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Guido: Cager Classic plans being finalized

| Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, 12:16 a.m.
Erica Dietz | for the Tribune-Review
Freeport’s Ben Beale is hoisted into the air after scoring a 3-point shot and taking the score to 61-58 against Indiana at Freeport Middle School on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.
Erica Dietz | for the Tribune Re
With seconds remainig in the fourth quarter, Freeport’s Ben Beale (24) reacts to scoring a 3-point shot and winning the basketball game against Indiana at Freeport Middle School on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.
Erica Dietz | for the Tribune Re
With seconds remainig in the fourth quarter and the score tied 58-58 against Indiana, Freeport’s Ben Beale (24) keeps his eyes on the ball after taking a 3-point shot which would ending up winning the basketball game at Freeport Middle School on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.
Erica Dietz | for the Tribune Review
Freeport’s Kevin Lynch breaks through defense by Indiana’s Taylor Hudzicki (15) and Benjamin Bianco (55) during the third quarter of the basketball game at Freeport Middle School on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.
Erica Dietz | for the Tribune Review
Indiana’s John Benhart gets taken out by Freeport’s Kevin Lynch (left) and Isaiah Bauman during the third quarter of the basketball game at Freeport Middle School on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.
Erica Dietz | for the Tribune Review
Freeport’s Evan Schaffhauser attempts to score past Indiana’s Luke Thomas during the fourth quarter of the basketball game at Freeport Middle School on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.
Erica Dietz | for the Tribune Review
Members of the Freeport team brace themselves as an Indiana player takes foul shots with the game tied at 58-58 in the fourth quater at Freeport Middle School on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.

Organizers of the annual Cager Classic are finalizing plans for this year's event.

The 21st renewal of the Alle-Kiski Valley postseason staple will take place March 23-25 at Highlands High School.

Outstanding seniors from 21 area schools will be involved. Practices will take place March 23. The skills competition is March 24, and the games are set for March 25. The East vs. West girls will begin at 5:45 p.m. on March 25, followed by the boys at 7:45.

For many, this marks the end of their high school careers. For those who don't plan on playing in college, it will be their final competitive game.

Organizers hope to name the players by the end of next week.

The girls MVPs, along with two boys MVPs will be honored at the A-K Valley Sports Hall of Fame banquet May 20.

Eerie in Erie

The Erie School District's financial woes are forcing a radical look at high school sports.

The school board earlier this month voted to consolidate sports at the school district's three main high schools — Strong Vincent, East and Central Tech.

The school system is facing a $10 million budget deficit and has to make some hard decisions concerning services.

Combining sports at the three high schools is projected to save as much as $1.5 million.

It would create one of the largest entities in the state, with 1,113 male students in the top three grades, certainly a Class 6A school.

The PIAA took up the issue at its board meeting last week, deciding to kick the issue back to the District 10 committee to formulate a recommendation to the PIAA.

The PIAA denied a request to combine some girls sports last year.

The move, if approved, wouldn't affect private schools such as Cathedral Prep, Villa Maria and Mercyhurst Prep.

McDowell is not part of the Erie School District. It is located in suburban Millcreek Township, but has an Erie mailing address.

Also, if approved, it would create holes in the schedules of opposing schools from that area.

In another issue brought before the PIAA last week, a measure was approved, on a second-reading basis, to penalize schools that don't remain on the playing site for awards ceremonies.

There have been scattered incidents over the years of schools so disappointed in an outcome that the team didn't hang around for the medals ceremony.

Now, there is a possibility of coaching suspensions and penalties for underclassmen players the following year.

The issue of using shoulder pads for off-season football training sessions was visited again.

The PIAA would like to prohibit using shoulder pads for out-of-season sessions except those where quarterbacks are passing, such as a 7-on-7 drill.

The statewide governing body tried to pass a similar measure last year, but the proposal didn't get a super majority on its third reading.

Tough task

As the PIHL heads into the final month of the regular season, the toughest job in high school hockey. might have been found.

It could be the tailor in charge of putting the last names on the backs of Trinity players.

Here are some of the names that must be sewn on the back of the sweater: (Colton) Clingermanstang; (John) Popielarcheck; (Nathan) Hilzendenger and (Ryan) Broaddrick. Fortunately, there's a break with the likes of Tyler Brown and Jeremy Hurd on the Hillers roster.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

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