The second Mr. and Miss Pennsylvania Basketball Awards are underway! The award puts the spotlight on the best male and female high school basketball players, and gives them the recognition they deserve. All high school basketball players in the state of Pennsylvania are eligible for nomination, which started yesterday.
The panel of judges choosing from the pool of nominees is a mix of basketball fans, sportswriters and sportscasters, and coaches. The fans will nominate and vote before their decisions are handed over to the judges and narrowed down. Fans, media, and coaches will represent 1/3 of the judging panel.
All voting will take place online on pabball.com. The deadline for nominations will be March 5th, 2015. In order for a player to be considered for Mr. and Miss PA Basketball, they need to receive at least fifty fan nominations.
Awards programs like this have been a tradition for twenty-six states with prestigious basketball programs, such as Texas, Indiana, Ohio, California, Kentucky, Kansas, Illinois, New York, Michigan, and North Carolina. According to basketball enthusiasts, Pennsylvania is long overdue for this program. As the talent continues to turn out in the Keystone State, more and more athletes are ready to receive recognition.
COME ON, PENNSYLVANIA… NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE PLAYERS NOW!!!
Miss PA Basketball
Nominate your favorite deserving female player here:
Mr. PA Basketball
Nominate your favorite deserving male player here:
Here is the schedule from pennlive.com
*The following will be the selection process time line:*
Nomination Deadline: March 5, 2015
Tremendous Twenty Selected: March 15, 2015
Top Ten Selected: March 25, 2015
Finalists Selected: April 1, 2015
*The nominations deadline and selection process time line for each voting round are subject to change]]>
Whitehall senior, Brett Radocha has been the superstar of the High School’s boys basketball team so far this season. The center racked up a game-high 21 points on Saturday afternoon’s game against Bangor, launching them into a 50-41 victory in the District 11 Class AAAA quarterfinal at Pleasant Valley High School. The win advances the Zephyrs into the semifinals today, against Nazareth.
Radocha showed his skill with a 3-pointer, and made 4 of 6 from the foul line. He also had six rebounds.“We always feel like Brett can score,” Whitehall coach Jeff Jones said. “Part of our emphasis is to get him the ball inside. Teammate and fellow senior, Jacob Meyers, assisted with 14 points for Whitehall, which brought them to a 14-7 lead.
“Bron does a great job. I really respect those kids. They played as hard as they could,” said Jones of Bangor’s coach, Bron Holland and team. In the third quarter, senior forward Shavaughn Morris hit a basket which led the Slaters 25-20 with 18 seconds to go. The lead didnt’ last long, however, because the Zephyrs bounced back 28-26 with five minutes left in the third. “In the second half we did a better job chasing their shooters,” Radocha said. “I give credit to our guards for contesting their shots.”]]>
Kiera Supple has been in the spotlight for some fantastic firsts for her school’s swimming team. Supple, a junior at Salem Academy in Oregon, was one of the first swimmers from the school to win a district championship and qualify for the OSAA Class 4A/3A/2A/1A State Championships in 2013. On Saturday she gave the school its first state championship in swimming, taking the win in the 100 backstroke in 59.29 at the state meet at Mt. Hood Community College
“It feels really amazing,” Supple said. “It feels really surreal, like you’ve been dreaming about it, but it actually hasn’t happened. It’s great. We’ve had so much support come out and help us, it’s really amazing.” Supple’s win set the tone for the team and their capability of competing at the state level. In fifth place, Salem Academy reached its best state finish in four years and third consecutive top 10 placing. “I think that’s our goal as a program is to get as many state champions in the future as possible,” said Salem Academy coach Maria Robertson. “It’s really awesome Kiera’s our first, and she will always be that. And I think she’ll be something that these other girls and guys can look up to, a person they can look up to in the future. We like to dream big, and Kiera helps with that a lot.”
Joining this team effort was Grace Warde, Emma Boles, and Joelle Debban, placing second in the 200 medley relay in 1:54.50.
