Guido: Kittanning, Ford City hockey programs talk early merger
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Kittanning and Ford City have been among the Alle-Kiski Valley's most successful scholastic hockey programs for many decades.
They wrapped up superb seasons in the last 10 days.
Ford City won the PIHL Open Class for the second time in five seasons, and Kittanning appeared in a fourth straight PIHL Class A semifinal, losing to Quaker Valley.
The immediate future of both programs is murky.
A new high school to serve both drawing areas is set to open in 2015, but the hockey programs could be consolidating as soon as next season.
Officials from the Armstrong Amateur Hockey League, which oversees both programs, will meet to discuss consolidation plans.
If they merge next season, the new program probably will compete in Class AA, playing against Kiski Area, Pine-Richland and Plum, among other schools.
The PIHL classifies schools every year, as opposed to the PIAA, which reclassifies every two years.
Since hockey doesn't fall under the purview of the PIAA, both schools can either merge or operate separately for the 2013-14 season.
If the schools stay separate next season, coach Glen Kilgore said Ford City will continue to participate in the Open Class, where it can draw players from outside the Armstrong School District.
Wrong way Trey
If you're having a bad day, just think about poor Trey Johnson, a basketball player for Hugo (Okla.) High School.
On Thursday in a Class AAA state quarterfinal game against Millwood, Hugo was leading, 37-36, with 3.7 seconds left.
Hugo had the ball out of bounds at midcourt, needing someone to just dribble away the waning seconds.
As the teams broke away for the in-bounds pass, Johnson was open in the backcourt.
He took the pass and dribbled to the other team's basket, scoring on a buzzer-beater to hand opposing Millwood a one-point victory.
A reporter covering the game described how the entire crowd was silent for a second, digesting what had happened before Millwood and its fans began celebrating.
Johnson was reportedly inconsolable after the game, and the play became a “YouTube” sensation over the weekend.
But officials of the Oklahoma City Thunder contacted Johnson and invited him to Sunday's game against the Celtics.
Johnson got to participate in the morning shootaround with his idols, Thunder superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
He got a front-row seat for the game, and Westbrook autographed his shoes after the game and gave them to Johnson.
PIAA news and notes
• Legendary North Catholic boys basketball coach Don Graham's state record for victories soon could fall. Graham, who coached North Catholic from 1948-99, had an 801-436 record. Loyalsock coach Ron Insinger won his 800th game last weekend as the Lancers defeated Mid Valley in their PIAA Class AA first-round game. Insinger, in his 38th season, could tie Graham with a Loyalsock victory over Philadelphia's Communications Tech.
• Another team that won its PIAA opener, Williamsport's St. John Neumann, is led by a player with a familiar name. Neumann point guard Richard Allen is the grandson of former baseball slugger Dick Allen. Grandpa Allen, who hit 351 home runs in a 15-year major league career, was an outstanding basketball player at Wampum High School before concentrating on baseball. He played in the WPIAL Class B basketball title game in 1960 against Etna.
George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.
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.
- Pirates show depth in earning victory over Rockies; Polanco has big night
- Healthy, confident Steelers LB Shazier ready for full speed ahead
- LaBar: The upgrade of The Wyatt Family in WWE
- Daily Courier columnist knew, loved Connellsville community
- Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Fischer in spotlight as meeting nears
- Lineman Groh back from injury, ready to help Mustangs
- Earlier start, free meals among changes as Connellsville Area schools start Monday
- Timing drives former KHL star Plotnikov
- Pirates notebook: Catcher Cervelli among ejection leaders
- Cops nab 4 in Monessen drug hangout
- Crash-prevention technology changes face of auto industry