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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 – Rocky Grove

Rocky Grove Orioles
Boys
Coach (season, record): Steve Cutchall (7th season, 111-46)
2010-11 overall record: 20-8
2010-11 region record (place): 8-2 (champion)
2010-11 playoff results: Defeated Conneaut Lake 73-36, VisionQuest 72-56 and West Middlesex 67-59 to win the District 10 Class A championship. Rocky Grove then defeated North Catholic 53-49 and Northern Cambria 54-42 and lost to Vincentian Academy 43-40 in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Dylan Gravatt, Geoff Sanner, Billy Schull, Ryan Holden, Ryan Gregory
Top returning players: Christian Schiffer, Shawn Kennemuth, Nathan Stewart, Shawn Wise
Assistant coaches: Ben Barrett, Travis Barker, Jason Grill
Outlook: Rocky Grove had a terrific season last winter, including a District 10 Class A championship and a run to the PIAA quarterfinals. The Orioles will need to retool in order to repeat that success. One of the best players in Venango County over the past few years, Dylan Gravatt, has graduated along with Geoff Sanner, Billy Schull, Ryan Holden and Ryan Gregory. Rocky Grove has plenty of holes to fill in camp but seventh-year coach Steve Cutchall does have several experienced players to rely on. Christian Schiffer, Shawn Kennemuth, Nathan Stewart and Shawn Wise are back this winter and will need to lead a young Oriole team. Size and depth could be an issue but Rocky Grove’s program is in good shape to reload instead of rebuild. The Orioles will find out in the regular season about their chances of repeating. Rocky Grove is in the same region as perennial powers Kennedy Catholic and West Middlesex, which could be the two biggest hurdles in the postseason.

Schedule
December
9-10 Rocky Grove tournament
13 Meadville 7:30
17 Iroquois 3:30
20 at North East 7:30
22 Lakeview 7:30
28-29 Oil City tournament
January
3 Mercer 7:30
6 at Sharpsville 7:30
10 Wilmington 7:30
13 Commodore Perry* 7:30
17 Kennedy Catholic* 7:30
20 at Jamestown* 7:30
24 West Middlesex* 7:30
27 VisionQuest* 7:30
28 at Bradford 3:30
February
3 at Commodore Perry* 7:30
7 at Kennedy Catholic* 7:30
10 Jamestown* 7:30
14 at West Middlesex* 7:30
17 at VisionQuest* 7:30

Girls
Coach (season, record): Jarrad Griffin (3rd season, 7-36)
2010-11 overall record: 5-16
2010-11 region record (place): 2-8 (sixth)
2010-11 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class A playoffs.
Top player lost: Alexis Beach
Top returning players: Katie Bell, Haley Nerlich, Amber Nerlich, Natasha Lepley, Bria Bevier
Assistant coach: Darcy Henderson
Outlook: Rocky Grove is still in the rebuilding process but third-year coach Jarrad Griffin is hopeful for this season. The Orioles lost only Alexis Beach to graduation, leaving plenty of experienced players back this winter. Katie Bell is an all-region second-team pick and is a three-year starter, while Haley Nerlich has started the past two years. Amber Nerlich and Natasha Lepley are returning starters, while Bria Bevier has been a key reserve. Freshmen Karyn Holden, Lauren Swatzler and Aleece Schiffer could be contributors right away on the varsity level. Rocky Grove will struggle with powerhouses like Farrell and Kennedy Catholic, but the Orioles could surprise a few teams as the season goes on. Rocky Grove is one of the more experienced teams back and Griffin is hoping the Orioles can overcome a lack of height through speed.

Schedule
December
9-10 Venango Catholic tournament
13 at Youngsville 7:30
15 Tidioute Charter 7:30
20 at Grove City 7:30
23 at West Middlesex* 7:30
January
5 Farrell* 7:30
9 at Commodore Perry* 7:30
12 Jamestown* 7:30
13 at Tidioute Charter 7:30
16 Kennedy Catholic* 7:30
25 at Sharon 7:30
26 at Reynolds 7:30
28 Union City 3:30
31 Wilmington 7:30
February
2 West Middlesex* 7:30
6 at Farrell* 7:30
9 Commodore Perry* 7:30
13 at Jamestown* 7:30
16 at Kennedy Catholic* 7:30
17 Youngsville 7:30

Later today: Saegertown

– Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Basketball, Fall Fastbreak

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