High school basketball notebook: Holiday tournament named for booster
Every time Deer Lakes junior guard Cory Pampena goes to the foul line, he takes a moment to think about his father, Don, who died in May after a long illness. He was 56.
Not only did the elder Pampena help his son hone his shot in the family driveway, but he also was known as one of the Lancers' greatest supporters.
“My dad would always stand outside with me and help me shoot foul shots,” Pampena said. “He came to every single game no matter how far it was, and supported us. You could always hear him over everyone. He talked to the referees more than anyone I know.”
Deer Lakes will honor the memory of Pampena this weekend after naming its holiday tournament after him. The Don Pampena Shootout will be Friday and Saturday in West Deer.
The naming idea came from the booster club and proved to be a touching sentiment for the family.
“I really appreciate what they've done, and this means so much,” said Cory Pampena, who is a starting guard for the Lancers. “My teammates were there for me through everything. They'd do all they could to cheer me up.”
Because of scheduling issues, there are only three varsity teams in the shootout: Deer Lakes, Springdale and Quaker Valley. Deer Lakes will play Springdale on Friday night in a junior varsity/varsity doubleheader.
The Deer Lakes and Quaker Valley JVs will play Saturday, along with the Quaker Valley and Springdale varsity teams.
Deer Lakes athletic director Chuck Bellisario said an “All-Pampena Team” will be chosen among the varsity teams.
Last of the unbeatens
The Burrell girls are the last remaining undefeated team in the A-K Valley. The Bucs (6-0) will face a tall task in keeping their record clean Friday in the opening game of the State College Tournament.
Burrell plays State College, a Class AAAA team from District 6 that also is unbeaten (6-0).
Richards gets 200th
The Plum boys' 45-23 victory over Valley on Saturday marked the 200th career win for coach Ron Richards.
Richards coached nine seasons at Plum before a two-year hiatus from coaching (2007-09). Since his return, Plum is 61-38 in four-plus seasons.
Homecoming for Sylba?
Former Riverview girls basketball coach Paul Sylba, now the coach at Freeport, could face his former team in the Riverview holiday tournament.
Freeport plays Carrick in the opening round, while Riverview takes on Trinity Christian.
Leechburg could get a chance to exact revenge on Apollo-Ridge if the teams meet in the finals of the Apollo Trust Co. Christmas Tournament. Apollo-Ridge held off the Blue Devils, 55-44, in the championship game of the Leechburg Tip-off Tournament.
Reaching the Summit
It remains to be seen how good Summit Academy's boys team will be, but the Knights (6-3) could be a contender in Section 1-AA under first-year coach Adam Petrosky.
A former 20-point-per-game guard, Petrosky graduated from Kiski Area in 1986 before playing on a national championship-winning team at Rochester.
The Knights edged Apollo-Ridge, the preseason section favorite, 75-67.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.