Big 30 Basketball Classic tips off new era on Sunday

There will be a strong Port Allegany presence in the Portville Central School gym for Sunday’s inaugural Big 30 Basketball Senior Classic, with former Lady Gator coaches Bob Raudenbush and Beth Scanlon helming a Pennsylvania girls’ team which includes current players Somer Buchsenschutz, Lynae Delacour, and Brooke Roys on its 12-player roster.

The games between teams of senior all-stars from New York and Pennsylvania will benefit the Big 30 Scholarship Fund, which has awarded more than 40 stipends to area scholar-athletes since its inception in 2006. The girls’ game is set for 4 p.m., with the boys’ game to follow at 6. The first six-member class of the Big 30 Basketball Hall of Fame will be announced at halftime of the latter game.

Tickets are $5 each, with T-shirts, 50-50 tickets and a raffle to win a foursome at the Big 30 Scholarship Scramble (Monday, July 13, at Bartlett Country Club) also available at the door.

Raudenbush went 108-43 in six seasons as the Lady Gators’ coach, including the 27-2 1996-97 campaign which included Port’s third District 9 Class AA championship and the school’s first PIAA playoff win, before taking over the boys’ squad for the next 12 seasons and compiling an overall record of 271-172.

The way he tells it, it didn’t take him very long to give the game’s organizers an answer:

“I was contacted a few weeks ago by the Big 30 Committee and was asked if I was interested in coaching some of the top senior female players in the area? I couldn’t say YES fast enough! I was very honored and humbled to be part of the first Big 30 Classic Basketball game,” he said. “I have always had a passion for the game as a player and have been fortunate to remain in the game as a coach. I look forward to the game on Sunday to be able to coach these talented players and always find their energy and enthusiasm to be contagious. All of these players have been tested over their careers and have an opportunity to blend their talents with other players to shine one more time.”

Seven of the top eight scorers in the North Tier League, led by Roys (15.6 ppg) and including a pair of 1,000-point-club members Latascia Shadle (Galeton, 15.3 ppg) and Otto-Eldred’s Anna Colebert (13.4), will suit up for the Pennsy team.

Raudenbush, the mentor of the last Port team to win three consecutive North Tier titles, is particularly looking forward to coaching Roys, Buchsenschutz, and Delacour, the trio from the reigning three-time champs.

“I was excited to see our Port Allegany players well represented by the selection committee and to have an opportunity to see them in action,” he said. “It is extremely difficult to three-peat in the NTL- a tribute to their talent and coaching staff!”

Although still active in the PIAA playoffs, Division 1-bound center Nate Sestina and his Cameron County teammate, Keith Spehalski, have accepted invitations to play in the boys’ game. They’ll face a New York team which includes Archbishop Walsh 1,000-point scorer John Watson, as well as Olean High’s Chuckie Martin from the four-time Section VI champs.

Rosters, supplied by game organizer Jim Melaro of the Olean Times Herald:

New York girls: Alyssa Coustenis (Salamanca), Shaina Griffin (Portville), Kasey Kane (Wellsville), Erika Lewis-Ellison (Whitesville), Liz Jablonski (Friendship), Morgan McNeil (Wellsville), Abigail Miller (Andover), Moriah Monroe (Allegany-Limestone), Jordan Pearson (Wellsville), Vanessa Pfeiffer (Franklinville), Meghan Stuck (Bolivar-Richburg), Sydney Wight (Scio).

Former Salamanca coach Colleen Weidman, who guided the Lady Warriors to the New York State Class C title in 1987, will coach the NY girls with the help of Tammy Krotje.

Pennsylvania girls: Somer Buchsenschutz (Port Allegany, 13.4 ppg), Anna Colebert (Otto-Eldred, 13.4), Lynae Delacour (Port Allegany, 8.4), Susie Guisto (Cameron County, 13.2), Rylee Lundgren (Bradford, 10.2), Taylor Morgan (Kane, 9.7), Macy Neureiter (Elk County Catholic, 10.2), Morgan Okerlund (Smethport, 15.1), Brooke Roys (Port Allegany, 15.6), Latascia Shadle (Galeton, 15.3), Julia Sweeney (Elk County Catholic, 9.7), Melody Young (Otto-Eldred, 13.2).

New York boys: Derek Brooks (Houghton), Ben Erickson (Franklinville), Jared Fish (Salamanca), Isaac Hilyer (Portville), Chuckie Martin (Olean High), Jake Nelson (Whitesville), Bryce Morrison (Randolph), Bryce Rumfelt (Andover), John Watson (Archbishop Walsh), Jordan Wonderling (Wellsville), Colton Worthington (Cuba-Rushford), Tyler Zlomek (Genesee Valley).

Long-time Portville and Olean High assistant coach Mike Blask and Mike Moses, another long-time PCS assistant, will coach the New York squad.

Pennsylvania boys: Ryan Boyer (Bradford High), Tyler Cowburn (Northern Potter), Scott Furman (Coudersport), Adam Higby (Sheffield), Zane Hodgdon (Johnsonburg), Ben MacDonald (Ridgway), Zach Reigel (St. Marys Public), Ryan Seelye (Elk County Catholic), Nate Sestina (Cameron County), Keith Spehalski (Cameron County), Mitch Struble (Elk County Catholic), Josh Tennies (Otto-Eldred).

The bench boss for the Pennsylvania boys’ team will be former Bradford Central Christian coach Jim Colestro. He will be assisted by former Bradford High coach Dave Fuhrman.

For more information, visit

Gator girls win D-9 playoff opener

PORT ALLEGANY_A combination of pressure defense and strong frontcourt play proved too much for the visiting Venango Catholic Lady Vikings to handle, as the second-seeded Port Allegany Gators broke open a close game after halftime to claim a 45-35 victory in Thursday night’s District 9 Class A first-round game.

Becca Lathrop took over in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of her game-high 19 points down the stretch as the Gators pulled away for the win. Gabby Drabert added eight and also pulled down eight rebounds, while McKenna Johnson turned in a strong all-around game with six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Lindsay Homan scored 13 and Taylor Moltz 10 to lead No. 7 Venango Catholic.

Port Allegany (20-3) moves on to face No. 3 seed Keystone (19-4), which knocked off No. 6 Coudersport 54-51 last night, in next week’s D-9 semifinals at a time and place to be determined. Top-seeded Clarion (21-3) and No. 5 Johnsonburg (17-6) also advanced with wins on Thursday night, with all four semifinalists guaranteed a trip to the PIAA playoffs.

At Port Allegany, Feb. 21:
Venango Catholic (35)
A. Homan 0 4-4 4, Kuhn 1 0-0 2, L. Homan 5 1-2 13, Guth 2 2-3 6, Moltz 2 5-8 10, Dzieckiasz 0 0-0 0, Niederriter 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10 12-17 35.
Port Allegany (45)
Miller 0 4-10 4, Johnson 0 0-3 0, Drabert 4 0-4 8, Roys 3 2-3 8, Lathrop 9 1-3 19, Buchsenschutz 1 0-0 2, Delacour 1 2-2 4. Totals: 18 9-25 45.

VC_11 17 23 35
PA_8 16 29 45

Three-point baskets: Venango Catholic 3 (L. Homan 2, Moltz), Port Allegany 0. Fouls: Venango Catholic 18, Port Allegany 14. Fouled out: A. Homan, L. Homan.

D-9 Playoffs: Gator girls chomp Red Raiders

Buchsenschutz buzzer-beater stuns Cameron County

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
February 23, 2012

Somer Buchsenschutz collected the pass on the right wing, planted both feet firmly behind the 3-point line, and went up for the final shot of the game, the clock hitting 0:00 and seemingly everyone in the Cameron County gym holding their breath as the basketball spun through the air toward the rim.


And while the stunned Lady Red Raiders players and fans looked on in disbelief, the Port Allegany bench spilled onto the court to celebrate a thrilling 48-45 victory in Tuesday night’s District 9 Class A first-round playoff game.

“We actually set up the play for Somer over the top or Becca Lathrop in the post,” Lady Gators coach Kristina Francis said of the game-winner, drawn up during a timeout with 0:03.8 remaining. “One shot, and one shot’s what we did, and it counted.”

For Cameron County coach Dave Sullivan, who saw his seventh-seeded team’s season end in a home-court upset to No. 10 Port Allegany (14-9) after sweeping the North Tier League series for the second year in a row, the loss would have been tough enough to take without having it happen on a long-range missile at the buzzer.

