Why Hampton vs. New Castle is at Bethel Park

Written by Mike White on .

It's New Castle vs. Hampton IV. And why is it being played at Bethel Park, you may ask?

Because other bigger venues aren't available and it makes the most sense to the WPIAL and PIAA.

New Castle will play Hampton for the fourth time this season, Saturday afternoon at 2 at Bethel Park. Many are asking why Bethel Park? That's a natural question. But here is the scoop, straight from WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley:

Earlier this week, the WPIAL and PIAA started contacting facilities that could possibly play host to the game if it came about. The first call went to Duquesne University's Palumbo Center. Sorry, not available, said Palumbo officials. The next call went to Robert Morris. Sorry, not available. Slippery Rock University was called, and O'Malley said Slippery Rock said it is not available for PIAA games after Wednesday.

Ambridge is a good-sized gym and played host to New Castle-North Allegheny Wednesday night. Sorry, not available, said Ambridge officials.

So, the WPIAL and PIAA decided to go to the biggest high school gym in the WPIAL that was available. No, not Chartiers Valley. And no, not North Allegheny. It was Bethel Park, said O'Malley.


Bethel Park gym

Bethel Park opened a sparkling new gymnasium in January of 2012 and seating capacity is 2,450. Seats are even in the end zones. But the gym also has a track above the seats that circles the entire facility. The track will accommodate those people who have to stand. (Bethel Park gym photo courtesy of Mascaro Construction and Bethel Park)

Tickets will be hard to come by again for this game, but that's just the way it is. There is no reason to complain about the WPIAL or PIAA. It's one of those rare situations that a lot of people want to see these two teams play. It's a hot ticket. Sometimes tickets are hard to get, no matter the level. But actually, isn't this great for basketball in this area to have this much interest in games?

And sure, New Castle is 62 miles from Bethel Park (according to Mapquest) while Hampton is only 22. But it's the "state" playoffs. Sometimes because of the situation, you have to travel. New Castle fans, make a day of it. Head down I-79, stop for a late breakfast or early lunch, get off at the Bridgeville exit and head the back way over to Bethel Park.

Tickets today are available only at the two schools. Each school received 1,200 tickets. Both schools will probably sell their allotments. Heck, the way New Castle fans are, I wouldn't be surprised if New Castle's allotment was gone before athletic director Sam Flora finished breakfast.

Bethel Park athletic director Any Scheuneman said the school will put about 300 standing-room tickets on sale tomorrow, beginning at 1 p.m. Judging by the line to buy tickets for this game at Palumbo two weeks ago, it wouldn't surprise me to see people lining up at 9 tomorrow morning to get a ticket. It will be "breakfast at Bethel" for some.

"People say, 'What about the Petersen Center?' But that's not even realistic," said O'Malley. “People are of the opinion that we can go where we want for these games and that’s not true. For whatever reason, places weren’t available. Obviously, we’ve played games at North Allegheny and Chartiers Valley, but Bethel Park is a new gym with seating capacity that exceeds both of those places.

“We looked around to see what’s available. Bethel Park has the largest seating capacity of any gym available in the WPIAL. Yes, it’s probably off the beaten path, but if we put it in a place like Chartiers Valley, we’d have to turn away 400-500 more people, and there is nowhere for standing room like Bethel Park.”


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Empty Netter Assists - 03-14-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Chris Kunitz and James Neal each skipped practice yesterday for what were described as "maintenance days."

-Things have changed quite a bit for the Flyers since the last time the Penguins played in Philadelphia.

-"You've got to beat the best to be the best. We seem to play better when we play teams that are atop the conference or are doing well." - Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds on playing the Penguins in back-to-back games this weekend.

-A breakdown of every game-winning goal, winning goaltender and coach within the 100 regular season wins by the Penguins against the Capitals.

-Lee Stempniak speaks:

-Marcel Goc:

-Will the drop in value for the Canadian dollar impact the salary cap?

-Former Penguins forward Petr Nedved announced his retirement at the age of 42. Nedved, who had not played in the NHL since 2006-07, played most recently for Bili Tygri Liberec of the ELH in the Czech Republic. In 982 career NHL games, Nedved scored 717 points. A member of the Penguins over parts of two seasons, Nedved appeared in 154 games with the Penguins and scored 170 points. In 23 postseason games with the Penguins, Nedved score 23 points including a game-winning goal in Game 4 of a 1996 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Capitals, a 3-2 win in four overtimes:

-Via Facebook, former Penguins captain Jaromir Jagr reminisced about Nedved and that long, victorious night:


-Former Penguins forward Troy Loney has become part of the ownership group of the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms.

-After the Jump: The Bruins keep winning and move ahead of the Penguins in the standings.

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Honest Labels

Written by Rob Rogers on .

