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Bishop Guilfoyle tops Clarion Lady Cats, 55-45

By Rich Rhoades

INDIANA — For Bishop Guilfoyle head coach Mark Moschella, two District 9 foes are enough.

Saturday afternoon at Indiana High School, his Lady Marauders eventually pulled away from Clarion for a 55-45 win that landed them in next Tuesday’s PIAA Class A girls’ semifinal against WPIAL champion Vincentian.

In their state opener against WPIAL fourth-place Venango Catholic, the Lady Marauders grinded out a 49-40 win.

“The two tough teams we saw, that’s a compliment to District 9. Venango Catholic’s coach Tom McNellie and Clarion’s Roger Walter do a phenomenal job as coaches to have their teams prepared. Neither one of those games were a cakewalk,” Moschella said.

Against Clarion, the Lady Marauders (23-5) jumped out to a 19-7 lead after the first quarter and held off a Lady Cats team that did battle back to within single digits but couldn’t cap off a comeback with good enough shooting.

“Knowing the girls we lost and the holes we had and the girls who stepped in for us to get back here … I’m too happy to hang our heads about what just happened,” Walter said. “We lost to a really good team. They handled the ball well, shot the ball well and probably had better players at each position. We had to play a fantastic game to beat them and we didn’t.”

Clarion’s season finished at 22-7 after its second straight trip to the state quarterfinals. Eerily similar to last year’s ending, the Lady Cats dropped a 10-point decision, 45-35, to the same Bishop Guilfoyle squad. However, just one player from this year’s roster saw action in that game.

And yes, the game was also played in Indiana for a second straight time, although last year’s game was played at Indiana University.

Clarion put three players into double-figure scoring. Senior Grace Kroh finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Another senior, 1,000-point career scorer Kyla Miles, had 11 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Maci Thornton scored 10 points. In a foul-filled game, three Clarion starters — Miles, Thornton and Laken Ganoe — fouled out.

Freshman guard Macy Adams led Bishop Guilfoyle with 20 points. Her freshman teammate Lili Benzel, the team’s top scorer at 19.1 points per game going into Saturday and coming off a 33-point effort in Thursday’s win over Serra, wasn’t much of a factor and fouled out with six points. Senior Annie Dombrowski finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

While Clarion improved its shooting slightly over its past two games by making 35 percent of its shots (18-for-51) from the floor, it was the slow start shooting that was costly. The Lady Cats were 2-for-10 in the first quarter and 7-for-22 in the first half.

And the free throw shooting was a struggle as well. Clarion was 8-for-22 from the charity stripe, including 3-for-9 in the first quarter.

“You could see us rattled,” Walter said. “We got to the line, but they were broken plays and we weren’t in any rhythm. You saw us with some jitters and they were confident and that was the difference. We came out shaken and they didn’t.”

Clarion wound up turning it over 21 times.

“The better teams we’ve played have better defenders and it shows at the guard position,” Walter said. “We don’t handle the ball fantastic and our players know that. We do the best with what we have. When that pressure came out, it did knock us out of rhythm. It was something we have to live with.”

But, still, Clarion didn’t fold. The Lady Cats started the second quarter with a 7-1 run to get within 20-14 after a Thornton free throw at the 4:55 mark. Bishop Guilfoyle bumped it back up to 25-18 by halftime, but Walter wasn’t discouraged.

“In my halftime speech, I said thank God they didn’t put us out of the game,” Walter said. “They weren’t able to knock us out of the game. We’ve started the last few games on third-quarter runs. It was 6-0 the last game and all we needed was that to put the pressure back on them. They never put us away, but they had the game pretty well handled.”

Bishop Guilfoyle stretched to its largest lead for the second time at 12 points with a 7-2 run to start the second half and give it a 32-20 lead at the 5:09 mark. But once again, Clarion rallied with a 10-2 run of its own to close the gap to 34-30. Nicki Glenn capped the run with a 3-pointer with 1:27 left in the quarter. But Bishop Guilfoyle got its lead back to seven at 39-32 by the end of the third.

