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The District 2 basketball committee met March 22 and made several changes for the 2011 and 2012 tournaments, the most significant of which was to bring an end to the open tournament formats in Class AAA and AA.
Those tournaments will now be limited to eight teams. Class AAAA, which also includes Williamsport from District 4, and A have fewer teams and will remain open to all schools that wish to compete.
The Class AAA tournaments will include three teams from the Lackawanna League and five from the Wyoming Valley Conference. The Class AA tournaments, which include the majority of Susquehanna County schools, will feature five teams from the Lackawanna League and three from the WVC.
Lackawanna League schools still may all get a shot at the postseason. The league continues to explore the possibility of a qualifying tournament that would be used to determine which teams it sends to the district event.
Other changes on the district level include: a move of all games to neutral sites rather than the first-round games at the home of higher seeds; an additional 15 minutes between games of doubleheaders to give fans more time to enter and exit gyms; and an adjustment in how Williamsport’s record is compared to District 2 teams for seeding purposes.
District 2 basketball chairman Frank Victor said that a request by District 2 to not have its teams always be the road team in state play-in games is not likely to be honored. The Forest City girls have played Girard College at its home gym in play-in games in Class A each of the past two seasons.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Montrose girls’ coach Al Smith and several county players were selected for the Lackawanna League basketball all-star games.
The girls were scheduled to play Monday at Forest City and the boys were set for a game Tuesday at Valley View.
Elk Lake’s Karley Caines, Blue Ridge’s Kaitchen Dearborn, Montrose’s Emily Fox, Mountain View’s Kelsey Whitaker and Forest City’s Amanda Collins were selected to play in the girls’ game.
Montrose’s Rob Volk was selected to start in the boys’ game, which also included Susquehanna’s Brandon Stone, Blue Ridge’s Marvin Green, Mountain View’s Luke Jenkins and Elk Lake’s Steve Rezykowski.
In professional hockey, the American Hockey League suspended Binghamton Senators right wing Jonathan Cheechoo for two weekend games after his actions in Wednesday’s game against Toronto.
Lauren Findley, a freshman from Blue Ridge, is a sprinter on the women’s track team at Division I Rider University in New Jersey.
Findley was in the lineup in the outdoor season opener as part of a 400 meter relay team that finished in 4:00.19 in the ECAC Championships in Boston.
During the indoor season, Findley ran the 400, 500 and 600 meters.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins continue their pursuit of the American Hockey League’s last playoff spot when they play at the rival Binghamton Senators Friday.
The Penguins face the Senators in three of their final five games of the season. The Penguins finish the season April 10 in Binghamton then April 11 at home against the Senators.
In boys’ volleyball, Mountain View opens defense of its Lackawanna League championship season Thursday at Western Wayne, which tied for second in the league a year ago.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Harvick Trucks 1-2 At Martinsville
MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Saturday’s Kroger 250 Truck race was a breeze for winner Kevin Harvick.
The same can't be said for Harvick's teammate, Ron Hornaday Jr., who started deep in the field at Martinsville Speedway and survived a late-race brush with Johnny Sauter to gain a much-needed runner-up finish.
Harvick, who owns his No. 2 Chevrolet and the No. 33 Hornaday drives, led 187 of 250 laps in winning his second truck series race of the season in as many starts and the eighth of his career. He started from the pole after rain washed out Friday's qualifying. Brian Ickler ran third, with points leader Timothy Peters fourth and Johnny Benson fifth.
Kevin Harvick, winner of Martinsville truck race.
Harvick chose the outside lane when he and Hornaday teamed up for a side-by-side restart on Lap 232, after contact from Hornaday turned the No. 13 Chevy of Sauter to cause the 11th and final caution of the race 10 laps earlier. An angry Sauter confronted Hornaday on pit road after the race.
“I don't know if he got into the curb or checked up or whatever, but I got into him pretty good,” Hornaday said after the exchange. “It was a tough day. I hate to see that, but Johnny's all mad, and that's what truck racing's all about.”
Harvick, working for the first time with new crew chief Butch Hylton, passed Peters for the lead on Lap 190 and held it the rest of the way.
