Donald Trump is really going for the wacky fringe vote. Or should I say the wacky fringe loser vote. Sarah Palin helped destroy any serious credibility John McCain had in 2008. Maybe she can do the same for Donald Trump!
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Two seasons ago, the Bishop Canevin boys basketball team won a total of four games. Now, the Crusaders have a good chance at winning something that is most unusual at the school.
Bishop Canevin is in first place in WPIAL Class AA Section 3 with a 9-0 record (12-4 overall). The Crusaders have a big game Friday at home against Washington. A win just about guarantees at least a share of the section title. Even with a loss, Bishop Canevin can still go on and tie for the section title.
Bishop Canevin joined the WPIAL in the mid 1970s. Before that, the school played in the Pittsburgh Catholic League. Since joining the WPIAL, Bishop Canevin has won only one section title - in 2006. This would be only two sections in more than 40 years.
The man engineering the turnaround is Kevin Trost, who is in his second year as coach. Trost (pictured) is a former player at North Allegheny who also played at Juniata College. When Trost played at Juniata, one of his teammates was Frank Vogel, who is the coach of the Indiana Pacers. So those Juniata teams produced two famous coaches, right?
Seriously, though, this Bishop Canevin team is talented and ranked No. 4 in Class AA. They can be strong offensively and their guards are talented. The Crusaders' leading scorer in Mitchell King, who averages 19 a game.
This team is young also. There are only three seniors on the team.
Not only should the Crusaders win a section title, they are a team to watch in the postseason.
It was only a non-section game between two Class A teams that are below .500. But Monday's Avella-Western Beaver game had one of the best comebacks of the season.
Western Beaver led, 31-10, at halftime. But Avella came back and tied it, 53-53, with three seconds left. Avella stold the inbounds pass and Cody Dobbins scored the winning basket at the buzzer.
Buckeyes offer Jurkovec
Add Ohio State to the list of schools that have now offered Pine-Richland stud sophomore quarterback Phil Jurkovec. The Buckeyes offered Tuesday.
Jurkovec now has offers from Pitt, Penn State, Michigan State and UCLA, among others.
This n' that
**** What has happened to Serra's boys basketball program? The Eagles were always strong under Bob Rozanski, who won more than 500 games before retiring after the 2010 season. Serra has 13 section titles in school history.
But Serra finished below .500 the past two seasons. Now the Eagles are 1-14 this season.
**** Biggest game Friday is probably Franklin Regional at Penn Hills. But a number of good ones Friday. Others are Chartiers Valley at Baldwin, Highlands at Hampton, Steel Valley at West Mifflin and Washington at Bishop Canevin.
**** I have Feb. 8 circled on the calendar. It's New Castle at Allderdice. When was the last time a City League gym was filled to capacity for a game? Bet this one will be. Allderdice coach Buddy Valinsky said the school already is discussing some kind of plan to maybe sell pregame tickets.
**** Talk about marksmanship from the free-throw line. North Hills was close to perfect in the fourth quarter against Central Catholic Tuesday. North Hills led by only two after the third quarter, but won by 22. North Hills made 20 of 21 free throws in the fourth quarter.
**** Speaking of North Hills, one of the Indians' girls players reached a milestone Tuesday night when Jamie Halloran scored her 1,000th career point. It's not often you see a 1,000-point scorer in North Hills girls basketball. Halloran is only the third North Hills girl to score 1,000. The others were 1979 graduate Mary Anne Thomas, and 2003 grad Jess Zapf. Thomas, daughter of former Pittsburgh Pirate slugger Frank Thomas, went on to play at Duquesne University. Zapf played at Pitt-Johnstown.
No fans allowed
The most unusual game Friday will undoubtedly be Cornell at Rochester. It's a 4 p.m. game and the gym will be empty. Fans are not allowed after the last meeting between the two in December was stopped because of a benches-clearing brawl.
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Penguins right winger Beau Bennett practiced today in Cranberry for the first time since he suffered an apparent right shoulder injury Dec. 14.
In a 4-1 home loss to the Capitals, Bennett was crunched into the right wing boards of the offensive zone near the blue line by Capitals right winger T.J. Oshie during the first period.
The timing of his latest injury was hardly ideal for Bennett as he had found a role on the team's top line and managed to produce three points in the four games prior to the injury.
After today's practice, Bennett held court with reporters and discussed his health, the hit and his immediate future with the team.
How do you feel after practicing?
"I feel pretty good. The legs feel pretty good out there. Just mentally getting back and being around the boys is huge. Got to start pushing and shoving a little bit harder but each day I'm making good progress."
Were you limited from any contact?
"A couple of drills today, I shied away from just because I don't want the [defensemen] to back away when I'm out there. It's hard for them to gauge when I'm out there and then they have to [practice] less than 100 percent so some of the drills out there, I didn't partake in just on my own accord. I think going forward, it will only get better."
What is the time frame for returning?
"My whole goal was playing before the All-Star break. I'm looking forward to doing that hopefully. At a certain point, it's up to the coaches and seeing if I can plug back into the lineup."
How is your conditioning?
"Conditioning is good. I skated a lot over the last two weeks or so. The [team was] on the road for a week stretch there and I was on the ice with three coaches for like an hour a day. When you're going by yourself and you don't know how long to rest, it's one of those things you try to gauge how long to rest. You get back probably better than ever."
How is the injury itself?
"It's healed up. I just got to keep strengthening, keep that mobility up. Hopefully it feels better every day from here on out. It has been for the last two weeks or so. It's getting better every day. That's all you can hope for."
You were on the top line and had produced some points when you were injured. How frustrating is the timing of this injury?
"I mean, I've been injured a lot. It's always frustrating. I think people don't realize, when you're injured, you're not sitting out. You're actually hurting. You're sitting on the sidelines. You're uncomfortable. You're trying to get back as quick as possible. At the same time, you've got to listen to your body and do right by you. Hopefully, this doesn't become a problem in the future."
Head coach Mike Sullivan's first game was the game you were injured in. What have you noticed watching the team under him?
"I played five minutes under [Sullivan]. The demeanor around the boys, it's been good. I think we've been playing a lot better than our record shows under coach Sullivan. At some point, we've got to translate that into points. It's the part of the season where there's no moral victories at all. You've got to start winning games. I think we're doing a good job of playing the right way and creating a lot of chances. I think it will come for us."
On the pace Sullivan wants the team to play at:
"You can even see in the practices, getting back in there with the boys and practicing with the boys today, it's an up-tempo style and I think that gears well to a lot of our best players. They play fast and it allows them the freedom to make plays."
What do you recall from the hit you were injured on?
"It's not a dirty hit. It's a dirty area to hit. Oshie, he's always been a good hitter. He's never had any cheap shots or anything like that. I kind of put myself in a vulnerable position. I was hitting a bouncing puck trying to get it down in the corner. Unfortunately, I though they had [left] the zone, all of their forwards, and he was right behind me so right when I turned, I was off balance. If that happens and I'm in the middle of the ice, it's a no-problem hit. Just being three feet away from the boards, I went right into my shoulder and that's the way it goes I guess."
The lineup is quite different from when you last played. How do you fit in?
"All you can ask for is to play and make an impact and play big minutes. I know I'm a little rusty. Even today, I missed a lot of passes that I don't normally miss. I think getting back and playing with NHL guys, you realize that the speed is really fast out there. Shook off the rust a little bit, got better as the practice went one. Hopefully I'll make an impact this weekend."
(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)