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Beaver Falls' Cottrill might be done for season with knee injury

Written by Mike White on .

The Beaver Falls boys basketball team had a legitimate chance to become the first team in two decades to win three consecutive WPIAL Class AA titles. But Beaver Falls' championship hopes have taken a serious hit because of an injury to the team's top player.

Senior point guard Elijah Cottrill, a member of the Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 a year ago, sustained a left knee injury in last Tuesday's game against Aliquippa, the same night he scored his 1,00th career point. Cottrill's status won't be known until later in the week but Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega said it's likely that Cottrill is done for the season.

Elijah CottrillCottrill (pictured in last year's state championship game) injured the same knee that he had surgery on this summer for a meniscus tear. He missed most of the football season after the surgery.

"He did it in the first quarter of the Aliquippa game," Biega said. "Our trainer thought it just might have been some scar tissue so he taped it up and played the rest of the game, although he definitely labored. The next day, he was saying how much it hurt."

Cottrill did not play the next two games against Shenango or Hopewell.

"Most likely, he's done for the year," Biega said.

Beaver Falls defeated Shenango, 69-43, and Hopewell, 72-48, without Cottrill. They are somewhat used to playing without him. Cottrill missed six games earlier this year when he was suspended from school for an incident in the school cafeteria.

Beaver Falls is 12-3 and in first place in Class AA Section 2 with a 7-1 record.

"We're not in the NFL where that slogan 'next man up' works. That works for professionals," Biega said. "This is definitely a hit to us. But we'll play out the season.

"We're not as good without him. I'd be foolish to say we are. But that doesn't mean we won't compete at a really high level without him."

Cottrill's status after high school also is up in the air. In the summer, he made a verbal commitment to Akron for football, although he said he would still wait to see what would happen in basketball recruiting. Creighton had offered him a scholarship last spring for basketball and a few other Division I colleges were showing interest.

But Biega said Cottrill has backed out of the verbal commitment to Akron for football. Cottrill likely will attend a prep school or a junior college.

 

 

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Leechburg girls lose, 56-0; Coach says opponent "wanted" shutout

Written by Mike White on .

In tomorrow's paper, the Post-Gazette will run leading scorers from both teams for every WPIAL basketball game played tonight.

But next to the Leechburg girls will be white space.

Final score from tonight: Ford City 56, Leechburg 0.

Seriously. A shutout in basketball.

Really? Yes. Has it ever happened before in the WPIAL? Yes, at least once in boys basketball. Wilkinsburg beat Kiski Area, 8-0, in 1978. Yes, the game was a slowdown.

And technically, there was a shutout earlier this year in girls basketball. Serra was leading Wilkinsburg, 28-0, after the first quarter earlier when Wilkinsburg left because of a snowstorm. The official score is 28-0.

But a girls game ends in a shutout after four quarters? When there wasn't a slowdown? Yes, incredible. But Leechburg is bad - with a 1-12 record. And the team had scored only 4, 5 and 9 points in three of its past four games.

Still, it makes you wonder what Ford City did? Should Ford City have done something to let Leechburg score?

Well, we don't know yet what Ford City coach Al Davis has to say about the game. Someone at his home said earlier tonight that he wasn't feeling well and was already asleep.

Leechburg coach Joel Ceraso wasn't feeling very well, either, but only because of what happened tonight at Ford City. He did not have a lot of good to say about Davis and his team.

"The bottom line is we really have only one girl who can play [Missy Jones] and she didn't play because of a concussion," Ceraso said. "She's about the only one who can dribble. The other ones really couldn't handle the pressure.

"But honestly, [Davis] put it to us and kept the accelerator on into the fourth quarter. I really think he wanted the shutout and he got it."

Ford City led by 16-0 after the first quarter, 32-0 at halftime and by 46-0 after the third quarter. When asked if Ford City pressed much, Ceraso said, "They pressed the whole first quarter. Then he played half court man-to-man the rest of the way, but it was with a lot of pressure on the ball out high. And he let his starters in pretty much until well into the fourth quarter."

When asked if he was bitter, Ceraso said, "I'm not really bitter. Just a little disappointed. But it is what it is. Some people are like that. But there is a life lesson to be learned here."

And what would that lesson be?

"It would be that sometimes nobody will cut you a break," Ceraso said. "Life is tough sometimes and no matter how hard it is going to be, people won't cut you a break."

Maybe Ford City could not have guarded Leechburg sometimes. In other words, just let them dribble up the court to the basket and let them shoot. Ceraso didn't necessarily want that.

"I'm not a big guy for participation trophies and I'm not big on just letting someone do something," Ceraso said. "But I would've liked to see them maybe play a little more zone. Maybe we would've had a chance at a shot or two. But he didn't play hardly any zone.

