High school notebook: Apollo-Ridge relies on basketball-only players
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Apollo-Ridge has seen some recent success in football, but several potential contributors have been too busy with basketball to play two sports.
And the results are showing.
The Vikings (18-8) reached the WPIAL Class AA semifinals for the first time in 25 years and will play in the PIAA state playoffs for just the second time since 1991.
Eventual champion Beaver Falls ended the Vikings' run, but another one could begin in the coming weeks. The Vikings face Northern Cambria (21-5) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Central Cambria High School.
Apollo-Ridge coach Matt Gourley said one of the reasons his team has had success is because several players compete year-round.
Although standouts Tre Tipton and Alex Smith play AAU basketball, they also are key football players. But seniors Evan Davis, Josh Reynolds, Lucas Burrell and the Billingsley twins — Connor and Cody — are basketball full-timers.
A school Apollo-Ridge's size would seem to have more multisport athletes.
“We have basketball kids,” Vikings coach Matt Gourley said. “So, from a conditioning aspect, the kids come in (to the season) ready. And they know the game. From a coaching aspect, you don't have to work on a lot of fundamentals. We can get right into what we want to run.”
Apollo-Ridge's last state playoff win also came in 1988. The Vikings defeated Everett then lost to Bishop McCort in the quarterfinals.
Despite last Tuesday's lopsided semifinal outcome against eventual champion Bishop Canevin, Burrell's girls basketball team (22-3) is eyeing the PIAA Class AA playoffs.
The young team, novices at the state level, might want to hit up the gift shop.
None of the Ziemianskis — not coach Meghan nor her father nor brother Zach, both assistants — have been to the state playoffs as players or coaches.
“Dad has Big East tickets, so he has a decision to make,” Meghan said. “This is definitely something new for us.”
Burrell plays Bellwood-Antis (24-2) at 6 p.m. Friday at Plum.
Miranda Simon became the first female diver at Fox Chapel to top the 200-point mark since 1998. She finished fourth at the WPIAL Class AAA diving championships.
The finish qualified her for the PIAA championships, scheduled for March 14-15 at Bucknell University.
Teammate Emily Eames, a sophomore, finished sixth at the WPIAL meet and also is headed to states. Eames moved to the area from Boston.
Apollo-Ridge hired Jim Ferguson as its softball coach. ... Plum is looking for a boys soccer coach after Mike Baleno's resignation.
Monday marked the first day of spring practice for baseball, softball, track and field, boys tennis, boys volleyball and boys/girls lacrosse.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor for the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
- Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
- Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
- Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
- Gameday: Pirates at Twins, July 28, 2015
- Penguins to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
- Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor
- Pa. House speaker says overriding Wolf’s budget veto ‘an option’
- Former Cal U football player cleared of assault charges sues university, police, prosecutor
- ‘Real’ people, solutions at heart of GOP ad blitz in Pa.
- Crane topples over into Perry North demolition site; no one injured