“We battled back, but we let her shoot a 3-pointer,” he said. “We thought they were going to go inside to 40 (Lathrop), who had a great game, and try to draw a foul or something. So we stayed in, and the shot went in.”

He shrugged. “It was a good shot. What are you going to do?”

Sullivan’s strategy would have been hard to argue after watching Lathrop pour in nine of her game-high 18 points in a frantic fourth quarter featuring five ties and four lead changes. The sophomore forward also pulled down 11 rebounds, notching a double-double in a performance the Lady Gators desperately needed after losing fellow post player Rachel Taylor to an ankle injury midway through the first quarter.

They also needed every bit of what they got from Buchsenschutz, whose seven points also included calmly drilling a pair of free throws to stake Port to a 45-43 lead with 0:25 left, 14 seconds before Brooke Dunsmore’s driving layup for the Lady Red Raiders would tie the score for the final time.

No pressure on the freshman, right?

“That was a harder shot than the 3-pointer, I’ll tell you,” Francis said. “With the noise, for her to sink those two, those were just as important as the 3-pointer. We could have probably – maybe – done a little overtime, but it was good to be finished.”

Bonus basketball wouldn’t have seemed likely two minutes into the third quarter, as two free throws and a short jumper by Jordan Edgell helped extend a five-point Lady Gator halftime margin to 32-23 before Cameron County (16-7) began chipping away at the lead. Olivia Guisto scored four of her team-best 11 points during a 9-0 Lady Red Raider run, with fellow senior Kayla Zoschg draining a jumper just before the end of the period to knot the score at 32.

That’s when Lathrop took over, tallying the Lady Gators’ next nine points as the lead changed hands on nearly every trip across center court. Cameron County moved in front for the final time midway through the period on a layup by Kiley Lewis, who finished the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds. A putback by Edgell, Port’s second-leading scorer with eight points, made it 43-41 Lady Gators at the two-minute mark. With both teams scrambling to keep the season alive, the next 90 seconds featured a flurry of turnovers and held balls before Susie Guisto hit a pair of foul shots to tie the score yet again, setting up Buchsenschutz’s last-second heroics.

Afterward, Francis needed a moment to put her thoughts into words.

“I’m speechless,” she said. “I don’t cry, and those girls put me to tears. They really have been working so hard this season, and to see … I feel awful for Cameron County and their seniors, but it was the best situation for us as far as having to play them the the third time. And when Rachel went down, these younger girls stepped up. The leadership was there. And that was a big shot.

“We talked about the runs, we talked about battling with them – and it feels good to be on the winning side of a 3-pointer instead of the losing side of a 3-pointer this time around,” she added with a smile.

“I’m so proud of them, I’m just speechless … but I’m not content. We’re going to forget about the win tomorrow and start gameplanning for Thursday. We’re just going to go at it. Gotta see when we can get in the gym tomorrow.”

The Lady Gators will face a stiff challenge on Thursday, heading south to St. Marys to face No. 2 seed and Allegheny Mountain League champion Elk County Catholic in a 7 p.m. tipoff on ECC’s home court. The Lady Crusaders (21-3) don’t have a single go-to scorer, instead relying on a quartet of players averaging more than seven points per game. According to statistics provided by, 5-9 junior center Taylor DaCanal and 5-8 senior forward Lexie Meholic lead the way at 9.0 ppg apiece, with 5-7 senior forward Abby Petrosky chipping in 8.3 and 5-6 junior guard Kristy Hanes 7.6 for a team whose only losses were to Class AAA schools Bradford and St. Marys Public. To make matters worse, Port will likely be without Taylor, its second-leading scorer.

But for one night, anyway, there was time to savor this win. Glancing toward the happy Lady Gators and their fans milling around on the court, Francis concluded:

“They deserve it.”

At Emporium, Feb. 21:
Port Allegany (48)

Miller 0 0-0 0, Edgell 3 2-2 8, Li. Delacour 1 2-2 4, Lathrop 7 4-8 18, Taylor 0 1-2 1, Buchsenschutz 2 2-2 7, Woodruff 1 0-0 2, Drabert 1 2-4 4, Johnson 1 0-2 2, Ly. Delacour 1 0-5 2. Totals: 17 13-27 48.
Cameron County (45)
Dunsmore 2 4-7 8, Sullivan 1 0-0 2, O. Guisto 4 3-4 11, Lewis 4 2-2 10, Zoschg 3 0-0 6, Ramsey 1 0-3 3, Burfield 1 0-0 2, S. Guisto 0 3-6 3, Slusarick 0 0-0 0, Younkin 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 12-22 45.

Port Allegany 8 26 32 48
Cameron County 7 21 32 45

Three-point baskets: Port Allegany 1 (Buchsenschutz), Cameron County 1 (Ramsey). Fouls: Port Allegany 21, Cameron County 23. Fouled out: none.

Other first-round scores:
No. 4 Coudersport (19-3) 39, No. 13 Austin (10-13) 21
No. 5 Kane (19-6) 51, No. 12 Allegheny-Clarion Valley (10-13) 33
No. 6 Smethport (18-5) 38, No. 11 Venango Catholic (13-10) 27
No. 8 East Forest (16-7) 48, No. 9 Johnsonburg (13-10) 35

Thursday’s Quarterfinals:
East Forest at No. 1 Keystone (22-1), 7 p.m.
Port Allegany at No. 2 Elk County Catholic (21-3), 7 p.m.
Smethport at No. 3 Clarion (19-3), 7 p.m.
Kane at Coudersport, 7 p.m.

D-9 Girls Basketball Quarterfinals: Union 47, Port Allegany 37

Lipps, Winchester rescue Damsels as Lady Gators’ upset bid falls short

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
March 3, 2011

Two minutes into the third quarter of Saturday afternoon’s District IX Class A quarterfinal game at Union, Kyley Mickle drained a jumper from the right wing, and the hometown fans sat in stunned disbelief as the 10th-seeded Port Allegany Lady Gators took a 31-20 lead over their second-seeded Golden Damsels.

From there, though, it was all Union as the Damsels, who shot an ice-cold 5-for-26 from the field in the first half, suddenly started to find their range. With Port’s inside duo of Rachel Taylor and Renee Edgell mired in game-long foul trouble, a series of trips to the free-throw line helped chip into the lead, and the last of Sierra Smith’s four three-pointers brought the crowd to life and put the Golden Damsels ahead to stay early in the fourth quarter of their 47-37 victory.

“We had the first half, but there’s four quarters of basketball, and they played the better quarter at the end,” Lady Gators coach Kristina Francis said.
Continue reading “D-9 Girls Basketball Quarterfinals: Union 47, Port Allegany 37”

D-9 Playoffs: Third time’s the charm for Lady Gators

Mickle scores 25 as Lady Gators raid CC, advance to face No. 2 Union

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
February 24, 2011

The first two times the Port Allegany girls basketball team faced Cameron County, the Red Raiders won with defense, holding Port well below its season average in each game.

Not this time.

Kyley Mickle poured in 25 points, including 10 from the free-throw line, and the 10th-seeded Lady Gators sprinted out to a 21-4 first-quarter lead on the way to a 47-37 victory over No. 7 Cameron County in Tuesday night’s District 9 playoff opener at Emporium. Continue reading “D-9 Playoffs: Third time’s the charm for Lady Gators”

District 9 basketball playoffs: Union 65, Port A 44

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
February 26, 2009

When the District 9 boys’ basketball playoff pairings were released, last Wednesday night’s game between seventh-seeded Port Allegany and No. 10 Union promised an intriguing contrast between the Knights’ fast-paced, high-scoring offense, led by 1,000-point scorer Scott Booth, and a stout Gator defense allowing a district-low 42.4 points per game.

As it turned out, an old adage was proven true: speed kills. Despite a relatively quiet night for Booth, who picked up his third foul early in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the half, the Knights lit up the scoreboard in the Port High gym en route to a 65-44 upset, earning a rematch with KSAC North Division foe Keystone in Friday’s quarterfinals.

“I knew coming in that they really get the ball up and down the floor, and it was going to be a key for us to be able to get back and be able to get out defense set up. Their speed was just a little too much for us,” Port coach Bob Raudenbush admitted afterward.

The visitors caused several early Port turnovers, taking advantage of them to open up a quick 10-2 lead halfway through the first quarter and force a quick timeout by Raudenbush. The Gators settled down after that, cutting the Union advantage to 17-12 on Greg Gustin’s driving layup just before the end of the first quarter.