The FDA is proposing new food labels that, among other changes, would more honestly estimate serving size. In other words, we are much bigger gluttons than the FDA could ever have imagined back in the day. A half a cup of ice cream, really? Who eats only a have a cup?

031414 Honest Labels

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Duquesne season ends with Dukes tangled, again, in Spiders' web

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

Terry Allen scored 27 points and Kendall Anthony added 23 as No. 7 seed Richmond shrugged off four-game skid to drown Duquesne, 76-64, in their Atlantic 10 tournament second-round game Thursday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Spiders’ venom proved, once again, to be too much for the 10th-seeded Dukes (13-17), who saw their season come to an abrupt and disappointing halt in Brooklyn. Duquesne entered the tournament riding a wave of confidence from playing its best ball of the year in this past month.

Richmond (19-13) was the last team to really rout the Dukes, winning 75-58 at Palumbo Center Feb. 12, and this one played out in a very similar fashion from the opening tip. The Spiders jumped out to a quick 17-3 lead in the first one, and a 16-7 lead this time around.

Sophomore guard Micah Mason, who had recorded point totals of 11, 20 and 22 in the three previous games, was sent to the bench early with two fouls.

Mason finished with zero points. It was the second time this season he played but was held scoreless, and, consequently, only the second time he was held without a 3-point make.

Mason shot 0-2 from 3-point range and closed the season with a .560 (65 of 116) 3-point shooting percentage — the top mark in Division I this season and the best since 1992. That percentage shatters the Duquesne record of .441 set by Courtney Wallace in 2000-01 and ties Bucknell’s Mike Joseph (1988) for the 10th-best 3-point shooting percentage among qualified shooters in NCAA history.

Richmond led, 32-26, at halftime but quickly expanded its advantage. The Spiders opened the second half on a 13-4 run to take a 15-point lead with less than 14 minutes left on the clock.

Duquesne got into uncharacteristic foul trouble after the break and, in total, committed 14 second-half fouls. By the eight-minute mark, the Dukes trailed 57-38, and there was no coming back.

Duquesne trailed by as many as 20 points down the stretch but fought back in the final minutes before stomaching the 12-point loss to bow out of the tournament.

Senior forward Ovie Soko, an all-Atlantic 10 third-team honoree, had 23 points and 13 rebounds in his final game in a Duquesne uniform. Soko left his mark in his one and only season as a Duke by leading the conference in scoring (18.2 points per game) and finishing sixth in rebounding (7.8 rebounds per game).

“It’s a bittersweet feeling knowing that it could be coming to an end, but that’s just part of the journey,” Soko said earlier in the week. “This is a chapter that’s coming to a close soon, but that’s why you just have to leave it all out there.”

Duquesne coach Jim Ferry’s second season on the Bluff comes to a close with a 13-17 overall record (5-11 in Atlantic 10 play). That’s an improvement of five wins over the 8-22 2012-13 campaign.

Stephen J. Nesbitt:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.

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Murphy, Giubilato will not return

Written by Sam Werner on .

Defensive end Bryan Murphy and fullback Mark Giubilato will not return to the Pitt football team in 2014, Pitt coach Paul Chryst announced in a statement today. Both would have been 5th-year seniors this year, and the statement said both will focus on graduating this year.

Murphy played in 10 games for Pitt last year, starting nine. He had 15 tackles, including four in the loss against Navy. He did not travel to Detroit and missed the bowl game for "personal reasons." Giubilato played in all 13 games in 2013, mostly on special teams, and had 11 tackles.

Giubilato was a pretty versatile player during his time at Pitt, but he was kind of phased out of the offense under Chryst the past two years. For being a pro-style team, Pitt doesn't tend to use a true fullback a lot. Most of the time, it's one of their H-backs like Manasseh Garner or Jaymar Parrish lining up in the backfield as a lead blocker. The biggest hole Giubilato will leave is as a solid special teams guy.

Murphy's departure, though, further depletes Pitt's depth at defensive end, which was already a fairly thin position heading into 2014. Without Murphy, there will be an even bigger onus on Ejuan Price to get healthy and stay healthy (he missed Pitt's final six games last year), since he and David Durham will be the likely starters heading into next year. Oft-injured Devin Cook and rising sophomore Shakir Soto will also find themselves in the mix for a more prominent role next season. Defensive end was a pretty big weakness for the Panthers last season. A lot of that was made up for by the fact that Aaron Donald was so dominant in the middle, but without Donald, Pitt is going to need flat-out better production from its defensive ends in 2014.

I know James Conner made some waves playing defensive end in the bowl game, and Chryst didn't totally rule out playing him there more in 2014. That said, I still don't think it's necessarily a great idea to have your best running back playing both ways for an extended period of time. Pitt is deep at running back, but an injury to Conner would be pretty devastating. I think he maybe (maybe) gets a handful of snaps on defense in pass-rush situations, but won't be a long-term answer at the position.

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