“It was a lot of fun for me, just for the fact that the thing was so dominant to drive,” Harvick said. “I didn't really have to do a whole lot different - I just drove my line every lap, and we were able to make our way through traffic when we needed to.
“When we passed the 17 (Peters) for the lead there, it looked like his truck started to get a little loose getting into the corner, and we were able to capitalize on that.”
Harvick's margin of victory was 1.552 seconds. Hornaday, the defending series champion, gained 16 positions to 12th in the standings. He started the race in 31st position.
Aric Almirola, Matt Crafton, Max Papis, Mario Gosselin, and Ricky Carmichael were the remaining top-10 finishers.
Top-10 points leaders after 3 of 25: 1. Peters-501, 2. Almirola-442, 3. Bodine-413, 4. Harvick-390, 5. Crafton-388, 6. White-371, 7. Carmichael-360, 8. Malsam-357, 9. Dillon-334, 10. Starr-333
Denny Hamlin underwent surgery on Monday to repair the ACL in his left knee, which he injured in January.
“When we first reviewed the situation we thought Denny couldn't do any further damage to his knee if he waited to have surgery, but as the season progressed we determined that the best plan of action was to go ahead and have it repaired,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Hopefully this will take care of the situation and he should get stronger each week.”
Hamlin is not expected to miss any race dates, and will be back in the No. 11 car at Phoenix on April 10.
Robby Gordon’s future racing plans are in limbo.
A few weeks ago, Gordon was planning on putting another driver in his No. 7 Robby Gordon Motorsports Toyota while he competed in the MonsterJam truck competition. But the truck didn't get done in time.
“The truck isn’t quite ready,” Gordon said. “It probably won't be done until after Phoenix (in April). We'll miss the monster finals in Vegas this weekend.”
Gordon, whose team has an affiliation with BAM Racing that has brought some sponsorship this year, said at the beginning of the season that he probably wouldn't run in every race. But now he said it is likely he will compete in every event at least until May. After that the future of the No. 7 car is uncertain.
He is also supposed to run this year’s Indianapolis 500.
“I've got a commitment, but just because you have a commitment from people doesn't mean it's going to happen,” Gordon said. “We'll see what happens here in the next couple of weeks.”
According to Forbes Magazine, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is NASCAR's highest-paid driver for a second straight year with earnings of $30 million in 2009. Earnhardt has had little racing success the past two years, with only one win at the track. He finished a disappointing 25th in the Sprint Cup standings last year, but was voted NASCAR's most popular driver for a seventh straight year. No. 2 Jeff Gordon: Earnings: $27 million, No. 3 Jimmie Johnson: Earnings: $23 million, No. 4 Tony Stewart: Earnings: $19 million, No. 5 Carl Edwards: Earnings: $14 million No. 6 Kevin Harvick: Earnings: $13 million, No. 7 (tie) Kyle Busch: Earnings: $12 million, No. 7 (tie) Kasey Kahne: Earnings: $12 million, No. 9 (tie) Matt Kenseth: Earnings: $11 million, No. 9 (tie) Mark Martin: Earnings: $11 million.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. says his profanity-laced rant at Bristol Motor Speedway stemmed from frustration from a speeding penalty. Earnhardt had just cracked the top five in Sunday's race when NASCAR flagged him for speeding on pit road. He vented over his radio for several minutes, and snapped at crew chief Lance McGrew's attempt to calm him down. The penalty dropped Earnhardt to 26th, but he rallied to finish seventh. He moved up five spots in the standings to eighth. Earnhardt says the speeding penalty infuriated him because he had worked so hard to crack the top five.
Weekend Racing: It’s Easter weekend and there will not be any racing next Sunday, April 4. The Trucks and Nationwide teams will be at the 1.333-mile Nashville Speedway for Friday and Saturday races.
Fri., Apr. 2, Camping World Trucks Nashville 200, Starting time: 7:30 p.m. (ET); TV: Speed Channel.
Sat., Apr. 3, Nationwide Series Nashville 300, Starting time: 3:30 p.m. (ET); TV: ESPN.
Racing Trivia Question: What year did Kasey Kahne begin in the Nationwide Series?
Last Week’s Question: How old is Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Answer. He was born Oct. 10, 1974, which makes him 36.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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