March 2, 2013 7:00 a.m. EDINBORO —
Step aside, Bill Hager.
Legendary General McLane basketball coach Andy Schulz became the District 10 all-time winningiest boys’ basketball coach Friday night as his Lancers claimed their second consecutive Class AAA championship with a nail-biting 47-44 win over Girard at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House.
Schulz now has 598 career victories, breaking a tie with Hager, the former Maplewood and Franklin boys’ coach.
“This win isn’t about me breaking the record ... it’s about the kids,” said the humbled Schulz. “They (players) worked really hard for this championship and I’m very proud of them.”
The GM mentor probably would have preferred the record-breaking win to be less stressful.
The Lancers led the entire game, but Girard — which handed GM its only two losses in Region 6 during the regular season — finished with a flourish and nearly sent the game into overtime.
Trailing 45-36, the Yellow Jackets’ Joe Swanson and Alexander Cruz bombed in consecutive three-pointers to cut the deficit to 45-42 with 24 seconds left in the game.
After GM’s Jaymon Mason sank two free throws and Girard’s Nason McCall scored on an offensive rebound, the Yellow Jackets immediately fouled the Lancers’ Lukas Hallet with 10 seconds showing on the clock.
The tactic worked as Hallet missed both free throws — giving Girard one last attempt to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Schulz & Co. held their breath as Girard’s Joe Dunn launched a three-point attempt from the left wing ... short ... game over.
“What a fantastic game! ... two great teams battling to the last second,” said Schulz. “I have to give Girard a lot of credit for coming back like they did.”
Schulz knew how to fight off the gutsy Yellow Jackets — give the ball to Mason.
General McLane led 25-10 with 3:43 remaining in the second quarter, but Girard closed the second stanza with a 7-0 run to get within 25-17 at halftime.
Fearing the momentum might be slipping away, Schulz’s opening two plays in the third quarter were designed for Mason, his 6-foot-3 senior standout.
Mason tossed in a 15-footer and then bombed in a three-pointer from the top of the key to increase the Lancers’ lead to 30-19 with 5:20 left in the third quarter.
Leading 35-29, Schulz called upon Mason again. After converting a 12-foot floater, the silky-smooth, left-handed Lancer drove the lane and sank another floater (with his right hand) to push GM’s lead to 39-29 with 3:23 left in the game.
Still not a safe lead for the Lancers.
Swanson drained a three-pointer and made three free throws after getting fouled on a three-point attempt to get Girard within 39-36 with 1:10 showing on the clock.
Mason time again.
After Halley swished two free throws, Mason — GM’s primarily ball-handler — sank four straight free throws to increase the Lancers’ lead to 45-36 with 49 seconds remaining in the game.
General McLane then held on ... barely.
Mason was a one-man show for the Lancers with a game-high 22 points. He was seven-for-12 from the floor and six-for-seven at the foul line.
Swanson led Girard with 18 points.
March 2, 2013 7:00 a.m. EDINBORO —
Step aside, Bill Hager.
Breese closes career with second straight title
Sam Breese now knows how it feels to be perfect.
Breese finished with an undefeated season record of 35-0, with win No. 35 being the sweetest one of all.
The Lakeview senior stared into the face of the pressure that comes with defending a title, and made the Giant Center in Hershey feel like home. Undeniable talent and an incredible determination are the hallmarks of Breese’s approach to wrestling, and for the second straight year, he can call himself a champion.
McLane’s Wheeling comes up short in final
On a night when six wrestlers repeated as PIAA Class AAA champions, Chance Marsteller and Thomas Haines stole the show.
Marsteller, of Kennard-Dale, and Haines, of Solanco, became the 11th and 12th four-time gold-medal winners in Pennsylvania history. Marsteller (166-0) also is the first four-time champion to complete his career without a loss since Cary Kolat (1989-92) and the fourth overall.
Serra outlasts Cardinals
For the second time in as many days a basketball team from Cochranton High School played a private school from the WPIAL, put forth a valiant fight, but ultimately had its heart broken.
On Friday, it was the Cochranton boys team, which fell to Vincentian Academy 95-85.
Breese lone local to reach Class AA finals
A busy and entertaining Day 2 of wrestling at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey came and went, as did the dreams of a gold medal for a handful of local wrestlers.
The one local wrestler that doesn’t apply to is Lakeview’s Sam Breese, who had the Giant Center crowd in aw during his two matches Friday. The two bouts equated to two wins, which means a shot a defending his championship.
Lee, Wheeling survive Day 2 in Hershey
Ehrin Lee’s smile following his quarterfinal win Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships told the whole story.
Lee has had his eyes on the state championships all season long, and just getting there wasn’t enough. The Titusville 160-pounder has wrestled like one of the best grapplers in the state during the tournament thus far, and his 3-2 overtime win over Northampton’s Bobby Fehr proved that if nothing else, he’s one of the four best wrestlers in his weight class.
Cards can’t slow Vincentian
The starters on the Cochranton boys basketball team probably slept like logs on Friday night.
They left every ounce on the hardwood of Meadville High School’s House of Thrills, going up against the high-intensity attack of Vincentian Academy in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
McLane rolls past Neshannock
Sarah Jay has made a habit of presenting her players with in depth scouting reports prior to each and every game.
But the report she handed them on Neshannock, the Lady Lancers’ first round opponent in the PIAA Class AA playoffs, was nothing like they had seen before.
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.
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