Kiera displayed her knowledge of the sport at the start of the backstroke with her ability to pace herself and finish strong. She appeared to start slow and was the third swimmer to touch the wall after the first 25 yards. Coach Robertson comments, “I was watching that, too, and I was like, ooh, she’s not as much in the lead as she normally is, and then at the wall when she flipped I saw her split, and I said, no, she’s doing what she needs to do. I was confident that Kiera’s endurance was going to take her home.” Supple knew she needed to pick it up, quickly blowing past Sweet Home sophomore, Jessica Coats, by almost a full second to take the win. “I could see the two girls next to me really close to me and it really pushed me to go faster,” Supple says.
On Wednesday evening, Central Bucks West senior, Mackenzie Carroll rightfully took her place in the school’s history. In the final moments of the Bucks District One Class AAAA, she made a foul shot that allowed her to reach her 1,000th career point. She joins senior Nicole Munger in acheiving the prestigious feat this season. “She’s worked as hard as anybody,” coach Terry Rakowsky said of his senior captain. “Even just physically — I tell my freshmen, ‘Look at yourself in the mirror. That’s how Mackenzie was in ninth grade.’
During her sophomore year, Carroll started to show her ability to rack up points. “When you look at her now on the court — that’s all working hard, which improved her game because she can get to the basket now. And she gets there with a lot of authority,” said Rakowsky.
Carroll went into Wednesday night’s game against Council Rock North with the intention of tightening the gap and taking the win. “Scoring a thousand points is a big deal, but we want states,” said Carroll, who needed six points entering the game. Fans littered the stands in support of Carroll that evening, excited to see her reach that goal. They cheered and held up photos of Carroll’s face.
The Bucks advanced to face No. 7 Upper Dublin — a 36-33 overtime winner over No. 10 Perkiomen Valley — at home on Saturday at 1:30.]]>
As a child going through school, many of us were involved in sports or clubs of some sort. It was one way to shape our interests as a person, make new friends, and develop a healthy, well-rounded school day. Some of us will find that one sport or club that turns into a life-long passion; others will take an interest in lots of different activities.
18 year-old Jack Zielinski sampled many different sports as a kid. “My dad wanted me to try everything — and I pretty much did: track, football, lacrosse … you name it. But hockey was different. Right away I loved hockey. Lacrosse and football — they were OK. They were fun. But to me they were nothing compared to hockey,” he says. Hockey ignited a pure adrenaline rush in him that no other sport did. “As soon as I got on the ice for the first time” — as a 5-year-old — “I just fell in love with it,” said Zielinski, a standout defenseman with the Richmond Generals, a Tier III junior team based out of Richmond, Virginia. When he was just 7 years old, he began playing competitive hockey, where he really fine-tuned his skills.
“It’s hard to describe” hockey’s appeal, he said. “The speed, I think, is a big part of it. It’s a very fast game. I like that,” says Zielinski. The chill of the rink and wind-in-your-face excitement coupled with hockey’s inherent spontaneity provides a winning combination for enthusiasts. “Most sports are built around set plays,” he said. “You’re supposed to go here. You’re supposed to do such and such. But not hockey. In hockey, the game is constantly moving and changing in front of you. You constantly have to adjust and adapt. You never know what’s going to happen. You have to think quickly and you have to react quickly. I like that, too.”
With pure enthusiasm and serious skills, Zielinski is regarded as a legitimate NCAA Division I prospect. “He’s a tremendous skater — one of the best in the (18-team U.S. Premier Hockey League),” said Generals coach R.C. Lyke. “He’s fast and he’s strong, with great hands and a great shot. He has a chance, in my opinion, to be a big-time player.” Junior hockey tests not only the dedication of the player, but also that of his family. The athletes with the Generals lead lives similar to that of professionals, but without the pay. Practicing daily, putting in gym time three times a week, and playing a regular 40-game season, leaves little to no time for leisure. Since these are also high school students, they are fusing a rigorous athletic schedule with regular course work and studying. Lyke said Zielinski has flourished in this regimented environment because “he’s strong. He’s focused. He’s mature. He’s driven.”
