Things were going pretty well for the Meadville boys basketball team.
The Bulldogs were riding a seven-game winning streak and were just a game back of Region 5-leading Hickory going into Friday’s game at Oil City.
Today, Meadville finds itself in a much different situation.
Friday night did not end as many would anticipate.
The Bulldogs, who had been shooting the ball very well, hit a wall. They shot just 35.4 percent for the game and scored just six points in the third quarter en route to a 62-52 loss to the Oilers, who had entered the game with just two region wins.
The loss was Meadville’s first since falling to Hickory back on Dec. 18 (75-63) and dropped the Bulldogs to two games back of the Hornets in the Region 5 standings and in a tie for second place with Franklin.
Question now is, how will the Bulldogs respond?
Meadville (10-3, 6-2 Region 5) has little time to dwell on Friday night’s loss. Today, the Bulldogs begin the second half of the regular season at Sharon. On Thursday, the ’Dogs play host to Hickory.
Earlier this season, Meadville beat Sharon 81-74 at the House of Thrills in a game that got a little too close for comfort late. Zak Price led the Bulldogs with 23 points. Khalil Hopson and Darrell Stovall had 19 points apiece for the Tigers (6-7, 4-4), who are tied with Farrell (7-7, 4-4) for fourth place in Region 5, just two games back of Meadville and Franklin (8-6, 6-2).
Sharon has lost three of its last five games, but the Tigers have not lost at home yet this season.
The Bulldogs cannot afford to go into Thursday’s game with Hickory on a two-game losing streak.
Starting off with a bang
Meadville isn’t the only team looking to make some noise as the second half of the season gets underway today across the area.
In Region 3 girls basketball, the top four teams in the standings meet tonight. Region-leading Conneaut hosts fourth-place Cambridge Springs, while Cochranton and Saegertown — tied for second place in the region — square off in Saegertown.
Both Conneaut and Cochranton are sitting pretty comfortably going into the second half of the season. The Eagles are in prime position to earn a District 10 Class AAA playoff spot at 12-2 overall. Cochranton is currently the top Class A team in the region by two games over Eisenhower and should also earn a playoff spot. The question comes at Class AA.
Saegertown (7-5, 4-2 Region 3) is currently the top Class AA team in Region 3, but by just a game over Cambridge Springs (8-5, 3-3). According to District 10, “in mixed classification regions the highest ranking team in classification will qualify provided there are two or more teams of the same classification.” That means only one of those teams is guaranteed a spot in the eight-team bracket. And earning an at-large spot in Class AA could be difficult.
Going into today’s action, Sharpsville (7-6 overall) and General McLane (13-1) would qualify as champions of regions 2 and 4, respectively, and Saegertown would be the automatic qualifier out of Region 3. The front runners for the remaining at-large bids would be North East (12-1), Seneca (11-3), Girard (10-4), Mercer (9-4) and Sharon (8-5).
Cambridge Springs is at Cochranton on Thursday. It could be a big week for the Lady Blue Devils.
In county boys basketball, it could be a relatively uneventful week unless someone pulls off a big upset. Region 3 leader Saegertown is at Eisenhower today. Cochranton hosts Jamestown in a non-region tilt on Wednesday. Conneaut doesn’t play again until Jan. 29 when it hosts Cochranton.
Saegertown, Conneaut and Cochranton are the top three teams, respectively, in Region 3.
Roll out the carpet
So the first half of the season has come and gone, and there are a few players and teams who made it a pretty entertaining first half.
First, how about General McLane sophomore Michelle Jahn?
Jahn finished the first half of the season averaging 14.9 points per game — second best in the Trib’s coverage area — and with a whopping 35 3-pointers. Cambridge Springs’ Taylor Babb and Meadville’s Shauntia Vactor-Pope are second in the area in treys. How many? 14.
Conneaut’s Kristen Baker is the area’s leading scorer with 15.4 points per game.
General McLane and Conneaut also made some noise collectively in the first half of the season and both lead their respective regions going into the second half. But the team that came away with perhaps the most impressive first half would have to be the Lakeview boys basketball team.
The Sailors are 12-2 overall and 5-1 in Region 2 with their lone losses coming to John Hay (Ohio) and West Middlesex, which remains ranked No. 8 in the state in Class AA in The Patriot-News’ latest state rankings.
Lakeview already had one player reach the 1,000-point mark for his career this season. Casey Greggs became the first for the boys since 2002 to reach that milestone. Dalton Boggs could add his name to that list in the second half of the season.
Who will be the stars of the second half? Stay tuned.
Things were going pretty well for the Meadville boys basketball team.
Class AA first round filled with highs, lows for locals
It was a day full of highs and lows for the 11 local Class AA wrestlers on the opening day of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey.
For some, it was business as usual, and for others, the atmosphere of a crowded Giant Center proved to be a little much. By the time the preliminary and Round 1 consolation rounds were finished, eight wrestlers are still alive, with state wrestling experience proving to be invaluable Thursday morning.
Lee, Wheeling stay in hunt for Class AAA state title
A win is a win, and when it comes to the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships, as long as your score reads higher in the end, it really doesn’t matter how you get there.
During the preliminary round of the tournament Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center in Hershey, the six local qualifiers certainly had mixed results, but in the end, two wrestlers are still in the championship bracket, exactly where they want to be.
Cards look to slow down Vincentian
“The best way to sum it up is,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy, “it’s like they’re down five and there are 30 seconds to go. Only, they play like that for the entire 32 minutes.”
McCurdy is talking about the Vincentian Academy boys basketball team, which employs a style that’s ... well ... calling it up-tempo just doesn’t seem to suffice.
Lancers get tough draw in opener
One may think that by winning a District 10 title and getting paired up with the seventh seed out of District 7 for the first round of the state playoffs, that said champion would have a pretty choice matchup.
Yet, that’s not how things shook out for the General McLane girls basketball team. The D-10 champion Lady Lancers drew a challenging foe in Neshannock.
’Dogs rout Bison to reach title game
Having defeated Fort LeBoeuf by a grand total of 24-0 in their previous three meetings, the tension wasn’t exactly palpable for the Meadville Bulldogs hockey team as it squared off with the Bison in a Lakeshore Hockey League semfinal game on Thursday night at Erie Insurance Arena.
Calvary wins opener
The Calvary Baptist girls basketball team won its opening game of the National Christian School Athletic Association Tournament on Thursday at Family First Sports Park.
Gators win lacrosse home opener
Allegheny moved to 3-0-0 on the year with its 20-8 win over Washington & Jefferson on Thursday in women’s lacrosse action at Frank B. Fuhrer Field.
5 memorable college hoops tourney buzzer beaters
It's March, which means the NCAA Tournament is just around the corner. But before March Madness takes hold, the conference tournaments, which get under way this week, often provide their own share of exciting finishes. Here are five memorable buzzer beaters from conference tournament play.
CLASS AA WRESTLING: Local grapplers set sights on state gold
Of the 11 local Class AA wrestlers embarking on wrestling glory at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships, six are making return trips to Hershey, while five grapplers will the view the big stage for the very first time.
CLASS AAA WRESTLING: Lee, McLane duo seek redemption in Hershey
Matching the number from a year ago, the General McLane wrestling team is sending five wrestlers to Hershey for the PIAA Class AAA Individual Wrestling Championships that begin today at 4 p.m. at the Giant Center.
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