The fourth quarter was filled with free throws as Clarion put BG on the line 21 times with the Lady Marauders making 14 of them. That was just enough to hold off Clarion.

A Miles basket cut the deficit to 48-43 with 1:36 remaining — as it turned out, Clarion’s final points — and Adams missed two free throws for BG, but Clarion couldn’t convert on its ensuing possession and turned it over after two missed shots. A 1-for-2 Adams effort at the line put BG up 49-43 before both teams traded turnovers and then Kroh missed two free throws with 52.3 seconds left.

Adams then essentially put things away with two free throws to put BG up 51-43 with 51.3 seconds left.

NOTES: Tuesday’s Vincentian-Bishop Guilfoyle winner plays either District 1 champion Phill-Mont Christian or Old Forge next Saturday in the state finals at Hershey’s Giant Center at noon. … Clarion was the last District 9 team remaining in this year’s state playoffs. … The Lady Cats are 9-9 lifetime in PIAA playoff games, including a 5-3 record the past three seasons. … Moschella on Kroh’s performance against his Lady Marauders: “We needed to rebound the basketball. Clarion is strong. Kroh is maybe the silent partner out there and we knew what Miles’ reputation was and what Thornton could do, but Kroh is one too. She came up with a ton of key rebounds to keep them in the game.” Clarion did outrebound BG, 39-32. … Miles finished her career with 1,247 career points, second on the team’s all-time list. Thornton takes 1,011 career points into her senior season.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE 55, CLARION 45

Score By Quarters

Clarion                        7            11            14            13            –            45

Bishop Guilfoyle            19            6            14            16            –            55

Clarion – 45

Maci Thornton 4-15 2-4 10, Kyla Miles 4-11 3-6 11, Grace Kroh 5-10 3-10 13, Laken Ganoe 2-5 0-2 4, Nicki Glenn 2-8 0-0 5, Anna Reed 0-1 0-0 0, Lauren Wiser 0-0 0-0 0, Olivia Bartley 0-0 0-0 0, Kaitlyn Beichner 1-1 0-0 2, Madison Weaver 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-51 8-22 45.

Bishop Guilfoyle – 55

Alyssa McGhee 1-4 0-3 2, Macy Adams 6-11 2-6 20, Lili Benzel 3-13 0-0 6, Karis Taddei 1-1 5-6 7, Annie Dombrowski 2-4 6-8 10, Brayley Lewis 1-2 2-2 4, Marina Scipioni 2-4 0-0 6, Jenna Irvin 0-0 0-0 0, Clarisse Spencer 0-0 0-0 0, Maria Ruggery 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-39 19-29 55.

3-pointers: Clarion 1-7 (Miles 0-1, Glenn 1-6), Bishop Guilfoyle 4-13 (McGhee 0-2, Adams 2-6, Benzel 0-1, Scipioni 2-4). Rebounds: Clarion 39 (Kroh 11), Bishop Guilfoyle 32 (Dombrowski 9, Lewis 9). Turnovers: Clarion 21, Bishop Guilfoyle 14.

Hannon hired as girls’ basketball coach at Bradford High School

By Chris Rossetti

BRADFORD, Pa. – Bob Hannon, a member of the Pitt-Bradford Athletics Hall of Fame, is the new girls’ basketball coach at Bradford High School replacing Ann Nuzzo.

Hannon was hired at a school-board meeting Monday afternoon, according to athletic director Tim Walter. The school-board meeting doesn’t appear on the Bradford School District web site but was advertised late last week so that the district could hire new teachers before the start of school year, according to Walter.

“We held interviews (for the girls’ basketball job) at the end of last week,” Walter said. “The timing worked out to get (Bob) hired today when we hired the new teachers.”

