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Issue Home February 17, 2010 Site Home

HEADLINES:
Local Sports Scene
NASCAR Racing


Ely, Fox Lead Montrose Girls To 49-35 Win Over Forest City
By Tom Robinson

MONTROSE - Dallas Ely and Emily Fox hit four 3-pointers each Saturday afternoon as Montrose moved within one win of a Lackawanna League Division 3 all-season title with a 49-35 victory over defending champion Forest City.

Both teams entered the game 5-0 in the second half.

The win by first-half champion Montrose clinched at least a tie for the second-half title. The Lady Meteors, who extended their winning streak to 13 games, put themselves in position to win the title outright with a victory at Elk Lake in a game scheduled for Monday night. Even with a loss, Montrose could still take the title by winning a second-half or all-season playoff, if necessary.

Ely finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Fox celebrated Senior Day with career-highs in points (15) and 3-pointers.

“That was the way to go out,” Fox said.

While Montrose was going 9-for-19 on 3-pointers, Forest City was 3-for-21.

"We had a terrible day shooting," Forest City coach Carl Urbas said. "They had (six) 3-pointers at halftime. Our failure to make the three and some other easy shots that we missed is what did it."

Forest City led just once, when Kiersten Collins hit a 3-pointer on the first Forest City possession for a 3-2 lead.

Ely answered with a 3-pointer and had eight by the end of the quarter for a 13-10 lead.

Cassie Erdmann, who led Forest City with 12 points and 14 rebounds, hit a 3-pointer with 5:31 left in the half for the last tie at 13-13.

This time, it was Fox who answered with a 3-pointer, one of three she hit in the first 11 minutes.

"We know after we pass, if Dallas gets doubled, one of us is going to be open," said Fox, who was 5-for-8 from the floor and also had four assists.

More than half of Montrose's points - and all its biggest baskets - came from behind the arc.

Sam Abbott's 3-pointer ended the half and gave the Lady Meteors a 25-20 advantage.

After Montrose started the second half 0-for-7, Ely hit another bomb to keep control, 28-22.

Ely was just getting started. Montrose in-bounded the ball in the backcourt with 2.3 seconds left in the third quarter. Ely took the second pass while running at full speed and banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 37-24.

Fox added another 3-pointer, along with the two from Ely for what was a 17-4 run over 11:10 for the game's biggest lead, 42-26.

"We told our wings to get out on her, but she made some open shots," Urbas said.

Forest City was just 1-for-13 from the floor in the second half before Kylie Borick ended the Montrose run with 4:25 left.

The Lady Foresters put together one charge, closing to within, 44-34, on an Amanda Collins 3-pointer with 2:12 left. They could not get any closer.

Abbott had seven rebounds and three assists for Montrose improved to 17-4 overall.

Forest City, which had a 22-point average margin in its six-game winning streak, fell to 13-8 overall.

Kiersten Collins had nine rebounds and three steals while Amanda Collins had seven rebounds and three assists.

The Lady Foresters had set up the meeting for first place by shutting out Mountain View in the first quarter of a 46-27 victory.

Amanda Collins had eight of her 17 points in the first quarter to get Forest City out to a 10-0 lead. The Lady Foresters extended that advantage to 21-5 at halftime.

WEEK IN REVIEW

Marvin Green’s half-court shot at the buzzer Friday night gave Blue Ridge a 57-56 boys’ basketball victory over Susquehanna.

First-half champion Montrose finished the week tied for first place in the second half with Lackawanna Trail at 5-1.

The Meteors beat Susquehanna, 56-38, and Forest City, 65-28.

Colby Major had 25 points against the Sabers.

Susquehanna led, 22-21, at halftime, but Montrose opened the second half with a 12-1 run and built its lead to 42-26 by the end of the third quarter.

Brandon Stone led Susquehanna with 17 points.

Bill Stranburg had 12 points, Rob Volk 11, Major and Matt Meehan 10 each and Alan Charles nine in the win over Forest City.

Dave Cavalieri led the Foresters with 11.

In professional hockey, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins swept weekend home games when they beat the rival Binghamton Senators, 3-2, in a shootout Friday night then ended first-place Hershey’s 11-game winning streak with a 5-0 shutout of the Bears Saturday.

Mike Brodeur stopped 38 shots to get Binghamton into the shootout Friday night.

Rookie Brad Thiessen made 29 saves Saturday for his first professional shutout.