Part of Port’s game plan was to take the ball right at Booth and try to get him in foul trouble, and it worked, as the junior guard/forward went to the bench just 1:04 into the second period. But the Gators missed both free throws – a common occurrence, as the team shot 0-for-6 early on and finished the game 2-for-10 at the line. And at the other end, the Union offense didn’t seem to miss a beat without their star player, extending the lead to 32-20 at the half.

“We have some good players, but when Scott’s in there, they look for him more. When he’s not in there, someone else has to shoot it. Not that I want Scott on the bench, but when he is on the bench, I think it actually helps our team at times. It gives us more confidence, makes the kids feel more secure with themselves,” Union coach Karen Davis said.

The third quarter belonged to Knights guard Zach Smith, who scored 10 of his game-high 19 points in the period.

“He had a great third quarter. Every time he shot the ball, it didn’t look like it was going to get there – I kept yelling, ‘Short!’ and it went swish. He played an excellent game. He’s a good little shooter, and he’s quick. Sometimes he gets mad because I tell him not to pass the ball as much as he does, because he does have a nice shot,” Davis said.

The Gators kept working hard, but with Union’s 2-1-2 defense cutting off their normal dribble-and-drive moves on the baseline, they struggled to score. Co-captains Bryce Healy and Josh Guerrero paced the team with 14 points apiece and Gustin chipped in with 12, the three senior starters ending their careers by scoring all but four of Port’s 44-point total. Healy added 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals to notch the final double-double of his high school career.

“They did a good job packing their zone in and taking away our size,” Raudenbush said. “They gave us perimeter shots, but we just didn’t make them. That’s not our game. We’re not a three-point shooting team – this was probably by far the most three-point shots we took all year – but that’s what they gave us. Either force it in there, and if it’s not there, you’re just turning it over. So we took what they gave us, but unfortunately, we just weren’t making shots and they were pushing it up on defense. That’s a good recipe for a win on their part.”

Union led by 15 points after three, and when they pushed the margin to 20 midway through the fourth quarter, Raudenbush knew his team was in trouble.

“We don’t really score a lot of points; our defense keeps us in games, and that’s what wins games for us. When we get behind by double figures, it’s tough for us to come back,” he said.

Then, switching his focus to Union, he added, “They have a good squad; they’re real quick, and handle the ball well … Give credit where credit’s due. They played a great game, and that’s why they’re moving on.”

He concluded, “We still had a good season. I told the kids in the locker room, we were in most of the losses. We could have had a great season with a couple of breaks.”

Union (65)
Smith 8 0-0 19, Anthony 2 3-3 7, Mortimer 2 5-10 10, Scott 3 2-6 8, Booth 6 3-4 16, Pollock 2 0-0 5. Totals: 23 13-23 65.
Port Allegany (44)
Middleton 0 0-0 0, Gustin 6 0-3 12, Healy 6 1-4 14, Kline 1 0-0 2, Guerrero 6 1-3 14, Gleason 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 2-10 44.
Union 17 32 52 65
Port A 12 20 37 44
Three-point goals: Union 6 (Smith 3, Pollock, Booth), Port 2 (Healy, Guerrero). Total fouls: Union 10, Port 16. Fouled out: Healy.

PAHS basketball roundup: 2/19/09

“Senior Night” was an appropriate title for the Port Allegany boys’ basketball game last Tuesday evening. After a pregame ceremony to honor the players and cheerleaders who are completing their final season at Port High, the Class of 2009 scored all but seven points in the Gators’ 44-35 victory, keeping them from being upset by an undermanned Otto-Eldred squad.

“What a really good group of kids,” Gators coach Bob Raudenbush said afterward. “They’re best friends, and I think that carries into how they support each other in athletics. I don’t think they care who does the scoring, or who’s in the paper the next day, it’s how WE did. You look to your seniors for leadership, and they have provided it. That’s why we’re where we’re at … Our seniors have set the tone, and everyone else has shown the leadership to respond to them.”

One of those seniors, Josh Guerrero, led all scorers with 17 points. Classmate Bryce Healy chipped in with 10 and added five rebounds, including two critical ones in the final two minutes, when O-E had fought its way back from an 18-point deficit to make it a two-possession game.

After Shawn Barnish’s fourth basket of the quarter cut the Gators’ lead to 40-35 with 3:00 remaining, Healy pulled down the rebound on the Terrors’ next shot. From there, the Gators worked the clock before another senior, Greg Gustin, got open underneath for a layup to give the home team a little breathing room as the clock ticked under a minute. O-E point guard Jeff Stebbins quickly brought the ball upcourt, but Healy was again in perfect position to clear the glass on the missed shot, dribbling until the Terrors fouled him so they could call time out with :36.6 left. When play resumed, Healy broke to the basket to cap the scoring with another layup, and the Gators secured their ninth consecutive win on their home court.

The Terrors made their fourth-quarter run despite dressing just seven players and missing several – including the North Tier League’s leading scorer, Wayne Taylor – to injury or illness. Asked how his depleted team managed to stay in the game against a far deeper Gator squad, coach Lance Baker said, “I’m very pleased with that. I told the players, ‘Don’t ever hang your heads over this one.’” Barnish led O-E with 12 points; Preston Woods added 10 and Stebbins nine for the visitors.

“I thought Otto’s kids played well, considering they were down a few kids,” Raudenbush said. “They made a nice push at the end to cut it to five, but I thought our kids responded well and got some big buckets inside.”

Port tuned up for the District 9 playoffs with a 48-28 win over Northern Potter in Thursday’s regular-season finale, clinching second place in the NTL behind league champion Cameron County. Healy (13 points) and Gustin (10) hit double figures for the Gators, who rolled out to a 23-point lead at the end of the third quarter before cruising to the win.

Port’s 15-6 overall record was good enough to earn the seventh seed, with 10th-seeded Union (14-8) visiting for a first-round game on Wednesday night as this issue of the newspaper goes to press. The matchup will feature contrasting styles, as a stingy Gators defense allowing a district-low 42.4 points per game attempts to slow down guard Scott Booth, already a 1,000-point scorer in his junior season, and the Golden Knights’ fourth-ranked offense (61.8 ppg).

The winner of the Port Allegany-Union game will travel to Knox on Friday, Feb. 20, to take on KSAC champion Keystone (21-2), the No. 2 seed, in a 7 p.m. tipoff on the Panthers’ home court.

“It’s been a good run, and hopefully we can close it out here,” Raudenbush said. “Great group of kids. They’ve worked hard – summer leagues, a lot of those AYBT tournaments, traveling to Harrisburg and Williamsport – and they deserve what they’re getting.”

At Port Allegany, 2/10:
Otto-Eldred (35)
Jordan 1 0-0 3, Barnish 4 2-2 12, Woods 5 0-0 10, Stebbins 3 0-0 9, Hauber 0 1-2 1. Totals: 13 3-4 35.
Port Allegany (44)
Gustin 4 0-0 8, Gleason 1 0-0 2, Healy 4 2-2 10, Fabish 0 0-0 0, Guerrero 8 0-1 17, Middleton 0 2-4 2, Kline 1 0-0 3, Lowery 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19 4-7 44.
OE 7 13 21 35
PA 16 23 37 44
Three-point goals: O-E 6 (Stebbins 3, Barnish 2, Jordan), Port 2 (Kline , Guerrero). Fouls: O-E 12, Port 11. Fouled out: Woods.
JV: Port Allegany, 43-35

At Port Allegany, 2/12:
Northern Potter (28)
Grimes 3 4-8 12, Turton 1 2-2 4, Ransom 1 0-0 2, Palys 3 2-2 10, McCutcheon 0 0-2 0. Totals: 8 8-14 28.
Port Allegany (48)
Middleton 2 0-0 4, Gustin 4 2-2 10, Healy 3 7-11 13, Kline 3 0-0 7, Guerrero 2 0-1 5, Gleason 1 0-0 2, Parana 0 0-4 0, Fabish 2 0-0 5, Lowery 0 2-2 2, Miles 0 0-1 0. Totals: 17 11-21 48.
NP 5 11 18 28
PA 14 27 41 48
Three-point goals: NP 4 (Grimes 2, Palys 2), Port 3 (Kline, Guerrero, Fabish). Total fouls: NP 17, Port 14. Fouled out: Turton.
JV: Port Allegany, 48-28

The Lady Gators’ final two games were a microcosm of their up-and-down season, with coach Kristina Francis’ squad earning an unexpected road win before suffering a disappointing Senior Night loss.

