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Alle-Kiski notebook: Basketball collision invokes concussion rule

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, 10:27 p.m.
Highlands Jamison Nee drives by Knoch's Austin Hannes on a first-half fast break basket Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 in Harrison.
Eric Felack | Trib Total Media
Highlands Jamison Nee drives by Knoch's Austin Hannes on a first-half fast break basket Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 in Harrison.
Freeport's Zoe Soilis lines up a shot during basketball practice at Freeport Middle School on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.
Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
Freeport's Zoe Soilis lines up a shot during basketball practice at Freeport Middle School on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.
Burrell's Natalie Myers makes a pass during basketball practice on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, at Burrell.
Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
Burrell's Natalie Myers makes a pass during basketball practice on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, at Burrell.

Two things came out of last week's Highlands-Freeport boys game:

One, Highlands has the ability to shoot the lights out.

Two, if there's a doctor in the house, he better have his prescription pad handy when a player bumps his or her head.

A fairly new rule says potentially concussed players need a doctor's clearance — referees are asking for a signature, too — to return to the court during games. Highlands' Jamison Nee and Freeport's Evan Schaffhauser found that out when they banged foreheads just before halftime of Highlands' win. Neither player was allowed to return to the game.

The incident shed light on the PIAA rule.

With referees following initial concussion protocol, Nee and Schaffhauser needed a doctor's clearance and signature on the proper paperwork to return.

When a player could have a concussion, officials have the right to ask for an exam of the player. Trainers cannot clear the player. It is the doctor who ultimately is responsible for the script and green light.

Both players needed stitches. Nee got 11 of them above his right eye. He wears Rec Specs now and said, “I hate them, but it's only for one more week.”

“The only way the athlete may return is for the physician to sign a release on his prescription stationery,” Freeport trainer Bill Siegel said. “We had a physician that evaluated him but didn't have a prescription pad to release him, and the officials would not allow him to return.”

Tom Lynch, a local doctor and the father of Freeport junior guard Kevin Lynch, came down from the stands to check out Nee, according to Freeport athletic director Shawn Stivenson.

“It's a tough rule, especially when the parents say the kid can go back in,” Highlands coach Tyler Stoczynski said. “And what if there are no doctors? Can you imagine if this happens in the WPIAL or state championship game?”

Local basketball official Mike Jarosinski said the concussion-driven rule has been around for about three years. Having a doctor nearby with his proper letterhead could be a plus.

“I officiate a lot of high school and college football,” Jarosinski said. “I always see a team doctor on the sideline at both levels. In my 15 years of officiating basketball, I am not so sure I recall seeing a team doctor who travels with the basketball team.”

Siegel said the rule protects the athletes but puts much more onus on the officials when it comes to player safety. The doctor's signature helps refs with liability issues.

Soilis nears mark

Freeport senior guard Zoe Soilis could be the next local player to reach the career 1,000-point milestone. Soilis was at 920 points five games into this season.

Burrell-GCC showdown

The first Burrell-Greensburg Central Catholic girls clash of the season will be Monday at GCC. The teams split their two-game Section 2-AA series last season with each team winning on the other's court.

Last year, host GCC beat the Bucs, 50-39, to snap Burrell's 35-game regular-season winning streak against Class AA teams and its 30-game section winning streak.

Myers into second

Burrell senior forward Natalie Myers moved into second place on the school's scoring list, passing 1990 grad Kim Horvath, who scored 1,148 points. Myers, a Youngstown State recruit, is at 1,178. Sydney Bordonaro has the school record with 1,754 career points.

Johnson back

D'Aundre Johnson is back at Valley. The senior guard initially did not come out for the basketball team because he wanted to concentrate on football.

“I didn't want to just quit on my team,” he said.

3-on-3 tournament

Leechburg will honor the memory of former player Samantha Smith with a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday at Leechburg High School.

Smith died in a car accident in 2011.

The tournament, organized by another former Blue Devils athlete, Caleb Orendi, benefits the Samantha Smith scholarship fund. The event raised more than $1,000 last year. Orendi said about 20 teams are signed up, and spectators are encouraged to attend.

Alumni game

Kiski Area's boys basketball boosters will have an alumni night Tuesday when the Cavaliers host Albert Gallatin. Former players will be recognized at halftime. They can register at the alumni table in the gym lobby prior to the game.

For information, Bud Bisceglia, 824-992-0537 or

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at

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