COLLEGE CORNER

Brent Keyes and Kirk Fallon, a pair of sophomores from Susquehanna, are gradually seeing more playing time at Marywood University, which won three straight to improve to 8-13 overall.

Keyes has played 58 minutes in 11 games. He has scored 16 points while compiling eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

The 6-foot-6 forward is shooting 7-for-15 (46.7 percent) from the floor, including 2-for-9 on 3-pointers.

Fallon has played 32 minutes in 10 games. The 5-for-11 guard has three points and two assists. He is 3-for-4 at the line.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The Lackawanna League Championships, a new event, will be held Saturday at Scranton High School.

The 15-team tournament begins at 9 a.m. with action on four mats.

Byes in each weight class will go to the highest-seeded wrestlers in an effort to create more competitive matches in the first round where losers will be eliminated.

Once wrestlers reach the quarterfinals, they will have the opportunity through wrestlebacks to try to recover from losses to work their way back to third place.

Similar to the District 2 tournament, a point system will be used to seed the wrestlers.

“We’ve done this with the junior high league the last two years,” said Blue Ridge athletic director Jim Corse, who is the wrestling league chairman and will serve as tournament director. “We started that first to see how coaches liked it, then we implemented it in varsity this year.”

There was a league tournament at one point nearly 20 years ago, but it did not get consistent participation from all teams, including the league champion.

Corse said if the tournament goes well, consideration will be given to expanding to two days so that first-round losers have the chance to come back through the consolation brackets.

In high school basketball, league play ends for the girls Monday and the boys Tuesday.

The possibility of playoff games later in the week exists. It is more likely on the boys’ side where Montrose and Lackawanna Trail may have to settle a tie for first place in the second half.

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

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NASCAR Racing
By Gerald Hodges

McMurray Wins Marathon Daytona 500

By Gerald Hodges; The Racing Reporter

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - It was six hours and ten minutes, from the time the Daytona 500 was started until Jamie McMurray took the checkered flag ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt drove from 10th to second over the final two laps, but was unable to chase down McMurray, who won his fourth career Sprint Cup race.

Jamie McMurray, winner of 2010 Daytona 500.

“It’s unbelievable, I can’t explain it,” said an emotional McMurray. “It was just a gamble on which line to take on that last restart. I spun the tires, but Greg Biffle gave me a big push on the backstretch.

“When I saw the 88-car (Dale Earnhardt Jr.), I just said ‘oh no’, because I know how the Earnhardts have been at Daytona.”

McMurray was the odd-man-out at Roush Racing at the end of 2009 when that organization had to drop a team to comply with NASCAR's four-car ownership rule.

He didn't know if he would have a ride for 2010 until his former car owner Chip Ganassi called and put him in a car for the second time.

McMurray responded just like he did the first time he drove for Ganassi. He won his first race with the team, just like he did with Ganassi when he won his first race, the fall event at Charlotte.

There were three green-white-checkered finishes.

On the first attempt Greg Biffle brought the field to the green on the inside, but a wreck behind the leaders brought out a caution.

Kevin Harvick brought the field to the green for the second attempt at the finish, but before the leaders reached turn-3, another caution came out.

On the final attempt Carl Edwards slowed Kevin Harvick allowing Jamie McMurray to take the lead with Greg Biffle second. Earnhardt came up through the middle of the track, but was unable to catch McMurray.

“I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the win, but we had a decent car today,” said Earnhardt. “We were pretty good, we were just working on some handling issues.”

Greg Biffle had to settle for third.

“I did everything I could,” said Biffle. “They gave me a good car and hopefully, we can do as good at California next week.”

There were two red flag periods that lasted two hours and twenty minutes while speedway crews patched a pothole, and three green-white-checkered finishes that pushed the race to 520 miles, the longest Daytona 500 on record.

In between, there were 46 lead changes and 9 cautions for wrecks.