Hannon, a 1982 graduate of Pitt-Bradford where he became the first player in school history to score 1,000 career points (1,057) while being named an NAIA All-District 18 First Team and All-Pennsylvania Small College player, takes over a program that has won back-to-back District 9 Class AAA titles while going 45-4 the past two season. He was inducted into the Pitt-Bradford Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002 as part of the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class.

Nuzzo went 61-34 in her four seasons with the Lady Owls including 57-16 over the past three seasons with three PIAA Class AAA playoff berths, two District 9 Class AAA titles and a District 9 Class AAA runner-up spot. In 2010, she took over a Bradford team that was coming off a 4-18 season in 2009 and had gone 13-32 in its two seasons prior to her taking over. She was “not recommended” for rehiring at June’s school-board meeting.

Hannon takes over a team that returns three of its top five scorers including Ali Rinfrette, an All American Awards & Engraving/D9Sports.com First Team All-District performer, who was the 11th leading scorer in District 9 at 14.9 ppg. The Lady Owls did lose first-team performer Kaserra Owens, the third-leading scorer in District 9 at 17.3 ppg.

NOTES – Hannon has a long history at Bradford having played for the Owls prior to going to Pitt-Bradford. His son, Jon, was also a player at both Bradford and Pitt-Bradford and is currently an assistant coach for the Pitt-Bradford men’s basketball team after serving as an assistant coach at Bradford High School from 2009-10.

District 9 graduate notes

As the start of the of the 2013-14 high school sports season, a couple of notes about former District 9 players caught our eye this week.

Armstrong leaves Old Dominion plans to transfer to Duquesne

Clarion High School graduate T.J. Armstrong, the winner of the last two The Rehab Centre D9Sports.com District 9 Defensive Player of the Year awards, has left NCAA Division I Old Dominion and plans on enrolling at Duquesne.

Armstrong, a linebacker, had enrolled early at the newly minted NCAA BCS school, but decided this past week to transfer to Duquesne. Armstrong will need to sit out this year at Duquesne, which plays in the Northeast Conference and is an FCS school.

Heeter earns PSAC Pete Nevins Award as Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Hannah Heeter, a Cranberry graduate who plays both volleyball and women’s basketball at Clarion University, was named the PSAC Female Pete Nevins Award Winner as the top student-athlete in the conference for the 2012-13 school year as voted on the PSAC Sports Information Directors.

Heeter, who is starting her senior season, is a biology/pre-med major who carries a 3.957 GPA. She was also a Capital One/CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-American in both sports becoming the first Golden Eagle athlete to earn Academic All-American honors in two separate sports in the same year.

Blose garners Athletics Director Academic Award

Jason Blose, a Cameron County graduate who is playing football at NCAA Division II Gannon, was selected by the NCAA Division II Athletics Directors Association as a recipient of the Academic Achievement Award. The student-athlete must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or higher after two years of college level work, and been an active member of an intercollegiate team during the academic year.

Blose, an Occupational Therapy major, is a red-shirt sophomore linebacker for the Golden Knights who carries a 4.0 GPA.

Fall Sports Just Around the Corner

Twitter – @d9sports / Web Site – www.d9sports.com

By Chris Rossetti

Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s August which means the 2013-14 school year is just around the corner and that means it’s time to start thinking about the Fall sports season.

As sort of a prelude to that season, the 40th annual Don Raabe Big 30 Pennsylvania/New York All-Star football game was held Saturday night in front of a packed crowd at Bradford’s Parkway Field.

Pennsylvania, behind the talents of the a host of kids from Warren County and Port Allegany, whipped up on New York. But that isn’t the overriding thing that came from the game.

The thing that stuck out the most to me was how the officials made it their show.

Twenty-three (yes that is 23) penalties were called in the game – it’s an All-Star game for Pete’s sake. You expect some penalties in a football game, but not 23 and especially not in an All-Star game and surely not some of the one’s that were called like an excessive celebration penalty on Pennsylvania after it scored a touchdown – it’s an All-Star game, the kids are having fun, let them have fun – or the two or three illegal man down field penalties – does anyone really care that a lineman went two or three yards down the field on a play?

