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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 – Sharpsville

Sharpsville Blue Devils
Coach (season, record): Jim Smiley (3rd season at Sharpsville, 29th season overall, 33-18 at Sharpsville, 415-300 overall)
2010-11 overall record: 18-8
2010-11 region record (place): 9-1 (champion)
2010-11 playoff results: Defeated Union City 65-42 and Fairview 41-38 before losing 48-45 to North East in the District 10 Class AA championship. Sharpsville then lost 88-55 to Sto-Rox in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
Top players lost: Chad Piccirilli, Jon Wilson, Vince Falconi, Anthony Sloan
Top returning players: Dersean Alberty-Brown, Tyler Luchey, Paul Klenke, Kevin Yarabinec, Jake Henwood
Assistant coaches: Gus Grandy, Andrew Kimpan, Kyle Sobash, Zach Sarver, Rick Elia
Outlook: Sharpsville is a on roll with two-straight region championships and made its way to the District 10 Class AA championship last winter. The Blue Devils were knocked off by North East but coach Jim Smiley expects them to compete for the D-10 title once again. Sharpsville will need to fill in some gaps as Chad Piccirilli, Jon Wilson, Vince Falconi and Anthony Sloan graduated. Piccirilli was a two-time all-region pick, while Wilson was the Region 2 Player of the Year last season. The Blue Devils return an experienced group led by Dersean Alberty-Brown, Tyler Luchey, Kevin Yarabinec, Jake Henwood and Paul Klenke. The question will be how quickly can the returners get into basketball sharp as the Blue Devils’ football season is still going. Sharpsville might need to rely on its newcomers early in the season. Sage Barringer, Marcus Yensick, Nick Sequenza, Greg Popatak and Jake Smith can be contributors on the varsity level, while senior Luke Vasconi could be a starter this year. Sharpsville’s program is strong and is primed to reload instead of rebuild this winter.

9-10 Ellwood City tournament
13 Laurel 7:30
16 Kennedy Catholic 7:30
20 at West Middlesex 7:30
3 VisionQuest 7:30
6 Rocky Grove 7:30
7 Fairview 2:30
10 at Commodore Perry 7:30
13 at Mercer* 7:30
17 at Lakeview* 7:30
20 Greenville* 7:30
21 at Maplewood 2:30
24 at Reynolds* 7:30
27 at Wilmington* 7:30
31 at Linesville 7:30
3 Mercer* 7:30
4 Seneca 2:30
7 Lakeview* 7:30
10 at Greenville* 7:30
14 Reynolds* 7:30
17 Wilmington* 7:30

Coach (season, record): Jeff Hanley (11th season, 152-97)
2010-11 overall record: 19-6
2010-11 region record (place): 10-2 (second)
2010-11 playoff results: Defeated Seneca 44-38 and lost to Villa Maria 54-34 and Girard 42-15 in the District 10 Class AA playoffs.
Top player lost: Jenna Grandy
Top returning players: McKenzie Popatak, Natalie Henwood, Katelyn Scurpa, Kristen Scurpa, Megan Davis, Paige Scurpa
Assistant coaches: Steve O’Rourke, Matt Blaschak, Ellen Kellar
Outlook: Sharpsville had a terrific season last winter, including a run in the District 10 Class AA playoffs. The Blue Darlings were young but still had plenty of success. With only Jenna Grandy, who is playing at Westminter, graduating, Sharpsville could be tough to beat again this winter. McKenzie Popatak has emerged as a multi-sport standout, while Natalie Henwood, Kately Scurpa, Kristen Scurpa, Megan Davis and Paige Scurpa are back as well. Popatak averaged 15.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last year and will likely break 1,000 points this winter as a junior. The Blue Darlings will look for some depth as Tatum Kress, Madison Przicina, Emily Anderson and Kayla Kurelko could be varsity contributors this season. Sharpsville relies on a solid defense but will need someone to step up and fill in for Grandy. Grandy was a tenacious scorer and leader for the Blue Darlings. Sharpsville should contend for the Region 2 title once again and could be a tough out in the D-10 playoffs.

9 Maplewood 7:30
12 at Greenville* 7:30
15 at Reynolds* 7:30
17 at Seneca 2:30
19 at Kennedy Catholic 7:30
23 Wilmington* 7:30
3 at Shenango 7:30
5 Sharon* 7:30
9 at Lakeview* 7:30
12 Mercer* 7:30
14 Girard 2:30
17 Slippery Rock 7:30
19 at West Middlesex 7:30
23 Reynolds* 7:30
26 Jamestown 7:30
28 Greenville* 7:30
30 Linesville 7:30
2 East 7:30
6 at Wilmington* 7:30
9 at Sharon* 7:30
13 Lakeview* 7:30
16 at Mercer* 7:30

Later today: Slippery Rock

– Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Basketball, Fall Fastbreak

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