Someone gets "Malik-ed" ...... other basketball notes

Written by Mike White on .

Looking back at the WPIAL quarterfinals and City League championship, and looking ahead to the semifinals, I'm Just Sayin ...

After watching New Castle's Malik Hooker in a number of games over the past few years, he will do one or two things in some games that show off his marvelous athletic ability and just make you go "What? Did you see that?"

He's one of the few athletes around here who pull off that eye-opening play that makes your jaw drop. You don't always see it on the football field from this Ohio State football recruit. You see it more in basketball. Now, it isn't necessarily a dunk or a basket. It might be a steal. But yesterday against Bethel Park, Hooker had one of those plays.

It's when someone gets "MALIK-ED." It was a dunk against Bethel Park. Check it out. He is almost outside the lane when he starts the dunk.

Next up for Hooker and New Castle is Kiski Area in the semifinals.

I know basketball isn't as strong in this area as it was in the 1950s, 60s or 70s. But still, I don't think people really fully appreciate the run New Castle is on. To be going for a third consecutive championship with an undefeated record is hard to believe. The Red Hurricanes might not win a state title and they aren't as good as some of those great teams in the 60s or 70s, but their record the past three seasons makes them a one-of-a-kind team - at least on paper.

A Cavalier attitude

Kiski Area is undoubtedly the surprise team of the WPIAL playoffs. The Cavaliers were the No. 12 seed for the Class AAAA bracket. Now the Cavaliers are in the semifinals and they have done it under first-year coach Joe Tutchstone.

Tutchstone has done a marvelous job, but look for the joy ride to end against New Castle. Facing Plum and Gateway and facing New Castle are totally different things.

More New Castle

New Castle senior guard Anthony Richards (pictured) set the school single-season record for 3-pointers with his 87th in yesterday's game against Bethel Park. He was already the career leader at New Castle. He's the last of three Richards brothers at New Castle and his father, Dave, is an assistant coach. I wonder if Anthony also leads the WPIAL in floor burns? He is the "Charlie Hustle" of WPIAL basketball.

By the way, an interesting read in the New Castle News from Larry Kelly about some inner workings of the New Castle basketball team.

Quips storm

Was there anything more impressive in the quarterfinals yesterday than Aliquippa's comeback and fourth-quarter run? Aliquippa trailed Avonworth at one point, 31-10, but won, 82-71. Aliquippa scored outscored Avonworth, 37-18, in the fourth quarter.

Section 3 supremacy

After having four teams make the semifinals last year, three Section 3 teams made the semifinals this year. What North Allegheny did to Section 1 champ Hempfield (82-59 win) makes you wonder how some top teams in other sections would have fared in Section 3. 

But Section 3 won't be nearly as strong next year with Hampton and New Castle moving down to AAA. Neither New Castle or Hampton will be as good as this year's teams, either. Overall, I don't see Class AAAA being particularly strong next year. Sure, there will be some good teams, but it will lack the depth of strong teams.

NA's numbers

Colleague Paul Zeise points out some interesting statistics about North Allegheny. North Allegheny is 43-8 the past two years, but 41-0 against all teams other than New Castle and Hampton. North Allegheny is 2-8 against those teams - 0-5 against New Castle and 2-3 against Hampton.

North Allegheny plays Hampton in Wednesday's semifinals.

Fabulous 5 stuff?

The Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 doesn't come out until after the state playoffs, but it's never too early to debate who should be on the Fab 5? To me, there are three locks and I won't name them. After that, nothing is clear.

Is it the shoes?

Allderdice winning the City League championship will hit coach Buddy Valinsky in the wallet.

"It's going to cost me," Valinsky said. "I told them if we win and make the state playoffs, I would buy them all new shoes. So I guess I have to get them."

Valinsky has been great for Allderdice, who beat Obama, 55-54, in the title game yesterday. (Pictured are Allderdice players showing emotion after the game). Valinsky has done an excellent job with the Dragons and they are a young team with a bright future.

Valinsky used a junk defense on Obama's D.J. Porter and Porter scored only 11. The defense was a cross between a diamond-and-one and a 3-1 chaser. It had some history with Valinsky.

"I played it against the James Hairston kid in the state playoffs in 2003 and we beat Connellsville, so I thought I'd use it again," Valinsky said. "It's different than a box-and-one most people play. We have three people up front and a guy down low."


