Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Here is the link


For updates on the District Three basketball playoffs and wrestling sectionals, etc.

Columbia football update

The Columbia School Board will meet Thursday night.

Columbia High School has been without a football coach since the first of the year.

Fifteen people have applied to replace Jason Shoff, who resigned after six years as head coach. As of the weekend, no interviews had been scheduled, that’s because at least one school official at Columbia has an in-house candidate that stands heads and shoulders above those from the outside and wants to give it to that coach, while other “powers to be” want to interview for the position.

It is not known as of today if there will or has been an interview for the coaching position or if the school board will have a name to approve at its meeting on Thursday.

Columbia is one of two schools in the L-L League without a football coach is McCaskey, who doesn’t appear to be close to hiring a replacement.

The other L-L school who had a coaching opening was Northern Lebanon and that was filled last week when Millersburg coach Ray Wall was hired to replace Jack Beidler, who got run out of the position. Millersburg won the District 3 Class A title this past season, beating the two-time defending state chap Steel-High in the process.

Refer to an earlier post to see who the favorite is for the Columbia position.

Columbia in the playoffs

Here are two things to note when it comes to the District 3 Class AA playoffs, which begin next Wednesday.

It’s been a long while since a public school won a Class AA title (Columbia) and a long time since a public school got to the finals. That could happen this year in the bottom half of the Class AA field. Three of the teams that could reach the semi-finals are public schools – Columbia, Annville-Cleona and Hanover. Of course, one of the three will have to go through Trinity to get to the finals. But at least one of the three has that chance to reach the semi-finals.

And usually when you are talking playoffs, you usually don’t get an opponent that you are too familiar with.

Well, for the Columbia boys’ basketball team, that won’t happen this year. Their first round opponent will be Section 4 foe Annville-Cleona, who they lost to on Saturday by a 45-28 score. They also beat A-C this year, 54-50.

Both teams are evenly matched. A-C led by Tyler Blanding with his 16 PPG average likes the three-pointer as they drained 108 treys for the year led by Alec Wizar with 33. That’s how they broke Saturday’s game open, hitting eight from behind the arc in the first half.

Columbia will look for scoring from seniors Brandon Arnold and Nate Wall and junior Tre’ Simms, along with the steady ball handling of freshman Nick Nobile. The play of sophomores Michael Burke and Seth Lefever will be key.

This game at best can be described as a toss up game, depending if A-C is hot from the outside and what Columbia team shows up.

If Columbia wins next Wednesday’s game at Hershey High School (7:30 p.m. tip), they will face third-seeded Hanover on Saturday at high noon at Northern High School near Dillsburg, York County. The Nighthawks, who are in the York-Adams League playoffs, are 16-4. Had Columbia beat Delone Catholic in the season opener, the two would have played in the finals of the Hanover Tip-Off Tournament.

Lancaster Mennonite from Section 4 of the L-L League is the top seed in the Class AA field and they will meet the winner of the Holy Name/Upper Dauphin game in the quarter-finals. The HN/UDA game is the lid lifter next Wednesday at Hershey High School.

The fourth seed is Delone, who will meet the winner of the Bishop McDevitt/Pequea Valley game.

Second seed Trinity, probably the best team in the Class AA field will meet the winner of the York Catholic/Tulpehocken game in the quarter-finals.

The top three teams in the Class AA field make the PIAA playoffs.

Girls' season in review

The 2009-10 basketball season at Columbia High School has been over for the Tide girls for more than a week now.

The Tide girls won’t play their final two games against Pequea Valley and Annville-Cleona and will finish 0-20.

So let’s get the unpleasant stuff out of the way first. This will be first time since I think the early 1980s that Columbia won’t participate in the District 3 playoffs, where they haven’t advanced past the first round since Rick Bentley left as coach since I think it was after the 2000 season. It’s also the first time since the early 1980s or even before that the Tide failed to win a game in girls’ basketball.

Now, let’s move on.

