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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Fall Fastbreak – Warren

Warren Dragons
Boys
Coach (season, record): Jeff Berdine (11th season, 140-100)
2011-12 overall record: 19-7
2011-12 region record (place): 11-3 (second)
2011-12 playoff results: Defeated Sharon 77-54 in the District 10 Class AAA quarterfinals and Girard 42-26 in the semifinals before losing to General McLane 56-49 in the championship. Warren then lost to Hampton 60-41 in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs.
Top players lost: Preston McMeans, Hank Morrison, Kory Thomas, Drew Lobdell
Top returning players: Austin Jerman, Mark Davis, Matt Sandberg, Collin Fantaskey, Jack Daley, Grayson Foley, Andrew Hammersley
Assistant coach: Dave Papalia
Outlook: Warren was impressive last season as the Dragons made their way to the District 10 Class AAA championship game. Warren ran into powerhouse General McLane but the Dragons still competed in the PIAA playoffs. Coach Jeff Berdine will have some big-time players to replace if Warren wants to repeat that success this year. Preston McMeans, an all-region first-team selection that averaged 19 points per game, graduated along with second-team selection Hank Morrison, who scored 14 points per game. Kory Thomas and Drew Lobdell also graduated, leaving plenty of production that needs to be replaced this winter. Senior leader Austin Jerman is back along with classmates Mark Davis, Matt Sandberg, Jack Daley, Grayson Foley and Andrew Hammersley. All six will be impact players and provide senior leadership for Warren along with junior Collin Fantaskey. Jerman, Davis and Sandberg are returning starters while the rest will be in the mix for the final two spots. Tanner Stanz, Jacoby Passmore, Ryan Gustafson, Austin Schwanke and Phil Hachula are new players that could also earn meaningful playing time this winter. Warren has plenty of offensive firepower but the Dragons’ signature defense will decide how far they can go this season.

Schedule
December
7-8 Warren County tournament
14 at Titusville 7:30
18 McDowell 7:30
21 at Bradford 7:30
27-28 Warren tournament
January
4 Harbor Creek* 7:30
7 Girard* 7:30
10 at General McLane* 7:30
14 at East* 7:30
18 at Strong Vincent* 8
22 Corry* 7:30
24 at Fort LeBoeuf* 7:30
26 Cathedral Prep TBA
29 at Harbor Creek* 7:30
February
1 at Girard* 7:30
5 General McLane* 7:30
7 East* 7:30
9 Strong Vincent* 7:30
12 at Corry* 7:30
15 Fort LeBoeuf* 7:30
*Region 6 games

Girls
Coach (season, record): Lisa Ruhlman (5th season, 52-40)
2011-12 overall record: 15-8
2011-12 region record (place): 9-5 (fourth)
2011-12 playoff results: Lost to Hickory 51-43 in overtime in the District 10 Class AAA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Emily Sherman, Kristin Hultquist, Kristie Reynolds, Sam Bevevino
Top returning players: Jaimie Eaton, Taylor Mineweaser, Alexa Bupp, Brittany Merenick
Assistant coaches: John White, Jessica Robinson, Steve Merenick
Outlook: Warren came very close to upsetting Hickory in the first round of the playoffs last year. The Dragons will need several younger players to step up to return to the postseason. Warren graduated Emily Sherman, Kristin Hultquist, Kristie Reynolds and Sam Bevevino int he spring. Sherman might be the biggest loss after being voted to the all-region second team last year. The Dragons return several standout players, including Jaimie Eaton. She was a first-team selection last year and should go over 1,000 points. Taylor Mineweaser, Alexa Bupp and Brittany Merenick are also big-time contributors back this season. Warren has a solid core of plays back but the Dragons’ schedule will be even tougher with the addition of Villa Maria in region play. The Dragons can compete with some of the region’s best teams but they will need to continue to develop and get contributions from younger players to do so.

Schedule
December
9-10 Warren County tournament
11 Oil City 7:30
13 at Franklin 7:30
17 Strong Vincent 7:30
20 at East 7:30
27-28 Cranberry tournament
January
5 McDowell 2:30
8 Fort LeBoeuf* 7:30
12 at Central Tech 7:30
15 at Mercyhurst Prep* 7:30
17 at Corry* 7:30
21 Villa Maria* 7:30
24 Harbor Creek* 7:30
28 at Fort LeBoeuf* 7:30
31 Mercyhurst Prep* 7:30
February
5 Corry* 7:30
7 at Kane 7:30
12 at Villa Maria* 7:30
14 at Harbor Creek* 7:30
18 Bradford 7:30
*Region 6 games

Later today: West Middlesex

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Basketball, Fall Fastbreak

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