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Stewart: Making sense of a 56-point loss

| Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, 12:09 p.m.

Losing a game of football by a score of 56-0 doesn't happen often. Losing a basketball game by that score is as rare as a happy day on Capitol Hill. But that's what happened to the Leechburg High School girls basketball team against Ford City on Jan. 20.

So what can you tell your team after a shellacking like that? What kind of responses were they getting from their classmates the next day? It was an embarrassment, for sure. But one hopes that there was no ridicule involved.

If I were the coach, I would have taken the team out for pizza or burgers right after the game and just talk. Talk about putting the game behind them and moving on. Talk about a renewed commitment and continuing to give their best. I'd tell them there are better days ahead and that there is no shame in losing but there is shame in quitting. I'd tell them that the coaches, parents and community are still behind them.

Many people felt that Ford City should have let them score. First-year Leechburg coach Joel Ceraso wasn't one of them. He reportedly wasn't happy that Ford City still had starters in the game in the third and fourth quarters but he shrugged it off. He told the girls that life is tough and not to expect anyone to just hand them something. He said it's a tough but valuable lesson.

A pep rally at school would be nice, just to show the girls that they are special and that their backs are covered, win or lose. I believe that would mean a lot to the team and spur them on for the rest of the season.

The girls have won one game this season and they've struggled over the last few years. There is hope, though. I reffed an 8th grade tournament in the fall and Leechburg was there, along with AAAA schools like Norwin, Franklin Regional and Latrobe. The Leechburg girls more than held their own and their coach pushed them hard and did a good job. During the game, he kept telling them that they could beat the bigger schools. They came up short but the opposing teams knew they were in a tough game. Their junior high team finished at 14-0.

The future looks brighter for the Leechburg basketball program and here's to hoping they pick up a win or two the rest of the way out. The future of my alma mater, East Allegheny's girls team, is also looking bright. They haven't won a game yet this year. I reffed their 8th grade girls team three times this year and they won all three. They'll be back, too.

• Ya know who I feel sorry for? The Seattle Seahawk fans. Yeah, I know. How can I feel sorry for fans of a team going to the Super Bowl? Well, this is their second Super Bowl appearance. The Steelers beat them in 2006. Now, most Super Bowls are held in New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles or Dallas. Warm weather places with a lot of things to do. Seattle played the Steelers in Detroit and now they'll be heading to East Rutherford, New Jersey. Ahh, nothing like Detroit and East Rutherford, NJ in February. What kind of getaway is that for fans who must endure the harsh northwest weather of Seattle, Wash.? Leave the sunscreen and shades at home.

• Coincidence? Since the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana, neither the Broncos or Seahawks have lost a home game. I expect some of the more demonstrative black and gold fans to begin calling their congressmen. Whatever it takes, right?

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or

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