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Clutch foul shooting helped both Montrose basketball teams pull out impressive Opening Night victories when the winter high school sports season began Friday.
Colby Major went 9-for-10 from the line in the fourth quarter and finished with 16 points to lead the Meteors to a 44-42 victory at Riverside, which has several key players back from the team that reached the District 2 Class AA championship game last season.
Dallas Ely hit two free throws with two seconds left to lift the Lady Meteors over Valley View, 44-42.
Ely finished with 15 points.
The Blue Ridge boys were the only Susquehanna County team to win twice on the opening weekend.
The Raiders played in the Sayre Tip-Off Tournament, which did not have a traditional four-team format because Elmira Free Academy could only play one game without going over its game limit in New York state.
Sayre chose to sit out Saturday night’s game and let its other two guests be guaranteed two games.
Blue Ridge defeated Elmira Free Academy, 60-46, with the help of 16 points by Marvin Green Friday then Thomas Edison from Elmira Heights, N.Y., 58-50, in overtime on Saturday when Alex Cardoza scored 19.
Elk Lake and Susquehanna lost openers Friday.
Carbondale defeated Elk Lake, 51-44, in the Red Wallace Memorial Scholarship Game.
Athens topped Susquehanna, 47-37.
Forest City won its opener, 73-72, over Lakeland Saturday.
The Elk Lake girls were second, Blue Ridge third and Susquehanna fourth in opening-weekend tournament play.
Elk Lake beat Wilkes-Barre GAR, 55-46, then lost to the host team, 39-33, in the Tunkhannock Kiwanis Tournament.
Susquehanna finished fourth at Tunkhannock with two losses by a total of 53 points.
Kaitchen Dearborn was selected as her team’s Most Valuable Player when Blue Ridge took third in the Sayre Tip-Off Tournament.
Holy Cross rolled over Mountain View, 52-34.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Devin Moye, Tyler McCauley and Josh Ralston each went 5-0 Saturday to help Elk Lake finish fourth out of eight teams in the Wyalusing Duals.
Moye won all five matches at 119 pounds by pins, including three in the first period and one of those in just 10 seconds.
The Warriors went 3-1 to reach the third-place match where they lost a tiebreaker to Dallas after the match ended, 39-39.
Montrose went 0-5 and finished eighth.
Derek Stocker, whose decision at 152 gave the team its only points in a 70-3 loss to Montrose, and Chris Mordevancy each went 3-2 for the Meteors.
In professional hockey, Dustin Jeffrey’s breakaway goal 28 seconds into overtime Friday night lifted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Binghamton Senators in an American Hockey League game.
By beating Binghamton and goalie Andy Chiodo, one of the most popular players in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton franchise history, the Penguins moved past the Senators into third place in the AHL Division for one night.
Binghamton forced overtime on Craig Schira’s goal with 25 seconds left in regulation.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman Chris Lee made a long break-out pass to set up Jeffrey’s winning goal.
After releasing the winning shot, Jeffrey went crashing into Chiodo, who came out to cut off his angle.
Chiodo’s helmet popped off. The goalie got up slowly, rubbing his head, but skated off the ice while the Penguins were still celebrating the win.
“The top of his head and his upper body hit pretty hard into my legs,” Jeffrey said. “I didn’t see after that.
“I hope he’s OK.”
Chiodo, the star of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s run to the 2004 Calder Cup finals, stopped the first 22 shots he faced.
Penguins goalie John Curry stopped the first 25 against him and finished with 34 saves.
Amanda Lass started 46 out of 50 games in her first two seasons at Marywood University.
Now a senior, the 6-foot-1 forward/center from Montrose has come off the bench in every game this season, but is a valuable part of the rotation that allowed the Pacers to build a 7-1 record before the holiday break.
Lass, one of three Susquehanna County players on the team, leads Marywood in rebounds (7.5 per game) and blocked shots (six). She is also averaging 9.3 points per game to close in on 1,000 for her career.
Lass has hit 50 percent of her shots from the floor (29-for-58) and has seven steals.
Caitlin Ely, a 5-foot-6 junior guard from Montrose, has played in all but one game while Sara Evans, a 5-foot-6 guard/forward from Mountain View, has played 36 minutes in five games.
The deep bench helps Marywood play its running game, according to coach Tara Macciocco.
“We’ve very athletic,” Macciocco said. “We can get up and down the floor and we use a lot of kids so we can play at that pace.”
Ely has not shot much in her 45 minutes of playing time. She is 3-for-5 from the floor, including 1-for-2 on 3-pointers, and 4-for-4 from the line. She has 11 points, three assists and two steals.
Evans is averaging 2.2 points.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Elk Lake is the favorite as it opens defense of its Lackawanna League Division 2 title Wednesday night Valley View.
Blue Ridge, Scranton Prep and Western Wayne, are the teams most likely to challenge the Warriors for the title in the nine-team division.
Montrose is at Mountain View and Susquehanna is home against Scranton Prep in Wednesday’s other openers.
Blue Ridge does not open the league schedule until Saturday when it hosts a tri-meet that includes Lackawanna Trail and Valley View.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Danica To Nascar
Indy-car racer Danica Patrick will join NASCAR for a limited number of Nationwide Series races in 2010 for JR Motorsports.
