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Notebook: Freeport faces tough stretch after bad weather

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Friday, Feb. 9, 2007

Freeport's boys basketball team clinched a playoff berth with a win over Burrell on Wednesday night, and it couldn't come at a better time for the Yellowjackets.

This week's frigid weather has tightened the stretch run for Freeport considerably.

Thanks to Tuesday's postponement of the Burrell game, the Yellowjackets (12-6, 8-4 Section 1-AA) are forced to play three games in four days to wrap up the regular season.

Freeport already had Jeannette (16-3, 12-0) scheduled for Saturday night due to a previous postponement. Jeannette asked for the game to be moved because of its extended run in the football playoffs.

The Yellowjackets play Ford City (9-14, 3-10) tonight.

The challenge for Freeport coach Mike Beale is to keep his players sharp with the WPIAL playoffs just around the corner.

"We just reduced the amount of time practicing," Beale said. "At this point in the season, we are just fine-tuning sets, while at the same time trying to keep our legs fresh."

Freeport could still tie Greensburg Central Catholic (17-6, 10-3) for second place.

Cager Classic rosters out

Rosters were announced for the 11th annual Cager Classic senior all-star games set for March 17 at Highlands High School.

They are as follows:

West boys -- Ahmed Abu-Elmagd, John Hastings, Fox Chapel; Brady Sherrieb, Brian Zimmerman, Freeport; Asa Braxton, Joe Cangilla, Hampton; Eric Duerr, Pine-Richland; Ray Arch, Springdale; Nate Vertosick, St. Joseph; John Bastian, Deer Lakes, Dane Porter, Highlands; Chris Cassidy, Mars.

Coach: Mike Beale, Freeport.

East boys -- Zack Ziemianski, Burrell; Steve Holeczy, Cheswick Christian; Ryan Hand, Ford City; Brad Lookabaugh, Kiski Area; Jared Bowser, Kittanning; Nick Matviko, Steve Predebon, Leechburg; Jarrad Barbarino, Plum; Matt Bickert, Riverview; Thad Hill, Shady Side Academy; Ryan Orr, Valley.

Coach: Greg Fox, Apollo-Ridge.

West girls -- Catlyn Kriston, Fox Chapel; Stephanie Clowes, Freeport; Erin Szursewski, Hampton; Abby Marshall, Knoch; Lizz King, Knoch; Haley Geyer, Vanessa Pappas, Mars; Tricia Adamcyk, Pine-Richland; Gina Palermo, Springdale; Erin Rapsinski, St. Joseph; Amanda Murphy, Deer Lakes; Shimesha Cowell, Highlands.

Coach: Curt Vasas, Knoch.

East girls -- Kelsey Altmire, Apollo-Ridge; Katelyn Novak, Burrell; Emilt Maust, Cheswick Christian; Alyssa Young, Rebecca Lendyak, Ford City; Tasha Reid, Kiski Area; Jill Emberg, Kittanning; Ashley Klingensmith, Leechburg; Kara Marshall, Plum; Amanda Kumar, Riverview; Kate Shearer, Shady Side Academy; Nicole Shannon, Valley.

Coach: Erin Arnold, Leechburg.

The all-star skills competition will begin at 7 p.m. March 16, while the girls game will be at 6 p.m. and the boys game at 8 p.m. March 17.

Tickets are available at B&J Sporting Goods in Natrona Heights (724-224-2762).

The event also has a Web site .

Playoff picture

The local boys playoff picture will become clear over the next two nights.

The top four teams in each section qualify.

Plum can clinch the fourth spot in Section 2-AAAA with wins over Gateway tonight and Woodland Hills on Saturday.

Valley needs to finish ahead of or tie Mars in Section 1-AAA to qualify. The Vikings play Highlands tonight and Knoch on Saturday. Mars plays Knoch tonight.

Burrell needs to beat East Allegheny tonight, have West Shamokin lose to Apollo-Ridge or have Freeport lose its last two section games to qualify.

Teams that already have clinched spots are Fox Chapel in Class AAAA, Highlands and Knoch in Class AAA, Freeport and Riverview in Class AA and Leechburg and St. Joseph in Class A.

Girls teams heading to the postseason (before Thursday's games) include Kiski Area in Class AAAA, Knoch in Class AAA and Ford City, Freeport, Riverview and Springdale in Class AA.

The WPIAL playoff pairings will be announced 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Coraopolis.

Closing in

Cheswick Christian Academy senior guard Steve Holeczy needs only five points to tie 2004 graduate Nate Davis' all-time school scoring mark of 1,627 points.

Davis has an ideal game to get the record.

Cheswick plays Beaver County Christian at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at Penn State New Kensington. It will be Cheswick's Senior Night.

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