Fox Chapel's Mathias named Gatorade Pa. Player of the Year

Written by Mike White on .

Local awards and all-state teams have yet to be announced, but Fox Chapel girls basketball player Erin Mathias already has picked up a big honor.

Erin MathiasMathias was named today as the Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year. Gatorade says the award is for not only athletic excellence, but also academic achievement and character on and off the court.

Mathias is the third WPIAL player to win the award in the past four seasons. Hopewell's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough won it last year and Mt. Lebanon's Madison Cable in 2011. Walker-Kimbrough is now playing at the University of Maryland and Cable for undefeated Notre Dame.

Mathias has signed with Duke. One of the best post players in the WPIAL in recent years, the 6-foot-4 Mathias averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots a game and helped Fox Chapel reach the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals and a spot in the PIAA playoffs. She has a 3.8 grade-point average.

The Post-Gazette Fabulous 5, player of the year and all-section teams will be announced after the season. The all-state teams also will be announced after the season.

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Empty Netter Assists - 03-13-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-So far, so good for Lee Stempniak (above) on the top line.

-"I've played in the American League enough to know what the league's about. It's going to be fun to play with these guys and try to make a playoff push." - Chuck Kobasew on being assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins assigned forward Tom Kuhnhackl and defenseman Harrison Ruopp to the Wheeling Nailers.

-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton signed undrafted free agent forward Conor Sheary, formerly of Massachusettes, to an amateur tryout contract.

-The Nailers' home game Wednesday against the Toledo Walleye has been postponed indefinitely. Snow in Toledo prevented the Walleye from traveling.

-Happy 40th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Maxim Galanov. Claimed by the Penguins from the Rangers through a waiver draft in 1998, Galanov appeared in 51 games for the 1998-99 Penguins and recorded seven points. The Thrashers claimed him in the 1999 expansion draft.

-Happy 53rd birthday to former Penguins forward Barry Pederson. A former all-star with the Bruins, Pederson was acquired by the Peguins along with Rod Buskas and Tony Tanti in a trade that sent Dave Capuano, Andrew McBain and Dan Quinn to the Canucks midway through the 1989-90 season. Pederson spent parts of two season with the Penguins and in 84 games, he recorded 36 points. Though he didn't appear in a playoff game, Pederson did get his name on the Stanley Cup for the Penguins' 1991 championship. Because Peterson was wearing No. 10 that season, Penguins forward Ron Francis was forced to adopt No. 9 for the remainder of the season when he was acquired at the trade deadline from Hartford. Pederson might be best remembered for being part of one of the worst trades in NHL history. In the 1987 offseason, the Bruins dealt him to the Canucks in exchange for future Hockey Hall-of-Famer Cam Neely and a first-round pick used to draft future all-star Glen Wesley.

-Happy 61st birthday to former Penguins forward Blaine Stoughton. The club's first-round pick in 1973, Stoughton appeared in 34 games for the 1973-74 Penguins and recorded 11 points. The following offseason, Stoughton and a first-round pick were dealt to the Maple Leafs in a deal that netted one of the greatest players in franchise history, Rick Kehoe.

-Happy 53rd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Petteri Lehto. A free agent signing in the 1984 offseason, Lehto appeared in six games the 1984-85 Penguins and was a minus-4. In a 7-4 home win against the Canucks, Jan. 9, 1985, Lehto and Arto Javanainen became the first Finnish players in franchise history. The following season, Lehto rejoined TPS Turku in his native Finland.

-Happy 39th birthday to former Penguins forward Landon Wilson. Acquired from the Coyotes before the 2004 trade deadline, Wilson appeared in 19 games for the 2003-04 Penguins and recorded six points. Prior to the 2004-05 lockout, he signed with Espoo in Finland.

-After the Jump: Rich Peverly's season comes to an end.

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Hooker leads New Castle ..... Freshmen stand out for Beaver Falls ..... PIAA roundup

Written by Mike White on .


A number of games involving WPIAL teams were postponed tonight because of the weather. Four games were played. Here are highlights from the games.

Malik Hooker had close to a triple double and New Castle stayed perfect with a 64-54 victory against North Allegheny in a PIAA Class AAAA second-round playoff game tonight at Ambridge.

Hooker has a sprained right wrist sustained in Saturday’s game against Bethel Park. Really? He put some hurtin’ on North Allegheny with 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

Malik HookerHooker (pictured) started slow, scoring only two points in the first quarter. His hand and wrist were taped to start the game, but Hooker ripped the tape off later in the first quarter.

“I was trying to just play through it, but I wasn’t playing how I should’ve been playing, so I just took [the tape] off,” said Hooker.

A key to the game was New Castle’s defense in the first half. North Allegheny didn’t have that much trouble with New Castle’s full-court pressure. It was when the Tigers got past half court that they had problems. North Allegheny had 18 turnovers in the first half. New Castle went on a 13-2 run to end the half and take a 34-21 lead to the locker room.