The support of one’s family and friends is of utmost importance when the stress from such a schedule becomes overwhelming. “If a kid’s family isn’t 100 percent committed, there’s no way he’s going to be able to do this,” Lyke said. “It simply isn’t going to be possible.” Zielinski said the support of his parents, Joe and Martha, “has been huge … just huge. All of the sacrifice, all of the time they’ve invested, all of the weekends my dad spent driving me (to practices and competitions) — I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without them.”
“It’s worth it, without a doubt,” Zielinski said. “The life I’m living right now is … well, it’s a pretty awesome experience. Playing hockey, traveling, staying in hotels, seeing cool places, meeting new people, making new friends — there’s nothing like it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”]]>
Compton plays travel softball for the Rock 18 Gold, where many of her teammates have already committed to schools. This encouraged Compton to search for the right school for herself. She visited Seton Hall and Boston College, but found a home in Providence. Now that she has committed to a school she can focus on her last two seasons as a high school varsity player. “It’s really a big relief,” she said. “We go to all these college showcases and on my (travel) team there were only three girls who were uncommitted and I was one of them.”
Compton has been on the varsity team since her freshman year, and is looking forward to her final two seasons. “Everybody in high school was a great role model,” she said. ”Ever since my freshman year … They accepted everybody and made everybody feel at home. They made me want to be like them. When in my junior year and senior year, I want the younger players to feel like that.”
Providence has struggled in the reconfigured Big East, with a record of 6-29 last year (4-15 in conference play). Mackensie, however, is up to the challenge.]]>
Timberlane High School in Plainstow, New Hampshire has built up quite the reputation for their Wrestling team. After winning 21 state titles over the past 22 years, the team has a proud tradition of working hard and succeeding. Winning is only part of their success however, because the team knows how to support each other not just as teammates, but friends — Andrew Strzykalski has been a huge part of that. The 15-year-old freshman from Atkinson was welcomed to the team with open arms this school year and has taught some important life lessons about acceptance and determination. Andrew is the first student with Down syndrome to join this elite wrestling team.
The team is all about a positive attitude. “I preach that every guy is important. Every guy on the team is valuable and we need everybody to do their best,” said Barry Chooljian, the high school’s head wrestling coach and director of guidance.
Although Andrew’s mother, Barbara was hesitant to have her son join the team, she has seen what an amazing influence it has been on his life. He wrestled for two years at the middle school, but she wasn’t sure it would work out at the next level. “They take it very seriously,” she said. With the team focusing more on being a good student first, then a good person and athlete, they have helped shape Andrew’s way of thinking. The team has lent themselves to improving Andrew’s academic performance through confidence building and support. “Now he’s feeling like he’s part of something. He’s recognized. He feels wanted and needed and included. That’s all anybody wants,” she said.
Teammate Brandon Berube, 14, of Atkinson, wrestled with Andrew last year. He said he’s a strong wrestler. “It’s fun having him on the team. Sometimes he makes some jokes and makes people laugh. He’s a good inspiration on the team,” Brandon said. Dylan Hughes, 15, of Plaistow, also likes wrestling with Andrew and helping him out. “He’s wicked happy when he wrestles and he always talks about it when he’s in class,” he said.
