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A-K Valley basketball notebook: Area players to compete in Cager Classic

Doug Gulasy
| Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 8:09 p.m.

Organizers of the Cager Classic released the rosters for the 21st annual version of the local high school basketball all-star game, which will take place March 25 at Highlands.

Players selected are:

East boys: Jon Bracy, Kiski Area; Kevin Brown, Plum; J.B. Burtick, Leechburg; Sammy Carey, Springdale; Max Garda, Burrell; Mike Kunst, Armstrong; Jake Livingston, Fox Chapel; Connor Martin, Kiski Area; Danny Orkwis, Apollo-Ridge; Justice Ray, Valley; Nico Sero, Riverview; Mike Snowball, Fox Chapel; Michael Spera, West Shamokin.

East girls: Gabby Badway, Fox Chapel; Emily Cieslinski, Kiski Area; Abbey DiGregorio, Armstrong; Rayna Donatelli, Plum; Mackenzie Lauff, Riverview; Maria Lawhorne, Plum; Kayla Murray, Apollo-Ridge; Andrea Orlosky, West Shamokin; Eliza Oswalt, Burrell; Brooke Smith, Burrell; Bryanna Urso, Fox Chapel; Taylor Wood, Armstrong.

West boys: Ryan Boda, Highlands; Mac Christy, Knoch; Mitch DeZort, Highlands; Jack Farrell, St. Joseph; Austin Hannes, Knoch; Ben Huber, Hampton; Antonio Ionadi, Hampton; Kevin Lynch, Freeport; Alex Nichols, Deer Lakes; Ben Perdziola, Mars; Ben Pollock, Cheswick Christian; Evan Schaffhauser, Freeport; Brayden Thimons, Highlands.

West girls: Nicole Boda, Highlands; Carley Burdett, Knoch; Lizzy Celko, St. Joseph; Ashlyn Jonczak, Highlands; Brooke Kopinski, Deer Lakes; Jenna Lafko, Hampton; Nicole McCloud, Mars; Kim Mixon, Freeport; Bree Murray, Hampton; Dez Smith, Springdale; Kathleen Swartzwelder, Cheswick Christian; Nia Thomas, Highlands.

Plum's Lindsey Muchnock will coach the east girls team, and Kiski Area's Joey Tutchstone will coach the east boys team. Highlands' Drew Jonczak and Tyler Stoczynski will coach the west girls and boys teams, respectively.

The girls game will take place at 5:45 p.m., with the boys to follow at 7:45. The annual skills competition with the individual “hot shot,” 3-point shooting and co-ed “hot shot” contests will take place at 7 p.m. March 24.

Better than practice

Leechburg's and St. Joseph's girls teams hoped to get a scrimmage in before their PIAA playoff openers, and they found the perfect partners: each other.

The former section rivals played a fast-paced scrimmage Tuesday at St. Joseph's Walter Dlubak Athletic Center, with three referees on hand to officiate.

The coaches found the experience helpful.

“Even when you try to do an intersquad scrimmage with your team, you know the offenses and defenses and you have people cheat,” St. Joseph coach Sally Ackerman said. “They know where the ball's going to go. When you scrimmage another team, it's easy to see if it's going to work because they're not cheating.”

The Blue Devils and Spartans did their best to simulate each others' first-round PIAA opponents, switching defenses and offenses.

“They played a good Coudersport role,” Leechburg coach Joel Ceraso said. “There was good familiarity there, so it was excellent. We're not deep, so it's tough to simulate anything like that in our practice.”

Freeport's girls team traveled to West Shamokin for its own scrimmage Tuesday.

Ticket sales

Freeport will hold presales for tickets to its PIAA Class 4A first-round game in the high school athletic office Thursday and Friday. The Yellowjackets play WPIAL runner-up Blackhawk at 6 p.m. Friday at Fox Chapel.

Leechburg will sell tickets to the public from 6-7:15 p.m. Wednesday in the high school gym lobby. Students can purchase tickets during breakfast and lunch. The Blue Devils play District 9 champion Coudersport at 7 p.m. Friday at Kane Area High School.

Tickets cost $3 for students and $6 for adults. All tickets are $6 at the door.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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