On Monday, Port surprised a playoff-bound Otto-Eldred team, jumping out to an eight-point halftime lead and holding on to post a 59-51 victory, earning a split in the season series. Shanel Halle poured in a game-high 21 points in the win, with Kaitlyn Kio (18) and Jenn Anderson (12 points, 16 rebounds) also lighting up the scoreboard for the Lady Gators.

“We showed up to play, and we were on the stick from the get-go,” Francis said. “We executed as a team; we were taking it to the hole and playing great defense. Everyone pitched in – we had three girls in double figures – and it was just a great team effort.”

Unfortunately, the team couldn’t carry that momentum into the final game of the season against Northern Potter on Wednesday. Although the game was tied 17-17 at the half, NoPo’s size advantage gave Port problems inside all game long, and when Halle headed to the bench with her fourth foul just before the end of the third quarter, the Lady Panthers took advantage of her absence to pull ahead.

The game came down to free throws in the final period: Northern Potter made 8-of-12 attempts in the quarter, Port misfired on 10-of-11, and a late Lady Gator rally fell short.

Junior forward Tristin Rounds led all scorers with 16 points for the Lady Panthers.

“It was a good way to end the season, especially with the kind of season we’ve been having,” said Northern Potter coach Robb Cowburn.

A disappointed Francis said, “We had opportunities to close the game and to take the lead back, but when you can’t make free throws and you can’t finish … The opportunities were there; it was up to us to execute.”

Anderson scored a team-high 13 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, finishing her Port High career on a strong note with her second double-double in a row. Kio added eight boards and four steals for the Lady Gators, who finish the season at 9-12, 6-8 in the North Tier League.

“Overall, it’s been a learning season, and hopefully we’re going to take our bumps from this season and be able to improve and look at what we need to do to be better next year,” Francis concluded.

At Duke Center, 2/9:
Port Allegany (59)
K. Drabert 1 0-2 3, Reinard 2 0-2 4, Kio 8 2-3 18, Halle 6 7-11 21, Anderson 3 6-10 12, B. Drabert 0 1-2 1. Totals: 20 16-31 59.
Otto-Eldred (51)
Beckwith 3 0-1 6, Thomas 5 2-2 12, Robbins 0 1-4 1, Wilkins 6 2-3 15, Price 4 0-0 8, Cochran 1 0-0 3, York 3 0-0 6. Totals: 22 5-10 51.
PA 16 28 44 59
OE 8 20 39 51
Three-point goals: Port 3 (Halle 2, K. Drabert), O-E 2 (Wilkins, Cochran). Fouls: Port 9, O-E 18. Fouled out: Beckwith.
JV: Port Allegany, 34-26

At Port Allegany, 2/11:
Northern Potter (47)
J. Martin 2 1-2 6, Riley 0 0-0 0, Furman 3 1-2 7, Hess 1 0-0 2, Rounds 6 4-9 16, O. Martin 1 2-2 4, Potter 6 0-0 12. Totals: 19 8-15 47.
Port Allegany (42)
K. Drabert 1 0-0 2, Reinard 3 3-10 9, Kio 1 3-4 5, Halle 1 1-2 3, Anderson 6 1-4 13, Middleton 0 0-1 0, Mickle 3 0-3 8, Edgell 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 8-24 42.
NP 6 17 27 47
PA 8 17 25 42
Three-point goals: NP 1 (J. Martin), Port 2 (Mickle 2). Fouls: NP 19, Port 19. Fouled out: Hess, Halle.
JV: Port Allegany, 34-24

PAHS basketball roundup: 2/12/09

Last week’s North Tier League schedule brought mixed results for the Gator basketball team, but despite suffering their first loss since the beginning of January, Port remained in second place at the end of the week.

On Tuesday, the Gators traveled to Smethport to take on a suddenly-hot Hubbers team that had won four of its last five games. Port could never quite pull away from the Hubs (9-11, 7-5 NTL), but managed to come home with a 49-41 victory to sweep the season series. Bryce Healy scored a game-high 14 points and Lucas Kline added 13 in the win.

“Smethport’s been playing well – they knocked off Oswayo the other night,” Gators coach Bob Raudenbush pointed out. “It was good for us to have a tight game; we really hadn’t had a tight game other than Cameron County. It was good to feel that pressure – and we definitely felt some pressure over there.”

The veteran Port mentor got all the pressure he could have asked for and then some in his team’s next game, a road trip to Coudersport. Coming out of a halftime tie, the Falcons (9-10, 6-6 NTL) forged a nine-point lead in the third quarter, then withstood a furious comeback to snap the Gators’ eight-game winning streak with a 44-42 victory despite double-figure scoring efforts from Healy (13 points), Josh Guerrero (12, including a game-tying 3-pointer in the final minute), and Greg Gustin (10).

“Coudy just played an excellent game against us,” Raudenbush said. “They forced us into 20 turnovers. We still battled back and had a good shot at the end, but that was a tough one – it kind of took the wind out of our sails.”

A non-league makeup game against Ridgway on Saturday offered the Gators a chance to quickly bounce back from the Coudersport loss, and they took advantage of the opportunity with a 63-40 win to improve their record to 13-6 overall, 9-3 in the NTL.

“Actually, that score is a little deceiving,” Raudenbush said. “We’d go up by maybe 12, then they’d cut it to seven. It was a game until midway through the fourth quarter, when we were finally able to take that 10-12 point lead and extend it to 18-20. We had to play four quarters, which is good. We need tough games to get us ready for districts.”

Guerrero notched a double-double in the win, scoring 10 points and adding 10 rebounds and seven steals against the Elkers (3-16). Healy led the team with 14 points, and Kline (12) and Denzel Middleton (10) also contributed to a balanced Port offense.

The Gators play their final league games this week before the District 9 playoffs begin, hosting Otto-Eldred for Senior Night on Tuesday before wrapping up the regular season at Northern Potter on Thursday. Gustin, Healy, Guerrero, Terry Gleason, and Chris Fabish will all step onto their home court for the last time against the Terrors.

“The district standings are really tight, so every game is crucial right now,” Raudenbush said before adding, “Hopefully we’ll keep it going and get back on another roll. I told the kids, ‘Let’s start another streak.’”

At Smethport, 2/3:
Port Allegany (49)
Middleton 0 0-0 0, Gustin 1 3-3 5, Gleason 2 0-0 4, Healy 6 2-5 14, Parana 2 0-1 4, Kline 4 3-4 13, Guerrero 3 3-8 9. Totals: 18 11-21 49.
Smethport (41)
Doutt 3 5-6 14, Keech 4 0-0 10, VanGor 1 0-0 2, Alfieri 3 0-0 6, Cooney 2 1-1 5, Corbitt 0 0-2 0, Lord 1 0-0 2, Okerlund 1 0-0 2. Totals: 15 6-9 41.
PA 8 21 33 49
S 4 15 25 41
Three-point goals: Port 2 (Kline 2), Smethport 5 (Doutt 3, Keech 2). Total fouls: Port 11, Smethport 22. Fouled out: Alfieri.
JV: Smethport, 34-32.

At Coudersport, 2/5:
Port Allegany (42)
Middleton 2-1-2 5, Gustin 4 2-4 10, Healy 5 3-4 13, Kline 1 0-0 2, Guerrero 2 6-8 12. Totals: 14 12-20 42.
Coudersport (44)
Mickle 3 2-4 8, Wolfinger 2 2-3 7, Babcock 1 2-2 5, Minor 3 1-2 7, McCusker 5 0-0 11, Dupont 2 0-0 4, Gerhart 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 7-11 44.
PA 11 19 26 42
C 7 19 35 44
Three-point goals: Port 2 (Guerrero 2), Coudy 3 (Wolfinger, McCusker, Babcock). Total fouls: Port 18, Coudy 14. Fouled out: none.
JV: Port Allegany won.

At Port Allegany, 2/7:
Ridgway (40)
Sheasley 0 2-4 2, Renaud 4 1-2 12, Jaques 3 2-2 9, Aiello 2 0-0 6, Lundin 2 2-3 6, Schutz 0 0-2 0, Lundgren 1 1-2 3, Oknefski 0 2-2 2. Totals: 12 10-17 40.
Port Allegany (63)
Middleton 5 0-1 10, Gustin 4 1-2 9, Gleason 2 1-2 5, Healy 5 4-5 14, Kline 5 1-5 12, Bricker 0 2-2 2, Guerrero 4 1-6 10. Totals: 25 10-23 63.
R 10 17 32 40
PA 13 28 42 63
Three-point goals: Ridgway 6 (Renaud 3, Aiello 2, Jaques), Port 3 (Kline 2, Guerrero). Total fouls: Ridgway 16, Port 20. Fouled out: none.
JV: Ridgway, 48-27

The Lady Gators also split a pair of North Tier League games last week, trouncing Smethport 63-29 Monday night before falling to league-leading Coudersport 61-46 on Thursday. (The Port-Smethport box score appeared in last week’s Reporter Argus.)

