High School Sports Blog

Lorain County Sports


This is Why We Do It

Filed by Tim Alcorn · January 21st, 2013.

A few years back, popular recording artist Montell Jordan had a smash hit, “This is How We Do It”.  Well, to paraphase Montell, Saturday night at the Elyria Catholic Coliseum was a classic example of “This is Why We Do It” in regards to high school basketball.  It was a game that exemplified why players play, coaches coach, cheerleaders cheer, fans roar, and broadcasters put a microphone on.  EC’s heart-pounding 77-75 win over Elyria High School was as good as it gets.  It was the most exhilerating night of basketball we have had in a long time on WEOL.

The place was jumping from the get go, as the EC fans rolled in decked out in their green, and the Pioneer faithful filled their side in a sea of red.  Like the roar of a crowd when the opening bell rings in a prizefight, the fans were in it from the opening tip.  And the players did not disappoint!  In race-horse style, the two teams went up and down the floor in the first quarter combining for 49 points, and then 41 more in the 2nd quarter in a dizzying array of baskets, including 13 made three-point shots in the first two quarters!  Perhaps the two teams had to catch their breath in the 3rd as the action slowed, but then they ramped it up again in the 4th period, combining for 40 points, and EC hanging on for the thrilling two point win.  What a night of basketball and what a night for the city of Elyria!  For EC fans, the right to celebrate only their second win ever against Elyria, and for Pioneer fans, I’m sure next year’s rematch is already circled on the calendar.

But to me, not only was the basketball game great, but the fans afterwards as well.  Those fans in green and were shaking hands and hugging those wearing the red as all involved relished what they had just witnessed, a game that will be talked about for a long time to come.  Indeed, “This is Why We Do It”, to have nights and games like Saturday at Elyria Catholic.  It is and was makes high school sports so incredibly special.

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Young Role Models for Local Hockey Players?

Filed by Andy Sanzotta · January 16th, 2013.

Ten days ago the Team USA World Junior Hockey Team won their second championship in the last four years when they defeated Sweden 3-1 in the Gold Medal game of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Russia.

The tournament featured 10 countries that assembled their greatest players under the age of 20 in a two week pool play and round robin styled event that began December 26, 2012 and concluded January 5, 2013. When it comes to hockey, Canada is almost always the heavy favorite to win the gold medal. This year, however, belonged to the Americans who avenged an earlier 2-1 loss in pool play by beating the Canadians 5-1 in the Semi-Finals. Canada would not even medal this year, losing to host Russia in the Bronze Medal game.

This achievement for the young American squad piqued my interest and made me wonder if local high school players like Midview’s Austin Steindl, Manny Ceja and Brock Behler or Amherst’s Steven Morris, Avon’s Eric Novakovic and Elyria Catholic’s Stephen Donat have aspirations to play at the next stage of their hockey life in either college or potentially at the Junior level as well. It also brought to mind the fact that every single one of those players could have been looking up to that whole U-20 team over the course of those two weeks and saying to themselves, I want to be just like them and play for my country someday.

As most of you are aware, hockey is Canada’s National Pastime just like football or baseball is here in the United States. It is so popular that famous country music singer Paul Brandt wrote a song specifically for the World Junior Hockey Championships this year called “I Was There.” Here is the link to the video for the song…enjoy!

 

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High School Basketball Mid-Season update

Filed by Tim Alcorn · January 15th, 2013.

We have hit mid-January, we have hit the mid-point of the high school basketball season, which means its time to reflect on boys basketball at the half-way point.  Who’s up?  Who’s down?  Who’s getting ready for a strong second half of the campaign?

I’m not a rocket scientist, but it’s not hard to figure out who’s the hottest basketball team in Lorain County.  The Columbia Raiders under first year head coach Larry Babics are a blistering 11-0 and have cracked the P-D top 25.  What a fantastic first half of the season for the Raiders.  The Elyria Pioneers are another team playing very well, having won three straight to go 10-2 on the season.  Congratulations to Pioneer Kody Bender for surpassing the 1,000 career point mark.  Another red-hot team is Oberlin.  The Phoenix have ripped off five straight victories, and stand 7-4 at the halfway point of the season.  Also riding a five game winning streak, the Vermilion Sailors are playing well, and now stand at 8-5.  The Sailors recent string of victories came after they had lost four straight.  The Shoremen from Avon Lake have won four of five to get to 6-4 on the year.  Also winning four of their last five are the Firelands Falcons, who now stand at 6-5.

Several area teams are riding the proverbial roller coaster, win one, lose one, win two, lose two.  Those looking for more consistency include Amherst, Avon, Keystone, Elyria Catholic, Wellington and Lorain.

There are several area teams that have hit a dip at mid-season.  Brookside, Clearview and Midview have all lost four straight, while North Ridgeville has lost their last three games.  If those clubs dont turn things around quickly, it could be a very long final six weeks of the regular season.  Losing is just as contagious as winning.