Allderdice will have to wait two weeks to play in the PIAA playoffs and the Dragons will have an interesting first-round game. They will play the WPIAL runner-up.

It was a tough loss for Obama. The Eagles hadn't lost all year. Not only did they drop the City League title game, they also did not qualify for the PIAA playoffs.

Two for the semis

For four schools, the semifinals will bring double the fun. North Allegheny, Seton-LaSalle, Greensburg Central Catholic and Vincentian all have their boys and girls teams in the semifinals.


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No surprise, Legos still awesome with moviegoers

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

“The Lego Movie” topped the box office once again, adding another $31,450,000 to its growing gross and inching closer to $200 million in North America in just three weeks. It has brought in an estimated $183,160,096 since release. 
Here are the early numbers, courtesy of Rentrak: 
1. “The Lego Movie” — $31,450,000, for $183,160,096 so far. 
2. “3 Days to Kill” — $12,300,000.
3. “Pompeii” — $10,000,000.
4. “RoboCop” — $9,400,000, bringing its gross to $43,600,106 since release. 
5. “The Monuments Men” — $8,100,000, or $58,044,684 to date. 
6. “About Last Night” — $7,400,000, for $38,146,290 since release.
7. “Ride Along” — $4,667,110, or $123,172,910 so far. 
8. “Frozen” — $4,357,000, bumping its phenomenal gross to $384,061,335 since Thanksgiving. 
9. “Endless Love” — $4,300,560, for $20,141,815 so far.
10. “Winter’s Tale” — $2,130,000, or $11,223,901 since last week’s release. 

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Crosby, Kunitz capture gold as Canada beat Sweden - 02-23-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Another Olympics. Another gold medal for Canada.

Penguins forward Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz helped Canada defeat Sweden, 3-0, in the gold medal game of the men's Olympic tournament in Sochi.

It was Canada's second consecutive gold medal and third since the NHL began participating in the Olympics in 1998. Overall, it was Canada's eighth gold medal in men's hockey.

Individual awards were:


Best players as selected by the tournament directorate
Best Goalkeeper: Carey Price, Canada
Best Defenseman: Erik Karlsson, Sweden
Best Forward: Phil Kessel, United States

Most Valuable Player as selected by the media
Teemu Selanne, Finland

All-Star Team as selected by the media
Goalkeeper: Henrik Lundqvist, Sweden
Defenseman: Erik Karlsson, Sweden
Defenseman: Drew Doughty, Canada
Forward: Teemu Selanne, Finland
Forward: Phil Kessel, United States
Forward: Mikael Granlund, Finland


(Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

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Olympic hockey chat - 02-23-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


We will be holding a live chat for today's gold medal game between Canada and Sweden.

The game and the chat will begin at approximately 7 a.m., EST. It will be televised on NBC.

Click here to join the chat or participate below:


(Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)


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Empty Netter Assists - 02-23-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Tuukka Rask made 27 saves for Finland in a 5-0 shutout of Finland in the bronze medal match. Teemu Selanne scored two goals for Finland while teammate Jussi Jokinen added a goal and an assist. Olli Maatta scored a goal for Finland. Brooks Orpik had 15:27 of ice time for the United States.

-Highlights (so to speak):

-Bronze times for Finland:

-The United States heads home empty-handed:

-A couple of good looks at Maatta's goal:

-Maatta controlling the puck:

-Happy times for Jokinen:


-Happy times for Jokinen and teammate Sami Vatanen:



-Orpik got the drop on Finland's Tuomo Ruutu:


-Beaming times for Selanne:

-Happy times for Finland:

-Happy times for Finland. Not so much Quick:

-The handshake line:

-Finland's Jori Lehtera tried to navigate the United States defense:

-Finland's Kimmo Timonen didn't seem to care for Ryan McDonagh being on top of him:

-Selanne had a beef with this referee:

-Finland's Mikael Grandlund and the United States' David Backes squared off on this faceoff:

-A good look at the back of Rask's lid:

-The United States' Patrick Kane couldn't beat Rask here:

-Or here:

-Quick snagged this puck:

-Quick being stretchy:

-Quick had the wrong view of this puck:

-The United States' T.J. Oshie and Finland's Olli Jokinen battled for this puck:

-"We're dealing right now with the disappointment of not coming here and doing what we thought we could do. And that disappointment, that's not going to go away." - Dan Bylsma.