“I thought the Smethport game would be a good boost, give us some confidence going into tonight,” coach Kristina Francis said following the Coudy game. “We played really well as a team, passed and shot well, and the girls had fun. It’s nice to see them having fun playing basketball, because ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.”

Despite continuing to battle what Francis called a “tender knee,” Shanel Halle led all scorers with 16 points, and fellow junior Kaitlyn Kio chipped in 15 to help the Lady Gators defeat their archrivals for the third time this season.

On Thursday, Coudersport served up more evidence that they remain the top team in the league, pushing their NTL record to a perfect 12-0 (18-2 overall). Port didn’t make it easy for the Lady Falcons, fighting back from a 29-16 second-quarter deficit to cut the lead to 31-22 at the half, but the Coudy fast break eventually proved too much to handle.

“Their ball-handling skills and their ability to see the court are superior to ours,” Francis admitted. “They’re off to the races every time they touch the ball, and we’re just a step behind.”

“The kids played hard,” said Falcons coach Brian Green. “But it’s a rivalry game, and Port’s girls stepped up and played hard, which they did the last time and I expected this time. We don’t normally play well over here, so I’m happy we’re going home with the win.”

Super sophomore Jenna Matzinger poured in 20 points for Coudy to lead all scorers, while Amarae Reinard paced the Lady Gators with 14.

“Amarae has really stepped up her game the last half of the season, just working hard and making some things happen,” Francis said.

Entering the week with an 8-11 record (5-7 NTL), Port won’t be competing in the District 9 playoffs, so their season ends with a trip to Otto-Eldred on Monday before the Senior Night finale against Northern Potter on Wednesday.

Francis explained, “We’re young, but at the same time, I think we need to work on some things before we can show up and be competitive for a district title.”
Two seniors, co-captains Kari Drabert and Jenn Anderson, will be honored before the Northern Potter game.

At Port Allegany, 2/5:
Coudersport (61)
Bohn 1 0-0 2, McCusker 5 4-5 14, Brown 4 1-2 9, Matzinger 8 3-3 20, Kelley 4 0-0 8, Fink 3 0-0 6, Cowburn 1 0-0 2. Totals: 26 8-10 61.
Port Allegany (46)
B. Drabert 0 0-0 0, Reinard 6 2-3 14, Kio 1 1-2 3, Halle 3 1-2 7, Anderson 1 0-0 2, Middleton 4 0-0 9, Bova 4 0-0 8, Mickle 1 1-3 3. Totals: 20 5-10 46.
C 21 31 50 61
PA 8 22 34 46
Three-point goals: Coudy 1 (Matzinger), Port 1 (Middleton). Total fouls: Coudy 12, Port 13. Fouled out: Kio.
JV: Coudy, 57-41.

PAHS sports roundup: 2/5/09

Boys basketball:
Judging by the results of the first meeting between Oswayo Valley and Port Allegany – a two-point Green Wave win in Shinglehouse – one could reasonably expect another close game in last Thursday’s rematch, with second place in the North Tier League at stake.

Instead, building on an eight-point halftime lead, the Gators blew the game wide open in the third quarter. The NTL’s stingiest defense held OV to just four points and set up several fast-break buckets, opening up a 46-25 lead by the end of the period, and never led by fewer than 20 points in the final eight minutes as they rolled to a 66-39 win – their seventh in a row – to remain a half-game behind league-leading Cameron County.

Afterward, Port coach Bob Raudenbush admitted he was surprised by the margin of victory. “We’re banged up a little bit, but you wouldn’t have known it. The kids played with a lot of heart. The two things we needed to do were defend well and then rebound, and I thought we did a good job with that. (OV forward Joe) Carson is a great player in the league, and I thought Greg (Gustin) did a good job of making him work. A good team effort. Good team defense, good team rebounding,” he said.

Lucas Kline poured in a game-high 17 points and added four steals, while Josh Guerrero (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Gustin (12 points, 13 rebounds) contributed double-doubles and Bryce Healy added 13 points and seven boards to a balanced Gator offense. For the Green Wave (12-5, 7-3), C.J. Sebastian (12 points) and Orion Bernard (10) each hit double figures. Carson, held scoreless in the first half, spent part of the second quarter on the bench with three fouls and finished the game with five points, well below his team-leading average.

Although his team headed into the locker room with a 29-21 lead, Raudenbush knew they couldn’t afford a letdown. “I was concerned in the first half; I thought we missed too many inside shots,” he said. “You always feel like that’s going to come back and maybe haunt you in the second half, but it didn’t. The kids stayed focused for four quarters. I thought that was a big part of why we were successful. That’s a good sign of senior leadership, a senior-laden team. They’ve been down that road before, and they know how to respond.”

Two of those seniors, Gustin and Guerrero, owned the boards after halftime to kick-start the Gators’ fast break. With many OV turnovers and missed shots leading to uncontested layups at the other end of the court, the lead ballooned to 15, then 20, then 25. With 2:30 remaining in the final quarter and both coaches preparing to clear their benches, Guerrero’s crowd-pleasing behind-the-back pass to Healy for another layup added an exclamation point to the win.

“We just didn’t show up tonight. I guess I have to take that on my shoulders as a coach,” Green Wave coach Clark Cummings said of his squad, which was held under 40 points for the first time this season. “We came out flat, and Port played great and made things hard for us on the defensive end. Joe going out early didn’t help us by any stretch, but Port has been playing really well for the last two or three weeks. I told my guys that they were the hottest team in the league – maybe even the district – and they showed it tonight. They played well in all aspects of the game and we really struggled, so my hat goes off to Bob and those guys for having their kids ready to go.”

To earn a shot at the NTL title, Port, now 11-5 (8-2), has to keep winning and hope that one of the remaining teams on Cameron County’s schedule can upset the Red Raiders. True to form, Raudenbush is more concerned with his own team than the out-of-town scoreboard. “I just told the kids, ‘One game at a time.’ We can only do what we can. So we’ll have fun with it, and let the chips fall where they may,” he concluded.

Earlier in the week, the team tuned up for the Oswayo Valley game with a convincing 73-46 win in Austin. Gustin led all scorers with 20 points, while Healy and Guerrero each added 15.

The Gators are on the road this week, visiting Smethport on Tuesday and Coudersport on Thursday. A home non-league game against Ridgway, postponed from Dec. 19, will be made up on Saturday, Feb. 7.

At Austin, 1/27:
Port Allegany (73)
Middleton 3 0-3 6, Gustin 9 2-3 20, Healy 7 0-0 15, Kline 0 0-2 0, Guerrero 6 3-4 15, Gleason 2 2-5 6, Parana 2 1-4 5, Lowery 3 0-0 6. Totals: 32 8-21 73.
Austin (46)
Cheplic 3 5-9 11, Valenti 4 0-0 10, Ripple 4 0-0 8, Dieffenderfer 2 1-1 5, Earle 2 0-0 4, Dynda 1 0-0 3, Nichols 2 0-0 5. Totals: 18 6-10 46.
PA 23 44 65 73
A 10 17 28 46
Three-point goals: Port 1 (Healy), Austin 4 (Valenti 2, Dynda, Nichols). Total fouls: Port 9, Austin 12. Fouled out: none.
JV: Port Allegany won

At Port Allegany, 1/29:
Oswayo Valley (39)
Bernard 4 0-0 10, Nolan 1 0-1 2, Carson 1 3-5 5, Sebastian 5 1-2 12, Stanley 0 0-0 0, Jandrew 2 2-2 6, Goss 1 0-0 2, Prince 1 0-0 2. Totals: 15 6-10 39.
Port Allegany (66)
Middleton 0 0-1 0, Gustin 6 0-0 12, Healy 6 1-1 13, Kline 6 3-3 17, Guerrero 7 0-2 14, Gleason 3 0-0 6, Parana 1 0-0 2, Lowery 1 0-0 2. Totals: 30 4-7 66.
OV 9 21 25 39
PA 12 29 46 66
Three-point goals: OV 3 (Bernard 2, Sebastian), PA 2 (Kline 2). Total fouls: OV 16, PA 13. Fouled out: none.
JV: Port Allegany, 61-47

Girls basketball:
The Lady Gators visited Shinglehouse last Friday night, earning a solid 61-43 win over Oswayo Valley. Shanel Halle scored 17 points to lead the team, with Kari Drabert and Renee Edgell each chipping in 11 to get Port back on the winning track.