A lot of basketball is still to be played, but if teams harbor aspirations for a conference championship or deep tournament run, the time to pick it up a notch is right now.  If it doesn’t happen quickly, you can start thinking about bats and gloves or track gear.

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Can Hockey Fans Forgive and Forget?

Filed by Andy Sanzotta · January 7th, 2013.

After nearly 120 days (113 to be exact) of the lockout the NHL and NHLPA have reached a tentative agreement to salvage what’s left of the 2013 hockey season. Nothing is official just yet but all the experts have reason to believe the latest deal that was proposed to the players by the owners will be accepted as of this coming Wednesday. Depending on when they decide the season will start it will be either a 50 or 48 game regular season and because of the late start, that means that the Stanley Cup Playoffs will last until the end of June.

The deal is still considered tentative at this point because the board of governors still has to give the approval, they are scheduled to meet with all 30 owners on Wednesday. According to Scott Burnside of espn.com, this is the language of the proposed CBA.

“The tentative agreement is a 10-year deal with a mutual opt-out clause after eight years and includes contract term limits at seven years (eight years for a team to re-sign its own players). For the first year, the salary cap is $60 million, but teams can spend up to $70.2 million in the transition period, while the floor is $44 million.

Sources said the 2013-14 salary cap, a very divisive issue, will be $64.3 million, while the floor will remain at $44 million. Revenue sharing will spread $200 million, with a $60 million NHLPA-initiated growth fund included.”

As all of you know I have a passion for this sport like no other and although I am still very sour about the strike in the first place and do not approve of Gary Bettman being the NHL Commissioner, I am ecstatic that I can begin watching games again when football is over. I know for a fact the die-hard fans like myself will be back on Day 1, however I firmly believe that the rest of the sports’ fans will not come back for quite some time and after a major market team like the Los Angeles Kings won the Cup last season, I personally felt like this year’s work stoppage could not have come at a worse time for the game.

In the end I am relieved there will be a season and just hope other hockey fans can forgive the league for what it did to its fans over the last 113 days. At least we’ve had high school hockey in Lorain County to help us get our hockey fix. Just a reminder, we’ve got games on Wednesday (Elyria Catholic vs. Westlake) and Sunday (Avon vs. Midview) click here for details.

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Avon Eagles Soaring Towards 2nd Title

Filed by Andy Sanzotta · December 28th, 2012.

Although the students are currently on break for the Holidays there’s no time off when it comes to tournament hockey. This year the Avon Eagles will attempt to claim their second consecutive Holiday Tournament Championship, and after Thursday’s thriller against Olmsted Falls they are that much closer to doing just that. Read the full story here.

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Basketball Junkies Paradise

Filed by Tim Alcorn · December 26th, 2012.

Aside from “March Madness”, when it’s basketball night after night after night, this weekend is the best time of the season for the pure basketball “junkie”.  Why is that you ask?  Because it’s holiday tournament time, with wall to wall hoops in several locations.

On the girls side, the Amherst Holiday tournament will tip off Thursday with Amherst, Elyria, Avon and Sandusky Perkins all hitting the hardwood at the Comet gymnasium at Marion Steele High School in Amherst.  The first game Thursday (6p) will pit the Lady Pioneers of Elyria against Avon, followed by Amherst taking on Perkins.  The Amherst tournament will conclude on Friday night.

Also Friday night, for the boys, two long-time tournaments will get underway.  At Midview, the DiFranco Tournament will commence at 6p, with Amherst taking on undefeated Columbia, followed by Midview facing Cloverleaf.  Both games Friday, and both games Saturday from Midview, will be streamed on weol.com!  Over at Avon Lake, the Lorain County Holiday tournament will also tip off on Friday night when Elyria takes on Lorain at 6, followed by Avon Lake facing their border rival, the Avon Eagles.  Both games on Friday, and the consolation game and championship game on Saturday, will air on AM930 WEOL (and be streamed on weol.com).

Another local boys team involved in a holiday tournament will be Oberlin, as they will travel to Wickliffe for games on Friday and Saturday.

It’s as much a holiday tradition as Christmas music, time with family, and snow on the ground.  Holiday tournament basketball.  But for someone who loves the game (like I do), it might be the best present of all!

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Snow and Ice – That’s the Way I Like It!

Filed by Andy Sanzotta · December 26th, 2012.

With the snow coming down and winter officially here, this is once again a great reminder that it’s hockey season. With the NHL season all but completely cancelled up to this point, there are still plenty of games out there for the die-hard hockey fan. Northeast Ohio alone has over 15 high schools that have a hockey program and there’s also exciting action at the professional level thanks to the Lake Erie Monsters. Next week there will be a unique combination of the two. On Thursday, January 3rd, the Elyria Catholic Panthers face off against the Normandy Invaders at 3:30pm at Quicken Loans Arena. At 7pm the Lake Erie Monsters take on the Charlotte Checkers. Having called hundreds of hockey games at all levels over the course of my career I can only imagine the level of excitement the high school players will be experiencing when they take to the ice next week.

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