consistently hit her shot in Forest City’s league playoff games. Back in January, she made three 3-pointers and scored 17 points in a 55-39 victory over Forest City in a first-half semifinal.
In three league playoff games, she was 5-for-11 on 3-pointers and 15-for-19 from the line with 44 points, 25 rebounds and six blocked shots.
Cassie, the daughter of Mark and Terri Erdmann of Browndale, also has started for two seasons as a defender on the Forest City soccer team.
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