They ran into an opponent too tough to handle the next night, though, as Austin came to Port Allegany intent on staying tied with Otto-Eldred for second place in the North Tier League, and headed back to Potter County with a 59-38 victory.

However, Port didn’t make it easy for them, at least in the first half. After a 9-0 Lady Gator run tied the score at 19 midway through the second quarter and put two starters on the bench in foul trouble, veteran Lady Panthers coach Dick Logue decided it was time to settle his team down. “We gave them a little talking-to there; I called a timeout and told them to be patient. We can’t fault Port for their up-tempo defense – we were a step behind them,” he said.

He turned to Erika Boucher, who normally gets most of her playing time with the junior varsity. The freshman guard delivered, draining a 3-pointer to break the deadlock and finishing the first half with 11 of her 13 points as the visitors began to ever so slightly pull away, taking a 26-19 lead into the break.

“She couldn’t miss all game. You know, you have those nights,” Francis said. “We played a triangle-and-two on (Whitney) Crosby and (Katelyn) Valenti, and we held them to five and seven, but their teammates stepped it up.

“But that’s our gameplan,” she explained. “We said if we’re going to give up shots, it’s going to be to someone other than those two girls. Unfortunately, it’s give and take.”

Meanwhile, the home team couldn’t find the basket until deep into the second half, and the Lady Panthers extended their lead to 44-19 before Kyley Mickle’s 3-pointer finally ended the 25-0 run with 6:15 remaining in the game. Afterward, Francis said she couldn’t remember ever being shut out for an entire quarter before.

“We’ve struggled with our shooting overall this season. At times, we can’t overcome the hump, can’t put an easy bucket in to get the momentum going, and there was nothing there for us in the third quarter,” she said.

“We changed our defense around to come out in the second half – I think that helped a lot – and we also stepped up our offense,” Logue said of his Lady Panthers, who improved to 15-2 (7-2) with the win. “You know, this is a funny game, and I know Port can play very well. We came over here with the intent that it was going to be a great ballgame, and it was looking that way.”

With three regular-season games left on the schedule, Francis still hopes to finish over .500, but acknowledges that games against Coudersport and at Otto-Eldred will make it a difficult task to accomplish.

The Lady Gators kept that goal in sight on Monday night, rebounding from the Austin game with a dominating 63-29 win over visiting Smethport. Halle scored a game-high 16 points and Kaitlyn Kio added 15 as Port ran out to a 35-12 halftime lead over the Lady Hubbers, then cruised to the comfortable victory. Now 8-10 (5-6), the team returns to action on Thursday night when Coudy brings its gaudy 16-2 (10-0) record to the Port Allegany gym.

At Shinglehouse, 1/30:
Port Allegany (61)
Middleton 2 0-4 4, K. Drabert 3 3-4 11, B. Drabert 1 0-0 3, Reinard 1 1-6 3, Kio 2 3-4 7, Halle 6 3-8 17, Edgell 3 5-7 11, Anderson 2 1-1 5. Totals: 20 16-34 61.
Oswayo Valley (43)
Graham 1 0-2 2, Cornelius 4 2-6 11, Costello 0 3-4 3, Rix 5 1-2 12, George 5 3-5 13, Warriner 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 9-17 43.
PA 14 23 39 61
OV 7 17 27 43
Three-point goals: Port 5 (K. Drabert 2, Halle 2, B. Drabert), OV 2 (Cornelius, Rix). Total fouls: Port A 16, OV 22. Fouled out: Rix.
JV: Port Allegany, 42-21

At Port Allegany, 1/31:
Austin (58)
Crosby 2 1-2 5, Stuckey 9 0-0 18, Gordnier 1 0-0 2, Wambaugh 5 1-2 11, Valenti 3 1-2 7, Ritsick 0 1-2 1, Boucher 6 0-0 13, Kio 0 1-1 1. Totals: 26 5-10 58.
Port Allegany (39)
B. Drabert 1 0-0 2, Reinard 1 2-2 4, Kio 3 2-2 8, Halle 0 0-2 0, Anderson 1 0-0 2, Middleton 2 1-3 5, K. Drabert 1 0-0 2, Bova 1 0-0 2, Mickle 2 0-0 6, Edgell 2 4-5 8. Totals: 14 9-14 39.
A 9 26 39 58
PA 8 19 19 39
Three-point goals: Austin 1 (Boucher), Port 2 (Mickle 2). Total fouls: Austin 18, Port 10. Fouled out: none.
JV: Austin, 46-45

At Port Allegany, 2/2:
Smethport (29)
Cunningham 1 1-4 3, Nielsen 4 0-0 8, Shelley 3 0-3 6, Zylinski 1 0-2 2, Stratton 2 2-2 6, Hughes 1 0-0 2, Herzog 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 3-11 29.
Port Allegany (63)
Evens 1 0-0 2, K. Drabert 2 0-0 4, B. Drabert 0 1-2 1, Reinard 2 3-4 7, Kio 5 5-6 15, Halle 7 1-2 16, Bova 1 0-0 2, Mickle 4 0-0 9, Edgell 1 1-2 3, Anderson 2 0-0 4. Totals: 25 11-16 63.
S 6 12 16 29
PA 22 35 42 63
Three-point goals: Port 2 (Halle, Mickle).
JV: Port Allegany, 45-22

Wrestling – District 9 Duals recap:
In recent years, no discussion of area high school wrestling would be complete without mentioning Ridgway and Port Allegany, and 2009 is no different. Last Saturday in DuBois, the two traditional mat powers met in the District 9 Team Tournament for the fifth consecutive year, with the Elkers winning 46-12 to capture their third straight championship after the Gators took home the title in ’05 and ’06.

Afterward, Port coach Sean Lathrop described the Elkers as “just tough from top to bottom.” Ridgway improved to 17-1 with the win, their only loss by one point at two-time defending District 4 champion Towanda.

But while the Gators may have had to settle for second place, they made the trip worthwhile with a 32-30 semifinal victory over archrival Smethport, the top-ranked team in the Olean Times Herald Big 30 poll.

“The kids wrestled real hard, showed a lot of heart and character. I can’t say enough about how they performed. Every kid had a great match. I can’t select any individuals – all 14 of them wrestled the way they had to. We focused on not giving up many bonus points and wrestling hard, and they did it,” Lathrop said.

Adam Greenman (23-7), Damen Brodhun (19-15), and Dylan Major (27-3) each won both their matches on Saturday, with Major and Zack Manning picking up pins and Zach Snyder adding a technical fall against the Hubbers. The two teams will wrestle again on Wednesday night in Smethport in a match ending too late for this edition, with the winner all but clinching the Allegheny Mountain League title.

At DuBois, 1/31:
Port Allegany 32, Smethport 30
103: Schwab (S) 3:14 Caden, 112: Kio (PA) 3-0 Kreckel, 119: Lightner (S) 10-4 Goodreau, 125: K. Freer (S) 2:24 Lacher, 130: Hubbard (S) 5:03 Lewis, 135: Snyder (PA) TF 16-0 Vossler, 140: Milford (PA) 9-4 Hoy, *145: Burdick (S) 2:35 Baxter, 152: Snodgrass (PA) 5-2 Rusciolelli, 160: Greenman (PA) 7-1 C. Freer, 171: Nobles (S) 3-1 OT Reichenbach, 189: Brodhun (PA) 9-6 Kreitzer, 215: Manning (PA) 1:35 Cooper, 285: Major (PA) 2:59 Isadore.

Ridgway 46, Port Allegany 12
103: Cory Bush (R) TF 17-0 Caden, 112: Kyle Daggiano (R) 4-2 Kio, 119: Horner (R) 6-1 Brandon Goodreau, 125: Slattery (R) :59 Lacher, 130: Mitchell (R) 1:29 Causer, 135: Bisani (R) 3-2 Snyder, 140: D.J. Skraba (R) TF 16-1 Brad Goodreau, 145: Dornish (R) 4-3 Baxter, *152: Greenman (PA) 1-0 Sam Skraba, 160: Zelcs (R) 3:38 Snodgrass, 171: Reichenbach (PA) 9-4 Munson, 189: Brodhun (PA) 16-9 Sheasley, 215: Major (PA) 5-1 Thompson, 285: Chittester (R) 1:50 Manning.