Unofficial finishers: 1. McMurray, 2. Earnhardt, 3. Biffle, 4. Clint Bowyer, 5. David Reutimann, 6. Martin Truex Jr., 7. Kevin Harvick, 8. Matt Kenseth, 9. Carl Edwards, 10. Juan Montoya, 11. Jeff Burton, 12. Mark Martin, 13. Paul Menard, 14. Kyle Busch, 15. Brian Vickers, 16. David Ragan, 17. Denny Hamlin, 18. Michael Waltrip, 19. Scott Speed, 20. Joey Logano, 21. Bobby Labonte, 22. Tony Stewart, 23. Kurt Busch, 24. Elliott Sadler, 25. Boris Said, 26. Jeff Gordon, 27. Bill Elliott, 28. Robby Gordon, 29. Travis Kvapil, 30. Kasey Kahne, 31. Robert Richardson Jr., 32. A. J. Allmendinger, 33. Michael McDowell, 34. Ryan Newman, 35. Jimmie Johnson, 36. Brad Keselowski, 37. Sam Hornish, 38. John Andretti, 39. Regan Smith, 40. Max Papis, 41. Marcos Ambrose, 42. Mike Bliss, 43. Joe Nemechek

STEWART WINS NATIONWIDE RACE

Tony Stewart won the season-opening Nationwide Series race ahead of Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Justin Allgaier, Brian Vickers, Paul Menard, Joey Logano, James Buescher, Kasey Kahne, and Steve Wallace.

TRUCK RACE GOES TO TIMOTHY PETERS

Todd Bodine led four times for 32 laps, but when he drifted up the track on the last lap, Timothy Peters was able to get under him for the lead to win the Camping World Truck race at Daytona. 2. Bodine, 3. Dennis Setzer, 4. Jason White, 5. Matt Crafton, 6. Nelson Piquet, 7. Stacy Compton, 8. Johnny Benson, 9. Donnie Neunberger, 10. J. J. Yeley

NASCAR has changed the green-white-checkered rule to allow a maximum of three restart attempts prior to the white flag under the green-white-checkered flag finish. If the leader has taken the white flag and the caution flag is displayed, the field is frozen and the race will not be restarted. Previously, there was only one restart attempt.

“We want to do all we can to finish our races under green flag conditions - the fans want to see that and so do the competitors,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “We felt that putting a cap at three attempts to finish the race under green is the way to go. It gives the fans what they want and it also gives the teams a better opportunity to prepare for their end of race strategy.”

With this new rule package in place there is sure to be more sheet metal damage as it will be a “shootout,” each time the green flag is dropped. Every time there is a restart, chances are more cars will be damaged.

“It will be good for the fans, but costly for the owners,” said Richard Childress.

This past week the Cup cars were beating and banging like never before. At least 78 Cup cars have been demolished or damaged in racing incidents from February 5th through the Daytona 500.

Jack Roush said it cost around $375,000 to build and test one new race car. You figure what the added costs will be for these extra restarts.

While some drivers joked about the exposure Danica Patrick has been receiving from the media, Kyle Busch said more attention needs to be focused on lesser-known drivers.

“The only thing I can say is TV is doing a horrible job because they have been covering her too much,” said Busch. “Focusing attention on her means they are taking time away from the less-funded teams, the underprivileged people that want to have funding just so they can race the rest of the year.

“Danica is only going to be here for 12 races or whatever. It would help the rest of those teams that want to try to make a full run at it, get the coverage they need and the exposure they deserve to try to race the full season.”

What do you think? Is ESPN going overboard with coverage on her at the expense of the other teams? E-mail us your comments, because we plan to present them to the ESPN broadcast crew prior to the March 7, Atlanta race. If we use them in our next column, we’ll send you a photo of Danica.

WEEKEND RACING: The Cup and Nationwide teams are at the 2-mile California Speedway in Fontana, CA. Matt Kenseth, a Ford driver is the defending Cup champion.

It could be anyone’s race, because drivers can run four wide. While the drivers run wide open on the track, race fans can purchase a $35 food ticket and eat as much as they want, all day long. Come hungry, leave full. The menu includes corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, garlic fries,California rolls, popcorn shrimp, fish sandwiches and fish and chips, hotdogs, BBQ,juicy hamburgers and cheeseburgers,kabobs, mini burgers, and other all American race fare.

The Trucks do not race again until March 6.

TV SCHEDULE: Sat., Feb. 20, Nationwide Series Stater Bros. 300, race 2 of 35; Starting time: 3:30 p.m. (ET); TV: ESPN2.

Sun., Feb. 21, Sprint Cup Auto Club 500, race 2 of 36; Starting time: 1 p.m. (ET); TV: Fox.

Correction: Last week I reported that Martin Truex was the winner of the 2009 Daytona 500. That was a big boo-boo. What was I thinking? Matt Kenseth was the real winner.

Racing Trivia Question: Which Cup team is Elliott Sadler driving for this season?

Last Week’s Question: How many Daytona 500s did Dale Earnhardt Sr. win? Only one, in 1998.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@earthlink.net.

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