The Tide program has dropped from the top of the L-L League since Bentley left as coach to the bottom. In came new coach/old coach Gary Sutton, who guided the Tide boys to a state championship back in 1987. With his arrival came a whole new way of playing basketball for the girls. There were multiple offenses, defenses and other characteristics that the girls hadn’t seen in years. The entire season, learning a new system was a learning experience on both sides. Despite a youthful roster, the Tide girls played hard every game. They just didn’t have the varsity experience yet,

For me, you saw 12 of their 20 games, there were several bright spots.

The first was the play was senior guard Emily Nobile, who I always felt should have played more varsity before this year, relished in the role of a leader and a point guard. She led the Tide in scoring with an average of around 12 points a game. She was deadly from the foul line and one of the best three-point shooters in the section.

The other thing I saw that I liked. For the most part, the Tide was able to adjust on the fly to a new style. There were moments when it looked ugly, but that can be expected.

There’s a good future here. There are four/five starters coming back and a number of players moving up from the junior high, which had a .500 season that will help with numbers and the re-establishment of the junior varsity team,

The other four/five starters back – juniors Becca Kuhn and Jenna Geesey, sophomore Paige Herchelroath and freshmen Jenna Plastino and Ashlyn Phillips all got a taste of varsity life this year and will be better next season.

I thought going in, the Tide’s schedule was brutal – L-S played for a state title last season (Columbia played them twice), Mennonite just missed out on a state tile appearance ans there was the two Catholics – Lancaster Catholic and Lebanon Catholic. Had to that Hempfield and you got a rough schedule for such a young team.

The schedule next season, other than the league schedule will not nearly be that tough, so winning following a good off-season, will be in order for the Tide.

Some positive publicity


Mark this date down!

Thursday, February 25, 2010
Relay for Life Night
Union Station
4th & Union St
Columbia, PA
6:00 pm - midnight
Stop in to support a great cause
Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society
Sponsored by the Cancer Crusaders

Final Home Game

The Columbia boys' basketball team will host Pequea Valley in a varsity only game on the hill tomorrow at 6 p.m.
It will be the final game in the Elmer Kreiser Gym as we now know it. The gym will be renovated soon and will have a new look to it for the 2010-11 season.
The reason it is a varsity only game is a number of players didn't attend practice on Monday and also, the L-L League says junior high games can't be played after a certain date.
I'd like to hear some of the memories people have of the old gym. You can list them in the comment section.
The Tide boys will face Annville-Cleona for the third time this season next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., in Hershey. Don't get too excited, its at Hershey High School -- not the Giant Center!

Hall of Fame nominees

Received in the mail over late last week or after the February Blizzard was the 2010 ballot for the Susquehanna Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

The annual banquet will be held May 1, at the Susquehanna Fire Company. All ballots must be returned to Rich Gerfin by March 9. Each voter must vote fir six individuals.

The deceased inductee this year will be former Columbia High football star Mike Wolfgang. He was inducted into the Columbia High School Athletic Hall of Fame last September.

The nominees are:

P. Abbott Asplin, who played football and basketball at F&M in 1936 and graduated fro Leighton High School.

Robert Brandt, former football player at Manheim Township.

Ron Caulwell, former athletic director at Columbia High School.

Gayne Deshler, former football coach at Donegal.

Jim Doughtery, who at one time was a former assistant coach with the old Columbia Raiders.

Bill Goad, former golf coach at Eastern High School.

Michael Orstein, former swimmer at McCaskey and Manheim Township.

Glenn Robinson, current basketball coach at F&M.

John Thomas, former wrestler at Columbia.

Robert Thomas, former fast pitch softball player.

Andrew Tompos, former golfer at F&M.

Leslie Bair Vink, former gymnast at Hempfield.

William Walton, a four-sport athlete at Penn Manor.

Jon Witman, former Eastern, Penn State and Pittsburgh Steeler football player.

For what its worth, my six were Caulwell, Deshler, G-Rob, Witman, Goad and Doughtery.