"But I believe in karma, too. Everything goes around, comes around."

By the way, Leechburg is 1-12 and the only win was over Wilkinsburg. The score was 44-17. It makes you wonder what is Wilkinsburg like.

 

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Things are peachy for Plum this season

Written by Mike White on .

Four years ago, when Ron Richards was in his first season of his second stint as Plum's boys basketball coach, he said something to me that I always remember. Maybe all coaches should keep in mind Richards' comments.

"The big thing I thought about before I even came back was I didn't want to be the same coach as before," Richards said in 2010. "I didn't want to fight every battle, on and off the court. I'm aware of some of the problems I got myself involved in during the past with officials and even parental issues. I brought some of them on myself.

"I said to myself this time that if I'm going to do this, I want to enjoy it more. Anyone who coaches, I don't know if we take enough time to enjoy the good things about it. I'm not talking about just the winning and some of the other fun things. I'm talking about just enjoying being around kids. I really want to focus on the enjoyable things this time."

Is Richards enjoying things more now? Who knows. But he has to be enjoying what is going on with Plum this season.

This has the makings of one of the best seasons in Plum history. The Mustangs are 12-1, with the only loss coming to Gateway. Plum moved into the Post-Gazette WPIAL Class AAAA rankings this week at No. 5. Plum and Gateway are tied for first place in Class AAAA Section 2 at 6-1.

The top of Section 2 is filled with good teams this year, but there is a possibility that Plum might win only its third section title in school history. The others came in 2000 and 2010. Both of those years the Mustangs tied for the section title.

Richards was the coach of both of those section championship teams. He coached Plum for nine seasons before resigning in 2007. He had a record of 139-94 and won 20 or more games twice. He started his second stint in 2009. Look at his past record and successes and you have to put him with the better coaches in the entire WPIAL.

And no matter what happens this season, Richards also is looking forward to the future. He believes some of Plum's best teams might be in the next couple years. He plays a number of sophomores and even a freshman.

The return of Luther

I'm hearing there is a good chance that Hampton's Ryan Luther will play tonight against North Hills. Luther, a Pitt recruit, has missed the past three games with an ankle injury.

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North Catholic's Long an All-American

Written by Mike White on .

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic's Ryan Long is one of the best linemen in the country at a small high school. At least so says Maxpreps.com.

Ryan LongLong has been named to the Maxpreps.com Small School All-American team. Only 60 players were picked to the team and they come from schools who play in a small classification and have an enrollment of less than 1,000.

Long was a force on both offense and defense for North Catholic, which went 16-0 and won WPIAL and PIAA Class A championships this season. He was the co-lineman of the year in the Eastern Conference.

Maxpreps.com has a brief bio on every player on the Small Schools All-American team. South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh made the Medium Schools All-American team. The Big Schools All-American team has yet to be released.

Carmody gets 200th

Mars boys basketball coach Rob Carmody got his 200th career win Wednesday night. 

Carmody is in his 16th season at Mars. He definitely has upgraded the Planets' program. Last year, they made it to the WPIAL semifinals for the first time in school history. What's interesting is that almost half of Carmody's wins have come in the past six seasons. He is 93-39 since the 2008-09 season.

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Fourth quarter burst leads New Castle over Hampton ..... Luther doesn't play

Written by Mike White on .

Brad Everett covered tonight's New Castle-Hampton game. Here are some notes from him.

New Castle, the Post-Gazette's No. 1 Class AAAA team, used an exceptional fourth quarter to turn out the lights on No. 2 Hampton, handing the host Talbots a 58-42 defeat in a clash of Class AAAA Section 3 unbeatens.

Hampton played without standout senior Ryan Luther, a 6-8 guard-forward and Pitt recruit who missed his third game in a row after suffering an ankle injury in practice last Tuesday.

Clinging to a two-point lead after three quarters, New Castle turned up its defensive intensity a notch and blitzed Hampton with a 14-0 run to begin the fourth. All of a sudden, New Castle had a 53-37 lead.

Malik Hooker scored a game-high 17 points for New Castle. He and Anthony Richards combined to scored 12 of the 14 points in the big run. Jake McPhatter scored 14 points for New Castle and Richards added 10. New Castle extended its regular-season winning streak to 58 games.

Collin Luther, Ryan's twin brother, led Hampton with 14 points, including seven straight late in the third quarter to bring the Talbots within two.

"Obviously, it's a lot different without Ryan," said New Castle coach Ralph Blundo. "I credit Hampton because they adjusted well, did a little things different because of their personnel and played a tough, hard-nosed basketball game." 

 

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