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Trib East 2001 Year in Sports

| Sunday, Dec. 30, 2001

Here are the top-10 sports stories in the East:

  • 1. Wallace is golden : Oakland Catholic junior Jordan Wallace set the PIAA record in winning the 100 back stroke, won the 200 freestyle and then swam the anchor leg of the 400 freestyle relay to lead the Eagles to their second consecutive state team championship at Penn State's McCoy Natatorium. Wallace also won the WPIAL championships in those three events.

  • 2. Oakland Catholic basketball wins again : Oakland Catholic won its third consecutive WPIAL Class AAAA championship, then went on to beat Council Rock, 70-52, for the PIAA title. Oakland Catholic's only loss had come in the season opener against Council Rock.

  • 3. Schenley in state final : Jack Higgins hit a 3-point shot with 2.3 seconds left in overtime and added three free throws to give Schenley an 83-77 victory over George Jr. Republic in the PIAA Quad A boys basketball semifinals, making Schenley the first City League team to make the finals since Brashear in 1989. Higgins finished the game with 29 points, leading Schenley to the state title game for the first time in 23 years. Schenley had been upset in the City League championship game for the second consecutive season, this time against Peabody, and would go on to lose in the PIAA title contest, a 70-63 defeat by Coatesville.

  • 4. Serra defends hockey title: Serra Catholic rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat Springfield, 5-3, at Haverford's Skatium to earn its second consecutive Pennsylvania state high school hockey championship. Freshman B.J. DePaoli scored two goals, including the game-winner, and assisted on another in the third period for the Eagles.

  • 5. Richards jumps ahead again : Winchester Thurston's Cassandra Richards broke her own WPIAL record, as she won her third consecutive WPIAL Class AA long jump championship at South Side Beaver High School. Richards' jump of 11-10¾ was more than two-feet better than the second-place distance of Valley's Mycah Clemons, who jumped 17-7½. Richards went on to win her third consecutive PIAA championship, with a 19-7. She set the state record the previous year, with a jump of 19-11.

  • 6. Franklin Regional takes baseball title: Franklin Regional rallied from a 5-0 deficit to beat Mt. Lebanon, 9-8, in eight innings in the WPIAL Class AAA baseball championship game, the first high school contest played at PNC Park. Panthers' junior shortstop Matt Maropis hit a game-tying RBI single in the sixth, then drove home senior Mike McAfoose with a game-winning single in the eighth.

  • 7. Woodland Hills wins WPIAL football : Steve Breaston ran for 219 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown, to lead Woodland Hills to a 41-7 victory over Central Catholic in the WPIAL Quad A football championship game at Heinz Field. It was the most lopsided loss in the WPIAL Class AAAA title game, since the classification was added in 1980.

  • 8. Gissendanner leads Clairton to title: Sophomore forward Kamela Gissendanner scored 34 points and grabbed 21 rebounds to lead Clairton to a 64-50 victory over Monessen in the WPIAL Class A girls basketball championship game. Gissendanner was part of a group of five sophomore starters that helped Clairton win its first title.

  • 9. Wright helps West Mifflin to hoops title: Tanisha Wright scored 25 points and dished out 12 assists, to lead West Mifflin to a 63-53 victory over defending champion Blackhawk in the WPIAL Class AAA girls basketball championship game. The Titans went on to lose in the PIAA finals. The game was a rematch of the previous year's title game, in which Wright scored 51 points in an 81-78 loss to Blackhawk in triple overtime.

  • 10. Burrell makes PIAA baseball finals: Burrell rallied after finishing third in the WPIAL to make the PIAA Class AA championship game, where the Bucs lost to Phoenixville. Jared Bennis hit a two-run triple to help Burrell beat Philipsburg-Osceola centerfielder and Baltimore Orioles draftee Josh Potter, 5-2, in the state semifinals.

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