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FRIDAY, APRIL 30

Softball
Liberty’s Taylor Wilchak beats thyroid cancer. A nice story from Keith Groller of the Allentown Morning Call.

Miscellaneous
Yeah, it’s been a pretty good run for Northern Cambria in a bunch of sports. Phil Cmor, who’s shed 40 pounds, handles the details in the Altoona Mirror.

Two great notes from Mike White’s Varsity Blog from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. First, a 212-plus javelin toss by North Allegheny’s Justin Sunday (among the best in the nation) and new school Central Valley decided to hire a boys basketball coach with a 32-102 career record.

I’m linking the Post-Gazette’s WPIAL baseball and softball rankings because (1) I love rankings and (2) one baseball team caught my eye: South Fayette. The Lions are ranked first in WPIAL Class AA by the P-G, this after an unbeaten regular season and football with one of the most productive offenses in the state, the school’s first PIAA basketball championship, and the school’s first PIAA individual wrestling championship. I’d SF had a rather exceptional collection of athletes this year.

Baseball
Two no-hitters in two weeks for West York pitcher Keenan Stare. This wouldn’t cause a blink in softball, but it’s a big deal in baseball. From gametimepa.com.

Here’s a true rarity: Mount Union pitcher Garett Grainey picks up two wins in one day. At the personal level, I was even more surprised to see that Nick Imperoli, a terrific coach, is still at the helm at Mount Union. He’s been around a long time (I’d say 37 years is a long time in coaching).

Former Philadelphia Athletics pitcher Bobby Shantz shows up in Pottstown to throw out the first pitch as the field named in honor of the Pottstown native. From the Pottstown Mercury.

Track and field
Good story about Cedar Crest runner Sarah Rhine, who just might love to run as much as anyone in the state given the torture she endures while competing. From Pat Huggins of the Lebanon Daily News via gametimepa.com.

Tymerah Burgess of Gratz is posting swift times. No one is Philly is surprised. Keith Pompey of philly.com explains.

Tennis
Wyomissing freshman Ricardo Saad snares the Berks County singles title. From the Reading Eagle.

Basketball
Rakeem Brookins of Roman Catholic switches direction, heads to Siena instead of Tulane. From Ted Silary of the Philadelphia Daily News.

Welcome
We see pennlive.com has entered the world of high school daily sports links. Welcome, amigos!

 

Maybe you saw Saturday’s PIAA Basketball Championships games on PCN. Maybe you didn’t.

Either way, enjoy what the state’s sports writers had to say about the games:

CLASS AAA BOYS

Plymouth-Whitemarsh 58, Penn Wood 51

Delaware County Times here and here.

Philadelphia Inquirer here and here.

Norristown Times-Herald here and here (with video).

Harrisburg Patriot-News here.

CLASS AAA GIRLS

Archbishop Wood 49, Indiana 39

Bucks County Courier-Times here, here and here.

Indiana Gazette here.

Philadelphia Inquirer here.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette here.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review here.

Harrisburg Patriot-News here.

CLASS AA BOYS

South Fayette 49, Strawberry Mansion 47

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette here.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review here.

Philadelphia Inquirer here.

Interesting take on a key moment late in the game from Ted Silary of the Philadelphia Daily News here. Includes a supporting photo.

Harrisburg Patriot-News here.

CLASS A GIRLS

Bishop Guilfoyle 49, Northern Cambria 29

Altoona Mirror here.

Johnstown Tribune-Democrat here and here.

Harrisburg Patriot-News here.

 

What a great set of PIAA boys basketball finals this weekend. All four games were battles, games in which the will was more important than talent and reputation.

Some of the memories will last a long time: T.J. McConnell’s 32-point, 32-shot, it’s-my-game performance in Chartiers Valley’s 65-63 loss to nationally ranked Neumann-Goretti … Sewickley’s Tom Droney stepping up and playing his leader’s role despite throwing up four times before his team’s 43-38 win over Reading Central Catholic … the sheer desire showed by South Fayette in its 49-47 win over favored Strawberry Mansion … and Plymouth-Whitemarsh’s exceptional turnaround, led by Whis Grant and C.J. Aiken, to stun Penn Wood 58-51.

All four games had something going on, all similar in the sense that they were all tests of will, but all with their own nuance.

The girls’ games? Um, a little less dramatic, save for York Catholic’s tremendous comeback against Villa Maria Academy in the Class AA game? Villa took a 22-2 lead that York Catholic whittled to two, only to watch Villa’s outstanding Kayla McBride take charge for the win. And Archbishop Wood turned a one-point game into a 10-point runaway in the fourth quarter.

In all, it was an entertaining weekend that drew more than 20,000 fans to Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center.

I’ve attended basketball finals somewhat sporadically over the years, watched some on PCN, and have no expertise in the history of the PIAA basketball championships whatsoever. But I have to believe the four games were among the best sets in years. It’s almost impossible to get two games full of drama; four is a gift.

And that’s what the fans received in State College this weekend.

Really, can a basketball fan ask for any more than that?

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