While NASCAR CEO Brian France, said she would be a “shot in the arm” for NASCAR, it remains to be seen how well she will adapt to the cars.
Danica Patrick will race in NASCAR in 2010 furnished by Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It's going to be challenging,” Patrick said. “It's a new car. It's a new craft. These are much different than what I drive - you can tell that quite obviously.
“We've all been working for some time to bring this all together, so there's much relief there. I'm starting to get a bit nervous now that it's time for me to get out there and do my part of the deal in these cars and perform. It's no doubt going to be challenging but we're real excited to get moving on it. It's time now to get to business and learn these cars.”
By comparison, she has one win in 81 career starts while driving for some of the best teams in the Indy Racing League. She's led 110 laps in five years of IRL action, and more than half of that came as a rookie. She's never finished better than fifth in the points.
Drivers with a better performance level than Patrick, Sam Hornish and Dario Franchitti, struggled to make the transition to stock cars, and that's even with the advantage of driving every week, not a part time schedule, as Patrick will do.
So why all the fuss about her? She's hot-tempered for one thing, and her outbursts make great news. She also has an American flag tattoo, located between pieces of a bikini.
Still, Patrick will require sufficient seat time. Kelley Earnhardt, Vice President and General Manager for JRM, wasn't certain how much testing Patrick will get in between next week's session and the start of the season. But Earnhardt, a former racer herself, says she'll make sure Patrick will have enough testing to where she “feels comfortable.”
“We still have a lot of things going on and a lot to work out,” Earnhardt said. “But Tony Jr. (crew chief Eury) is very excited about working with her and excited about her potential. Being in JR Motorsports' garage she'll be in a quality car, in a competitive car. With the leadership we'll put behind her with our team - with Tony Sr. and Tony Jr. - I think it's reasonable for her to be in the top-15 in the series when she's running.”
Patrick will make her first NASCAR start in the Feb. 20 Nationwide Series race at Fontana, CA.
We’ll have to wait and see how this deal turns out.
While the car driven by Patrick will have sponsorship, JRM is still searching for full sponsorship for the No. 88 car.
“We've got irons in the fire, but we've had irons in the fire for months,” Dale Jr. said. “I'm a little worried about that. I'd like to run (the 88 car) full season next year. I think the Nationwide Series is better with that car running a full season. But the possibilities of that happening do not look really good right now.”
OTHER NASCAR NEWS
Michael Waltrip said he now he thinks he'll only run the four Cup restrictor-plate races next year (unless more sponsorship is found). As for Nationwide? “I'd like to run some Nationwide races, I'd like to run some Truck races, so I'm still just seeing what's out there,'” he said. “I'll do anything, I just want to race every now and then.” Mikey said he'll be back on Speed's broadcast of the Truck races next year.
Fan-favorite, Kenny Wallace might not return to the Nationwide Series next season, at least not in a Jay Robinson car.
Wallace has driven for JRR for most of the last two seasons, with U.S. Border Patrol as the sponsor. But Robinson said the Border Patrol may not return for next season, leaving Robinson searching for other sponsors.
“We would love to have Kenny back,” Robinson said. “There’s no negative to Kenny at all. If we could find somebody who wants to sponsor a car with Kenny driving it, I’m all in.”
“I knew I was going to be talking to some folks about deals for next year. But they were offering less than half of the money of what we had last year. I was questioning whether Kenny was a candidate to drive those cars because his salary wasn’t going to be what it was this past year. Somehow out of that, he took it that he was driving all year. So I really can’t say what we will be doing next year, or who will be our driver.”
Kyle Busch announced that he will enter two Toyota Tundras full-time in the Camping World Truck Series beginning in 2010.
Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), which has fielded numerous Late Model stock cars for Busch and others since late 2007, will step up to the Truck Series with youth behind the wheel and experience on top of the pit box.
Busch will pilot the No. 18 whenever the Truck Series runs in companion with the Cup Series. For the non-companion races, the No. 18 Tundra will be driven by 24-year-old Brian Ickler (pronounced “IKE-ler”). Running the full schedule for KBM will be 20-year-old Tayler Malsam in the No. 56 Toyota Tundra.
“Everyone knows how much I love to race, and the Truck Series is one of my favorite places to race, so to be a team owner in this series is a perfect match,” said Busch, who has 16 career Camping World Truck Series victories and a combined 62 wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions. “We started KBM two years ago with the Late Model program and this seemed like the next natural step. I’m also very pleased with our driver lineup - having young and talented guys like Tayler Malsam and Brian Ickler.”
Busch recently purchased the assets of Xpress Motorsports, the Truck Series team that finished the 2009 season among the top-10 in points. KBM will operate from the Xpress Motorsports shop in Mooresville, N.C., until its new shop is completed.
Overseeing the three-driver, two-truck outfit will be Rick Ren, who will serve as the team’s director of competition. The 52-year-old is a NASCAR veteran who won two Camping World Truck Series championships as crew chief for Ron Hornaday Jr., (2007 and 2009) while at Kevin Harvick Inc.
Racing Trivia Question: What year did Dale Jarrett win his only Cup championship?
Last Week’s Question: What year did Mark Martin first compete in the Cup series? Answer. His first career start was in 1981 at North Wilkesboro.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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