The worst part of it had to be when it was pointed out to the officials during the game that it was an All-Star game and the kids should be the show not them, one actually responded by saying “Well they aren’t playing like All-Stars”. What exactly is that supposed to mean? Yeah it was a chippy game to an extent but it is football. Let the kids play.

But then again, it seems the folks in charge of the game including the officials believe that it is about them and not about the kids.

The game gets great attendance and seems to get some decent community support and a lot of that is a credit to the players and coaches and the local media, which hypes it like it’s the Major League All-Star game. Yet when D9Sports called a committee member during the week to say we would be covering the game, we were told we would have to pay to get in and cover the athletes and give them the pub (we were able to convince the people at the gate this was dumb but the principle of the matter is stupid). Then a reporter for the Bradford Era was challenged by the same committee member as to whether or not he had a sideline pass while taking notes during the game (for the record his sideline pass was clearly visible). The Bradford Era (along with the Olean Times Herald) is one of the biggest supporters of this game. To see one of their established reporters challenged needlessly like this makes one wonder if the game is about the players or is about a power trip for the committee members.

Speaking of power trips, in case you missed it during the summer, the Bradford school board went on one and, for lack of a better word, fired girls’ basketball coach Ann Nuzzo, who had lost all of four games in the past two seasons while winning a pair of District 9 Class AAA titles.

Why let go such a successful coach? Well simply put, some friends of the board members didn’t like the fact their daughters weren’t starting or weren’t playing. Of course this isn’t what was being said publicly, well not much was being said publicly, but that is the gist of the story.

And now the Lady Owls haven’t had a coach all summer, have missed out on summer leagues and practices and may not know who the new coach is until school starts if not later. That is a perfect recipe of how to ruin a very successful program.

On the other hand, Clarion-Limestone might finally be heading in the right direction with its football program with the hiring of former star player Dave Eggleton, who played for the Lions during their District 9 championship runs of the mid-2000s. Eggleton not only was a great player for the Lions, he has seen success outside of C-L as well first as an assistant at Redbank Valley and then as an assistant the past few years under Clarion’s legendary head coach Larry Wiser. Eggleton, in fact, has either played for or coached with some of the top coaches in recent District 9 history including Wiser, Todd Smith and Clyde Conti. Now C-L’s program might not see immediate turnaround, but if Eggleton is given a chance – never a given at C-L – he should get that program turned around in the next couple of seasons.

Speaking of Clarion, the Bobcats have to be considered the favorite to win District 9 Class A this year after being runner-up to Port Allegany the last two seasons. Clarion has an experienced quarterback in John Katis as well as one of the best running backs in District 9 in Damien Slike. But it won’t be an easy road. Clarion will get big challenges from Brockway with quarterback Alec Shaffer-Doan leading the way, Curwensville, which is led by running back Zach Tibbens and Port Allegany, who will have to replace a ton but still has an exciting player in running back Tyler Shaffer who will take pressure off of first-year starting quarterback Jordan Seefeldt.

Hearing a lot of talk that the Gators might get a challenge in the AML North from of all schools, Otto-Eldred.  The Terrors won three games under Virgil Graham last year, but the former Otto star, who is entering his fourth season, has slowly started to build the program which returns the talented Dakota Vaughn and Sam Colebert along with a host of others from last year’s team.

Staying in the AML, the league is down a team this year with Johnsonburg and Ridgway cooping to form one team this season. That problem could be rectified next season, as word in Bradford Saturday night was Eisenhower would be rejoining the AML. The Knights had been a part of the AML for years while being a member of District 10. It is possible Eisenhower may stay in District 10, but there was also a though they may want to join District 9 full time. No confirmation on any of the above, but it would make an interesting dynamic in football, as the Knights usually have competitive teams.   

Oh, and before we go, stay tuned to D9sports in the next couple of weeks for an exciting announcement about the football season.

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