PAHS sports roundup: 1/29/09

Boys basketball:
In a midseason showdown between two of the top basketball teams in the North Tier League, Greg Gustin and Josh Guerrero each poured in 15 points and the Gators rallied from a three-point halftime deficit to hand Cameron County its first league defeat, 44-41, last Thursday night in Port Allegany.

The victory, which pulled Port into a second-place tie with Oswayo Valley – a mere half-game behind the Red Raiders – was sweet redemption for Port Allegany head coach Bob Raudenbush, who was decidedly displeased with his squad’s second-half performance in their December game against the same team. That night, Cameron County turned a slim 23-21 lead at the break into a 55-29 rout.

“That was an eye-opener,” Raudenbush said. “We did not execute well at all offensively in the second half. So we went back to the drawing board, so to speak, and totally redid some of the things we had done up to that point in the season. You hate to get beat, but in hindsight, it helped us look at what we were doing. If they wouldn’t have done it to us, somebody else would have. So we went back and redesigned some of our offenses.

“And we didn’t play that way in the second half this time,” he added with a grin.

Raudenbush continued, “It was just an even game. Honestly, it could have went either way. Sometimes you can look back at a game and pick out a key play, a turning point, but this really wasn’t like that. We happened to have a a stretch where we scored on two possessions in a row, and made a couple of foul shots at the right time … It was good, consistent play by two evenly-matched squads.

“We did shoot a little better from the foul line than we had been; we’ve probably raised our free-throw percentage by about 12 points since the first part of the season. That helps. We’ve probably lost three games because we shot under 50 percent from the foul line. To beat a good team like Cameron County, little things like that – making a few more free throws, and five guys playing together, which is what we’ve seen in the last five or six games. We feel good about that. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

Earlier last week, in a game moved to Ulysses to free up the Port gym for a rescheduled wrestling match, the Gators rolled to a comfortable 61-27 victory over Northern Potter. Eleven Port players found the basket, with co-captains Bryce Healy (17 points) and Guerrero (12) combining to outscore the Panthers by themselves before heading to the bench with the game well in hand.

The Gators, who improved to 9-5 (6-2 in the NTL), returned to action in Austin on Jan. 27 before coming home to play Oswayo Valley on Thursday night. And while some Port fans might be tempted to look forward to the game against the Green Wave, the only team to beat the Gators since Christmas, their veteran coach knows better.

“I’ve been doing this long enough to know not to overlook anyone,” he said. “Every game is very important. You just cannot stumble anywhere. There are so many good teams, and they’ll make adjustments playing the second time. It won’t be easy; obviously, we can’t lose again. But that’s the fun part. It’s nice that we’re in the position where we play every game like it’s our last one. It should be fun down the stretch.”

So how does Raudenbush see the game against OV – so critical to both teams’ chances to catch Cameron County for the league lead – playing out?

“Oswayo is a very good team,” he said. “They have maybe the best point guard in the league, a very good forward, and good role players around them. They had us by 15 points with five minutes left (before a late Port rally fell just short in a 57-55 loss); they were really putting it to us … They’re a good, physical team. And they made 7-of-9 3-pointers in the first game; that’s hard to overcome. I think it will be a close, four-quarter game – and maybe more if need be.”

As the regular season winds down with the Gators still in contention for both the NTL crown and a good seed in the district playoffs, Raudenbush likes what he’s seen from his team lately.

“I’ve been really happy with the kids,” he said. “We’re really playing hard on defense, which is turning into good offense. And we’ve done it with consistency. As a coach, you like that because you can hang your hat on that.”

He concluded, “From 1-4 and losing some tough games, we’ve gotten things turned around and have really played some good basketball in our last five or six games. Time will tell whether or not we can keep it going. I think we can. Should be fun.”

At Duke Center, 1/19:
Port Allegany (47)
Middleton 0 0-1 0, Gustin 5 2-4 12, Gleason 3 1-2 7, Healy 3 2-3 9, Fabish 0 0-2 0, Kline 0 4-4 4, Guerrero 5 3-6 15. Totals: 16 12-22 47.
Otto-Eldred (32)
Taylor 4 1-2 10, Jordan 3 2-3 8, Williams 0 3-6 3, Woods 3 0-0 7, James 0 1-3 1, Stebbins 1 0-0 3. Totals: 11 7-14 32.
PA 10 20 32 47
O-E 10 12 18 32
Three-point goals: PA 3 (Guerrero 2, Healy); O-E 3 (Taylor, Woods, Stebbins). Total fouls: PA 13, O-E 16. Fouled out: none.
JV: Port Allegany won.

At Ulysses, 1/21:
Port Allegany (61)
Middleton 2 0-0 4, Gustin 3 2-2 8, Gleason 1 0-0 2, Healy 6 5-5 17, Parana 2 1-4 5, Fabish 0 2-2 2, Kline 2 2-2 7, Lowery 1 0-0 2, Bricker 1 0-0 2, Guerrero 4 3-6 12. Totals: 22 15-21 61.
Northern Potter (27)
Grimes 1 0-0 3, Turton 2 2-3 6, Knauer 1 1-3 3, Ranson 1 0-0 2, Palys 5 2-2 13, Barker 0 0-1 0. Totals: 10 5-9 27.
PA 17 42 52 61
NP 7 18 25 27
Three-point goals: PA 2 (Kline, Guerrero), NP 2 (Grimes, Palys). Total fouls: PA 14, NP 14. Fouled out: Knauer, Ransom.
JV: Northern Potter won.

At Port Allegany, 1/23:
Cameron County (41)
Holjencin 1 0-0 2, Sullivan 6 0-0 16, Kesterholt 1 0-0 2, Lundberg 2 2-2 8, Malizia 1 4-8 6, Barnett 1 0-0 2, Blose 2 1-1 5. Totals: 14 7-11 41.
Port Allegany (44)
Middleton 1 0-0 2, Gustin 7 1-2 15, Healy 2 3-4 7, Kline 1 2-4 5, Guerrero 5 4-6 15. Totals: 16 10-16 44.
CC 6 19 33 41
PA 6 16 31 44
Three-point goals: CC 6 (Sullivan 4, Lundberg 2), PA 2 (Kline, Guerrero). Total fouls: CC 16, PA 13. Fouled out: none.
JV: Cameron County, 57-37.

Girls basketball:
On Jan. 20, Otto-Eldred used a 12-0 second-quarter run to jump out to a 16-point halftime lead, then maintained that margin to head home from Port Allegany with a 48-31 North Tier League victory. Justine Wilkins scored a game-high 16 points for the visitors; aside from Shanel Halle’s team-leading 14 points, the Lady Gators had a tough time finding a solution for the interior defense of 6-2 Lady Terrors center Taylor Thomas.

“You can’t jump against a six-foot girl and expect to get rebounds without putting a body on her,” head coach Kristina Francis said afterward. “We came out flat-footed, and just didn’t have our legs underneath us.”

Port High got back on the winning track in Ulysses two night later, with Amarae Reinard (12 points) and Halle (10 points, five assists) hitting double digits in a 49-31 victory over Northern Potter. Francis also noted Reinard’s play on defense, and added, “It was nice to get another win around our belts. This has been an up and down season for us.”

The Lady Gators headed to Emporium on Monday night, Jan. 26, for the first of three games this week. Despite 11 points and five blocked shots from sophomore forward Renee Edgell, the team couldn’t muster enough offense to get past Cameron County, dropping a 41-33 decision to fall to 6-9 (3-6 NTL) on the season.

“We came out very slow in the first quarter. Combined with some unforced turnovers and shots in and out of the hoop, that led to a 12-point deficit at the end of the half. We couldn’t get things going in our favor,” Francis said.

The road ahead doesn’t get any easier, with 14-2 (6-2) Austin visiting on Wednesday and a trip to Oswayo Valley on Friday.

“We definitely have our work cut out for us this week,” Francis said. “We will try to rest in the off days and use defensive and offensive strategies to help keep the girls’ legs fresh. We will be playing Austin at home and it will also be the third time around, so hopefully that will be to our advantage,” she concluded.