Also working with Andrew as one-on-one para-educator is Nathan Lawrence, a volunteer coach and former wrestler. “Nate helps me to wrestle hard and to focus,” Andrew said. “Mind, body, and spirit.” He works just as hard as the rest of his team, taking regular classes and attending team practices. “We expect as much from him as we do from anybody else,” Lawrence said. Both academically and athletically, Andrew consistently pushes himself to the next level. He goes through three-hour practices with the team, consisting of running laps, doing sit-ups and push-ups. He also plays basketball, takes karate lessons, and is interested in football. The time he has spent playing guitar has peaked his interest in launching a music career someday. “If you have any question about music, he knows everything,” Chooljian said, laughing. Andrew continues to amaze his family, friends, and teammates with his shining personality and drive to do more every single day.]]>
12-year-old Mackenzie Amalia, a seventh grader at Blackhawk in Pennsylvania, has her sights set on something most kids her age don’t – College. She plays basketball so skillfully, that she has caught the attention of the women’s basketball coach from Duquesne University, Dan Burt. Amalia spent last summer at Duquesne’s girls basketball camp to polish her game, but ended up with an invite to the campus on January 19th. Amalia and her family toured the facility and were introduced to members of the Dukes’ women’s team. Most 12 year olds are not focused on college, but the University certainly planted the idea in her head. Before Amalia left the campus, Burt offered her a scholarship to play basketball.
Like several of the better young boys and girls players in western Pennsylvania, Mackenzie Amalia works out at John Miller’s Drill for Skill Academy in Center Township. One of Miller’s instructors is John Vlasic, who’s the coach of the AAU team that Mackenzie Amalia plays on. “Rarely do you see someone offer a scholarship to a seventh grader,” said Miller, the former Blackhawk boys coach. “But what Duquesne sees in Mackenzie is a very skilled player who’s a very smart player. She’s a gym rat who really works hard.”]]>
High School Basketball star Josh Speidel, was involved in a car crash over the weekend. The Columbus North senior, a 6-8 basketball standout, was hospitalized after he was involved in a car crash Sunday night. Josh received a head injury from the crash, which caused swelling in the brain. By Monday night the swelling had gone down, and everyone is praying for a quick recovery
According to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s office, Speidel was involved in a two-car accident on U.S. 31 at 7:04 p.m. Sunday. Speidel was driving a Honda and entered the roadway from a perimeter road on the west side of U.S. 31. His car was struck on the driver’s side by a southbound car, which had just exited Interstate 65. Speidel’s passenger, Kaylee McCracken, was treated for minor injuries. The driver of the other car, Janell Foley, was treated and released at the scene. Her passengers were not harmed.
Josh Speidel’s coach, Jason Speer, drove to the hospital the night of the accident to comfort Josh’s family. A lot of teammates also gathered at the hospital to show their support. Speidel is a recent Vermont recruit and one of the top players in the state. He is averaging 25.6 points and 9.3 rebounds this season for Columbus North, which is 14-3 on the season. Everyone is wishing Josh a speedy recovery. Not only is he a great basketball player, but a great friend to everyone.
A “Go Fund Me” account was set up to help pay for Josh’s medical expenses. The link is below if you would like to make a donation. We wish you a speedy recovery!
Ralph Tamm played ten seasons with the NFL and won two Super Bowl championships with Washington and the San Francisco 49ers. He won his second Super Bowl ring with the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX in January 1995. Last Saturday, Tamm was inducted into the Bensalem High School Hall of Fame. Tamm was inducted at his alma mater with 14 other athletes.
He graduated from Bensalem High School in 1984. Originally he played goal tender on the soccer team during his freshman year. He was recruited during his sophomore year to play football. Tamm may have never won two Super Bowl Rings if he was never recruited! Ralph played offensive lineman at West Chester University and in the NFL.
“This is a great honor,” Tamm said. “As you go throughout your career, this (Hall of Fame) is something you don’t think about until it’s all over, and then it’s something you’re really, really grateful for. This is where my roots are”.
After the NFL, Tamm spent his time as a sports agent for nine years. Currently, he is spending his time giving back. He is the vice President of the NFL alumni in the Rocky Mountain Chapter in Colorado. He currently resides in Colorado with his wife and son.
Individual accomplishments and busy schedule aside, Tamm seemed refreshingly grateful to be back in his hometown and enjoying everyone’s company. He stood proud center court along ten other inductees (three were unable to attend). Bensalem High School gave the inductees a warm welcome back, with the boys and girls basketball teams both winning their games that day. The girls won the first game 67-47 and the boys won the second 52-47 against Harry S. Truman.