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Blairsville girls, boys expected to lead pack in Heritage Conference

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who 2 watch

Boys preseason player of the year



6-4, Jr., F

18.6 ppg

players to watch


Ligonier Valley

6-5, Jr., F, 9.5 ppg


Marion Center

6-5, Sr., F, 19.8 ppg



6-3, Sr., F, 15.6 ppg



5-11, Sr., PG, 13.5 ppg



6-1, Jr., G, 19.0 ppg

preseason top 10

1. Blairsville (9-14)

First-year coach Mark DeMarines returns two starters: senior PG Colton McMillan (13.5) and junior F Troy Williams (18.6 ppg).

2. Marion Center (16-8)

Senior F Todd Fetsko (19.8 ppg), is the only starter back.

3. Homer-Center (19-7)

The Wildcats return three starters, including SG Joe Capitosti (19 ppg).

4. Ligonier Valley (15-8)

The Rams have a new coach and must find a replacement for injured 6-foot-7 F Alec Bloom (16 ppg). Jordan Jones, a 6-5 junior, could fill that role.

5. Saltsburg (8-15)

The Trojans could make a run if they can find help for Steve Richards (15.6 ppg) and Ian Satler (10.4 ppg).

6. N. Cambria (22-6)

After winning two consecutive conference titles, the District 6 finalists don't return a starter.

7. Purchase Line (3-19)

The Dragons return five starters and welcome back former coach Steve Woodrow.

8. United (1-21)

The Lions return four starters.

9. Penns Manor (4-18)

The Comets return starters Mitch Hamilton and J.T. Horwat from a team that made the District 6 playoffs last season.

who 2 watch

Girls preseason player of the year



5-11, Jr., F

17.7 ppg

players to watch


Marion Center

5-11, Sr., F, 19.1 ppg



5-7, Jr., G, 16.5 ppg



6-0, Jr., C, 11.7 ppg



5-7, Jr., PG, 10.5 ppg


Ligonier Valley

5-7, Sr., G, 10.0 ppg

preseason top 10

1. Blairsville (24-2)

After winning the District 6-AA title, the Bobcats will be led by junior F Chelsey Koren (17.7 ppg) and junior PG Laurel O'Barto (10.5 ppg).

2. Marion Center (18-6)

Senior F Chantel Glasser (19.1 ppg) is one of five starters back. Kearsten Brocious also returns after missing last season.

3. Homer-Center (9-13)

The Wildcats, a young team, return four starters, including senior C Sydney Horel (11.7 ppg).

4. United (12-12)

The Lions reached the District 6 playoffs and return four starters, including leading scorer Eden Bloom (16.5 ppg).

5. Ligonier Valley (16-8)

Replacing Maddy Grimm and Kyra Ludwig is the job facing new coach Valerie Ray. The Rams return three starters, including G Taylor Rudnik (10 ppg).

6. Penns Manor (17-9)

The Comets return three starters but must replace leading scorers Krista Gillo (16.2 ppg) and Emma Myers (11.2 ppg).

7. Purchase Line (6-14)

The Dragons return Brianna Riva and Jaycelyn Fleming but must replace leading scorer Karli Rorabaugh (10.7 ppg).

8. Northern Cambria (2-20)

Katie Baum is the lone starter returning.

9. Saltsburg (5-15)

New coach Glenn Richards will count on Emilie Okopal and Ashton Battistelli.

Top high school sports
Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, 10:06 p.m.

Blairsville girls basketball coach Ralph McGinnis couldn't believe what he was watching.

After his Bobcats (24-2) won their first District 6-AA title last season, they were set to make a run at the state championship.

Those dreams were dashed in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs when Blairsville was upset by Greensburg Central Catholic, 58-39.

“We picked the wrong time to play our worst game of the season,” McGinnis said. “We did things that game we hadn't done all season. Hopefully, we learned from that loss.

“The target will be on our backs, but I think we're capable of getting back to the title game.”

McGinnis said the team is ready to make another run. Gone is leading scorer Mackenzie Livingston and her 19.9 points per game. She is now playing at IUP.

But juniors Chelsey Koren, Laurel O'Barto and Nicole Boyer return.

Koren, a 5-foot-11 forward, averaged 17.7 ppg and is already getting Division I looks. O'Barto, a 5-7 point guard, averaged 10.5.

“Our success in the District 6 playoffs the past few seasons has been very valuable,” McGinnis said. “Chelsey and Laurel give us a solid one-two punch.

“Chelsey plays inside for us, but she's capable of playing a guard. Laurel is getting better every day handling the basketball.”

McGinnis will be counting on lettermen Kia Clayton, a 5-9 junior guard, and Mikala Misleany, a 5-8 sophomore forward, to play key roles. Seniors Mary Ann Ostach and Vanessa Pavlik also will be counted on.

Blairsville tips off the season in the Hollidaysburg tournament against Bellwood-Antis, the team it defeated for the District 6 title.

McGinnis is looking forward to getting under way.

So is Blairsville boys coach Mark DeMarines, who replaced Todd McGee. DeMarines, 26, was McGee's assistant last season.

DeMarines is a 2006 Blairsville grad and played on a team that won consecutive District 6 titles.

“That was a fun time,” DeMarines said. “We had a lot of talent. I'm looking forward to coaching my first team.”

And DeMarines has some talent to work with. Point guard Colton McMillan (13.5 points per game), a 5-11 senior, and 6-4 junior forward Troy Williams (18.6 ppg) are expected to lead the Bobcats.

DeMarines also is counting on 6-3 junior forward Rhadezz Henderson and junior guard Cameron Livingston.

“We had a good summer in the Indiana League and I expect that to carry over to this season,” DeMarines said. “We were very competitive and only lost twice. We have good leadership. We may be young, but we're talented.”




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