At Port Allegany, 1/20:
Otto-Eldred (48)
Beckwith 2 0-0 5, Thomas 3 1-2 7, Robbins 1 4-4 6, Wilcox 1 0-0 2, Wilkins 7 2-3 16, Cochran 1 0-0 2, Palmer 2 0-0 4, York 1 0-0 2, Price 2 0-2 4. Totals: 20 7-11 48.
Port Allegany (31)
Evens 1 0-0 2, Middleton 1 0-0 2, B. Drabert 1 0-0 3, Reinard 0 1-2 1, Kio 1 0-0 2, Halle 5 3-4 14, Bova 1 0-0 2, Mickle 1 0-0 2, Anderson 1 1-2 3. Totals: 12 5-8 31.
O-E 6 26 32 48
PA 7 10 18 31
Three-point goals: O-E 1 (Beckwith), PA 2 (B. Drabert, Halle). Total fouls: O-E 10, PA 13. Fouled out: none.
JV: Port Allegany, 47-39.

At Ulysses, 1/22:
Port Allegany (49)
Middleton 2 1-1 5, K. Drabert 3 0-0 6, Reinard 4 4-5 12, Kio 2 1-2 5, Halle 4 2-4 10, Bova 1 0-0 2, Edgell 2 1-2 5, Anderson 1 2-3 4. Totals: 19 11-19 49.
Northern Potter (31)
Kelleher 0 1-2 1, J. Martin 1 0-0 3, Riley 1 0-0 2, O. Martin 2 0-0 4, Hess 1 0-0 2, Potter 5 0-4 10, Rounds 4 1-6 9. Totals: 14 2-12 31.
PA 6 16 31 49
NP 5 12 23 31
Three-point goals: NP 1 (J. Martin). Total fouls: PA 13, NP 16. Fouled out: Kelleher.
JV: Port Allegany, 41-26.

At Emporium, 1/26:
Port Allegany (33)
Evens 1 0-0 2, K. Drabert 1 0-0 3, Kio 1 0-0 2, Halle 1 1-2 3, Bova 1 0-0 2, Mickle 3 0-0 8, Edgell 4 3-3 11, Anderson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 4-5 33.
Cameron County (41)
Caton 2 0-2 4, Topolski 2 0-0 4, Dunsmore 4 0-0 8, Summers 1 3-4 5, Molly Fragale 6 0-3 12, Rodich 1 0-0 2, Knapp 0 1-2 1, Lyon 2 1-2 5. Totals: 18 5-13 41.
PA 4 16 18 33
CC 11 28 30 41
Three-point goals: PA 3 (Mickle 2, K. Drabert).

After back-to-back matches were postponed due to inclement weather, Gators head coach Sean Lathrop had to wonder how his team would react when they finally returned to the mat. Was he concerned that a 10-day gap between matches would affect his wrestlers? Not really.

“We just had harder practices,” he explained. “I don’t think the guys appreciated it at the time, but we did work hard. It’s kind of disappointing to get prepared for a match and then have it canceled, and we’ve had it happen to us twice, but they were focused enough.”

They proved it in emphatic fashion last Tuesday, when they traveled to Emporium to face Cameron County. Port swept all 14 weight classes to post a rare shutout, trouncing the Red Raiders 73-0 to win their 50th consecutive Allegheny Mountain Wrestling League match, before pushing the streak to 51 the next night with a convincing 51-21 Senior Night victory over Johnsonburg in the Port Allegany gym.

“It wasn’t really that tough,” senior Zigmund Reichenbach, one of six team captains, said of the unexpected layoff before the Cameron County match. “It’s the same as any other week. We work hard every day. We’re expected to do the job day in and day out, no matter who we have to wrestle against.” Even when the opponent is a teammate in a practice session, “We’re going hard all the time,” he said.

With that attitude and work ethic common among the Gator wrestlers, it’s easy to understand how they’ve managed to stay on top of the AMWL for the better part of a decade.

“When the streak started, Johnsonburg and Smethport were the teams to beat. Then it went to Cameron County and Smethport. There have been big matches every year to keep it alive, and the kids have stepped up,” Lathrop said.

“A lot of guys you wouldn’t expect are coming out of nowhere to wrestle just as well as anybody,” Reichenbach said. “I wasn’t a great wrestler when I started, but I worked hard to make myself better. We just have a couple of guys every year that work their way up.”

“That’s a good point,” Lathrop agreed. “We have people step in every year to take over for departing seniors, and it’s happening again this year.”

On Saturday, the Gators finished fifth in the Clearfield Bison Duals – “probably the hardest tournament we’ve been to all year,” Lathrop said – with victories over Clarion, Valley, and Keystone Oaks, and losses to Class AAA schools Clearfield and DuBois. Dylan Major (25-3) and Chet Tanner (24-2) both went 7-0 for the week, with Major pinning all but one of his opponents and Tanner adding four pins and a technical fall.

The Gators will spend the rest of this week preparing to face Smethport in the semifinals of the District 9 Team Championships Saturday afternoon in DuBois. They’ll wrestle again next Wednesday night in Smethport in a match that will most likely determine the AMWL championship, with the Hubbers seeking to avenge last season’s 40-30 loss that gave Port its sixth consecutive league title.

At Emporium, 1/20:
Port Allegany 73, Cameron County 0
103: Caden (PA) forfeit; 112*: Kio (PA) forfeit; 119: Brandon Goodreau (PA) 17-9 Kamats; 125: P. Lacher (PA) 7-6 OT Haufs; 130: Lewis (PA) forfeit; 135: Tanner (PA) 5-0 Manginelli; 140: Snyder (PA) 1:51 Bidwell; 145: Milford (PA) forfeit; 152: Greenman (PA) :14 Lingenfelter; 160: Bodamer (PA) forfeit; 171: Reichenbach (PA) 6-2 Bardo; 189: Brodhun (PA) 1:03 Stewart; 215: Major (PA) 1:44 Melott; 285: Manning (PA) 3:09 Neyman.

At Port Allegany, 1/21:
Port Allegany 51, Johnsonburg 21
103: Schreiber (J) 8-7 Caden, 112: J. Wolfe (J) 15-4 Kio, 119*: O’Rourke (J) 1:10 Goodreau, 125: Zimmerman (J) TF 19-4 P. Lacher, 130: Tanner (PA) 4:57 Z. Wolfe, 135: Lewis (PA) 1:19 Gadley, 140: Mahoney (J) 9-4 Snyder, 145: Milford (PA) forfeit, 152: Greenman (PA) 1-0 Woodford, 160: Bodamer (PA) forfeit, 171: Reichenbach (PA) forfeit, 189: Neal (PA) forfeit, 215: Brodhun (PA) 1:33 Redmond, 285: Major (PA) :56 Heathright.

District 9 Team Championships preview:

When the 2008-09 Allegheny Mountain League schedule came out late last fall, many area wrestling aficionados circled Feb. 4 on their calendars anticipating that the showdown between Port Allegany and Smethport would once again decide not just the league championship, but the winner of the annual Olean Times Herald Big 30 rankings.

As expected, the two teams have spent the entire season at the top of the weekly poll, with the Hubbers currently holding the No. 1 spot. However, fans won’t have to wait until next Wednesday’s AML match in Smethport to see the Hubs and Gators face off, although they will have to travel to DuBois High School on Saturday, Jan. 31, to catch the semifinals of the District 9 Team Championships.

The second-seeded Hubbers (5-1, 4-0 AML) can put two returning Big 30 All-Stars on the mat; seniors Tim Hubbard and Jon Marc Burdick entered the week sporting identical 19-1 records. The team suffered its first dual-meet loss of the season last Wednesday, falling 46-21 to perennial powerhouse Ridgway.

The Gators (12-8, 4-0), slotted third out of the five schools entered in the team event, will counter with defending district and regional champion Dylan Major (25-3), Chet Tanner (24-2), Adam Greenman (21-7), and Zigmund Reichenbach (18-9) leading a talented group whose only losses in the district have come at Ridgway (39-21) and Class AAA St. Marys (45-27).

Port head coach Sean Lathrop wasn’t about to make any predictions, saying simply, “I think we’re ready.” Assistant coach Alan Lovell agreed, adding,“I’m glad we get to wrestle them twice. It will be good to see them before the AMWL match.”

“I think it’s more exciting,” senior captain Pat Lacher said. “We’re facing them just when we want to.”

The matches in DuBois will start at 1:00 p.m., with top seed Ridgway facing the winner of Saturday morning’s quarterfinal between Curwensville and Brockway in the other semifinal. The championship match is set to begin at 4:00 p.m.