"Once they got those two goals, a lot of frustration set in for us. We started trying to beat guys one-on-one. We stopped playing that team game that got us to where we are." - United States captain/forward Zach Parise.

-"I wasn't good enough to help the team win a medal. Obviously, I was expected to do a lot more. When you come over here and put up zero goals and four assists in six games, it's not the numbers you want to see. Definitely disappointing." - United States forward Patrick Kane on failing to score on two penalty shots.

-"Twenty-six years ago I played my first national team game. I've been wearing this jersey with a lot of pride and love," he said. "And winning this last game like this was dream come true." - Selanne.

-"If there's one guy on the planet that I feel happy for, [despite] losing that game, I think it's him," Fowler said. "He's one of the best players to ever live and one of the greatest guys I've known. Happy for Teemu, he deserves it." - United States defenseman Cam Fowler on Selanne, his Ducks teammate.

-"Sometimes, I think we get a little bit confused. It's not about who scores the goals or who blocks the shots or who plays. It's about winning. It's about Canada. It's about hockey supremacy. We like to brag that it's our game? If you think it's your game, you better show it's your game." - Canada coach Mike Babcock. Canada faces Sweden in today's gold medal game.

-"I think we feel pressure. We know everybody is watching." - Sidney Crosby (right).

-“Canada always wants to have the puck, and they keep coming. That’s pretty much bottom line. Nowadays, they’re extremely well coached. They’ve got a good structure. And they have pretty much an all-star at every position on their team.” - Sweden captain/defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

-“Canadian officials in the finals, also the supervisor plus reserves. Comedy at the highest level. What a [expletive] joke.” - Swedish hockey legend Peter Forsberg on an all-North American crew of officials working today's game.

-Latvia forward Vitalijs Pavlovs was disqualified from the Olympics after he tested positive for a banned substance.


-"March is going to be crazy." - Marc-Andre Fleury on the Penguins playing 16 games next month.

-What moves can Ray Shero make at the trade deadline?

-Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers made 24 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 4-3 home shootout loss. Spencer Machacek scored two regulation goals for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has lost six consecutive games (0-3-3), the longest such slump under head coach John Hynes.


-Mike Condon made 23 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 3-1 win against the Elmira Jackals.

-Happy 56th birthday to former Penguins forward Mike Meeker. A second-round pick by the Penguins in 1978, Meeker's entire NHL career consisted of four games and no points with the 1978-79 Penguins. He was released from the organization in the 1982 offseason.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-Yet another Olympics injury. Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin will be sidelined two to three weeks due to an ankle injury he sustained while playing for Russia.

Atlantic Division

-The Red Wings recalled forwards Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and defenseman Gleason Fournier from Grand Rapids of the AHL.

-The Maple Leafs assigned forward Peter Holland to Toronto of the AHL.

Pacific Division

-“I hope Sweden wins because I don't think [Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis] is going to play judging from what's happened and I don't think [Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo] is going to play. So I don't give a bleep right now because they're not playing. I just want them back here. I hope [Canucks forward Daniel Sedin] scores two goals and [Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler] gets three assists and Sweden wins so they come back feeling good about themselves because it's going to help us. That's all I'm concerned about right now.” - Canucks coach John Tortorella (right) on his rooting interests for today's gold medal game in the Olympics.

Patrick Division

-Oscar Dansk made 26 saves for the Erie Otters in an 8-2 loss to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

-Terry Shafer made 18 saves for the Robert Morris mens' team in a 6-3 loss to Canisius.

-Matthew Skoff made 29 saves for the Penn State men's team which lost to Michigan, 5-2.

-Two goals by Nardo Nagtzaam led the Mercyhurst men's team past Niagara, 4-2.

-Jessica Dodds made 22 saves for the Robert Morris women's team in a 4-0 shutout of Penn State.

-Amanda Makela made 20 saves for the Mercyhurst women's team in a 2-2 tie with Lindenwood.

-Dakoda Menslage had a goal and an assist for the Johnstown Tomahawks who lost to the Wenatchee Wild 3-2.

(Photos: Lars Baron/Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Julio Cortez/Associated Press; Mark Humphrey/Associated Press; Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty Images; Streeter Lecka/Getty Images, Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images, David J. Phillip/Associated Press; Martin Rose/Getty Images and Matt Slocum/Associated Press)

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