“The second half, we had only six turnovers and we played right with them,” said North Allegheny coach Dave DeGregorio.

Senior center Stew Allen was the only other New Castle player in double figures with 12. He also had seven rebounds.

Cole Constantinio, a junior guard, had a terrific game for North Allegheny with 32 points, including four 3-pointers. He made 11 of 15 shots.

Many times, North Allegheny didn’t run its usual offense. The Tigers gave the ball to Constantino and let him go one-on-one, sometimes clearing an entire side of the court for him. New Castle had trouble guarding him.

But in the end, New Castle won again, raising its record to 28-0.


*Beaver Falls 72, Summit Academy 48: Youth was served for Beaver Falls. Freshmen Donovan Jeter and Josh Creach had huge games in leading Beaver Falls to the win in a Class AA second-round game at North Allegheny. Jeter finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Creach had 21 points and 17 rebounds. Beaver Falls (20-7) will play either WPIAL runner-up Greensburg Central Catholic or West Middlesex in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Beaver Falls led by just five points at the half, but outscored Summit Academy, 18-11, in the third quarter to extend its advantage to 52-40, and then outscored the Knights, 20-8, in the fourth. Dasonte White led Summit Academy (17-7) with 18 points.

* Aliquippa 57, Quaker Valley 44: Jassir Jordan’s 23 points propelled the Quips (20-6) to their first quarterfinal berth since 2009 after the Class AA win against the Quakers (22-4) at Moon. Jordan was 8 of 11 from the free-throw line. Patrick Anderson added 13 points for the Quips, who have won 13 of their past 14 games.


* Elizabeth Forward 55, Mount Pleasant 37: The Warriors (22-4) moved on to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1989 by defeating the Vikings (16-10) at Hempfield. Alison Pastore led the Warriors with 17 points and Kylie Owoc had 16. The Warriors led, 29-15, at halftime.


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PIAA postpones a number of games because of weather

Written by Mike White on .


Reacting to predictions of snow in Western Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) has postponed a number of boys and girls basketball playoff games scheduled for tonight.

Only four games will be played tonight while eight contests have been postponed until Thursday.

In boys games tonight, New Castle will play North Allegheny at Ambridge at 7, Quaker Valley will play Aliquippa at Moon at 7 and Beaver Falls will play Summit Academy at North Allegheny at 8. The Elizabeth Forward vs. Mount Pleasant girls game will be played, but it has been moved from Fox Chapel to Hempfield at 7.

Some of the games postponed tonight have been moved to different sites for Thursday. The postponed games are:

Boys – Hampton vs. McDowell to Thursday at Farrell, 8 p.m.; Seton-LaSalle vs. Mercyhurst Prep to Thursday at Sharon, 8 p.m.; Greensburg Central Catholic vs. West Middlesex to Thursday at North Allegheny, 7 p.m.

Girls – South Park vs. Hickory to Thursday at Farrell, 6:30 p.m.; Blackhawk vs. Villa Maria to Thursday at Sharon, 6:30 p.m.; Quigley vs. Clarion to Thursday, site and time to be determined; Bishop Guilfoyle vs. Serra to Thursday at Richland (Johnstown), 7 p.m.; Claysburg-Kimmel vs. Kennedy Catholic to Thursday at Hempfield, 6:30 p.m.; Vincentian vs. Berlin Brothersvalley to Thursday at Hempfield, 8 p.m.

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Oliver Luck talks Kickoff Game, rising trend in neutral-site openers

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck spared a few minutes Friday to discuss the details of the Chick-fil-A Game Kickoff Classic contract, which will land both West Virginia and Alabama a $3.2 million windfall, and the rising trend in neutral-site openers.

Luck is coming at this topic from a few different vantage points, being both an athletic director and a member of the newly established College Football Playoff committee, which has stated its early emphasis on strength of schedule. Thought he had plenty of interesting thoughts on the topic, and not everything fit in the story, so here's our Q&A.

Stephen J. Nesbitt: What was your initial reaction when you were first approached about playing Alabama in 2014?

Oliver Luck: "We were excited about it. One of the interesting developments in college football has been these quasi-bowl games at the beginning of the year. Neutral-site games are much more popular now. I actually think it all goes back to the National Football League. If you think about 20 years, take Pittsburgh for an example, old Three Rivers Stadium was run by the county (I think, right?), or the Astrodome in Houston was run by the county. They really had no interest to really maximize the value of that stadium. As these NFL teams all began to take over the leases, they've gotten much more proactive in trying to put together games. The Redskins might be the most proactive group, with all the stuff they're doing at FedEx. Whether it's Dallas or Atlanta, there's always been a kickoff classic going back for years, but there's many more opportunities. I think fans like it. These games have been pretty well received by fans.

"When the folks from Atlanta approached us, we thought, well, this is a great opportunity. Let's see if we can make it work. I forget the details, we may have had to move a team around to make that date available, but that's not uncommon."

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