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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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Posts tagged "North East basketball"
Posted: December 1st, 2013

North East Grapepickers
Coach: Tom Pyle (27th season, 14th at North East, 229-105 at North East)
2012-13 overall record: 13-9
2012-13 region record: 6-8 (tied for fourth)
2012-13 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class AA playoffs.
Top players lost: Zack Erb, Blake Bentley, Rocky Owens, Dawson Scotch, Joseph Neff
Top returning players: Mike Macaulay, Brendon Tinko, Nick Nisniewski, Dan Perrin, Stanley Chwatek
Assistant coaches: Steve Righi, Dave Mazza, Caryn Krahe, Dave Snippert, Shawn Humes, Curtis Bailey
Outlook: North East was in unfamiliar territory last season as the Grapepickers missed out on the playoffs. Coach Tom Pyle is hoping to lead North East back to the playoffs this season but it won’t be easy with the injury situation. The ‘Pickers have three projected starters out right now with injuries but could get most back during the regular season. North East will have to replace to loss of Zack Erb, Blake Bentley, Rocky Owens, Dawson Scotch and Joseph Neff. Erb averaged 8.5 points per game last season, while Bentley scored 9.5 ppg. Scotch scored 8.8 points per game and Owens added 6.9 ppg, leaving plenty of scoring to be replaced this season. North East returns seniors F Nick Nisniewski, G Dan Perrin and F Stanley Chwatek. The three are joined by juniors F Mike Macaulay and SG Brendon Tinko. With only a handful of players back, the ‘Pickers could rely heavily on new and younger players to contribute. Some of those new players could be junior Cooper Land and sophomores Garrett Owens and Joel Kitchen. Macaulay is the only returning starter from last year after scoring 9.4 points per game and is a natural leader. North East always seems to be competitive no matter who graduates each season. Despite missing the playoffs, the ‘Pickers still won 13 games and were right on the edge of the postseason last winter. If North East can get healthy and find new players to step up, they could be a dangerous team in region play.

6 Mercer tournament
7 Mercer tournament
11 VisionQuest 7:30
14 at Harbor Creek 2:30
20 Seneca* 7:30
23 at Cambridge Springs 7:30
27 Conneaut tournament
28 Conneaut tournament
2 at Iroquois* 7:30
4 Mercyhurst Prep* 7:30
7 at Union City* 7:30
11 Titusville* 7:30
14 at Northwestern* 7:30
17 at Fairview* 7:30
21 at Seneca* 7:30
24 at Bradford 7:30
28 Iroquois* 7:30
31 at Mercyhurst Prep* 7:30
4 Union City* 7:30
7 at Titusville* 7:30
11 Northwestern* 7:30
14 Fairview* 7:30
*Region 4 games

Coach: Terry Frontino (5th season, 79-24)
2012-13 overall record: 23-4
2012-13 region record: 12-2 (second)
2012-13 playoff results: Defeated Sharon 45-40, Sharpsville 42-38 and General McLane 38-36 to win the District 10 Class AA championship. North East then defeated McGuffey 59-49 in the PIAA first round before losing to Mohawk 56-49 in the second round.
Top players lost: Alex Artise, Alexis Bowen, Leah Kowalewski, Anne Lewis, Tori Prather, Madi Turiczek, Ashley Bogart
Top returning players: Breanna Klenz, Danielle Barnes, Ally Maas, Madi McFeely
Assistant coaches: Abbey Stadler, Shane Cross, Nicole Ross
Outlook: North East coach Terry Frontino will have one of the toughest rebuild jobs in District 10 this season. The Grapepickers lost their entire starting lineup and seven seniors total. Alex Artise, Alexis Bowen, Leah Kowalewski, Anne Lewis, Tori Prather, Madi Turiczek and Ashley Bogart all played a role in North East winning the District 10 Class AA championship last winter. Artise finished as the all-time scorer in school history with 1,454 career points and was named to the all-state second team. She was also named the District 10 Player of the year, all-district, all-region and the Region 4 player of the year. Artise is now on the roster at Mercyhurst University. Bowen finished second in school history with 184 career 3-pointers and had 930 points. She was also voted to the all-region first team. Artise averaged 16 ppints per game and Bowen scored 11.5 ppg. Prather added 7.7 ppg, while Kowalewski scored 5.9 ppg and Lewis and Turiczek each had 4 ppg. With so much production gone, the Grapepickers will look to reload instead of rebuild. North East returns four letter winners in seniors Breanna Klenz, Danielle Barnes, Ally Maas and junior Madi McFeely. Barnes played in 21 games last year, while Klenz and McFeely each played in 13. North East could also could on contributions from newcomers Jocey Newara, Sarah Close, Chelsey Chwatek, Mikaela Yori and Morgan Fisher. Add in six freshmen that could contend for playing time and the ‘Pickers will have plenty of competition in practice for playing time. What shouldn’t be overlooked with North East this season is the experience it gained by practicing against one of the top teams in District 10 last winter. The ‘Pickers are young and inexperienced in game action, but they could develop quickly as North East has a strong program. After competing in the Oil City tournament, the ‘Pickers get three Class AAA teams in a row in Corry, Fort LeBoeuf and Harbor Creek. If North East can use some early tests to build chemistry and come together as a team, the ‘Pickers could sneak up on several teams in Region 4 and not only contend for a playoff spot, but possibly the region title as well.

6 Oil City tournament
7 Oil City tournament
10 Corry 7:30
12 at Fort LeBoeuf 7:30
14 at Harbor Creek 2:30
18 at Northwestern* 7:30
26 Saegertown tournament
27 Saegertown tournament
3 at Seneca* 7:30
6 Girard* 7:30
10 General McLane* 7:30
13 Union City* 7:30
15 Central Tech 7:30
16 at Iroquois* 7:30
20 Fairview* 7:30
23 Northwestern* 7:30
27 Seneca* 7:30
30 at Girard* 7:30
3 at General McLane* 7:30
6 at Union City* 7:30
10 Iroquois* 7:30
13 at Fairview* 7:30
*Region 4 games

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: March 16th, 2013

Danielle Barnes

North East girls basketball coach Terry Frontino could always count on quality minutes from 5-foot 6-inch junior guard/forward Danielle Barnes.

Whether it was to play for a starter in foul trouble or to get another player a breather, Barnes was a steady fill-in. Barnes averaged 2 points per game but her defensive intensity is what lifted the Grapepickers.
She played extended first-half minutes against McGuffey in the first round of the PIAA playoffs while two starters were in foul trouble. North East went on to win 59-49. With seven seniors graduating in a few months, Barnes will be counted on to be a leader next season.
Poll results:
Posted: March 8th, 2013
Alex Artise

North East standout girls basketball player Alex Artise continues to add to her impressive four-year career.

Artise had six points and was strong defensively in a 38-36 win over General McLane in the District 10 Class AA championship after scoring 15 points in a 42-38 win over Sharpsville in the semifinals.

The 5-foot 9-inch guard/forward leads North East with 16 points per game and is also averaging
9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game for the Grapepickers.

North East will look to keep its season going tonight in the first round of the PIAA playoffs against McGuffey.

Poll results:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 1st, 2013
Alexis Bowen

North East opponents have to keep an eye on Alexis Bowen at all times. The senior sharpshooter is dangerous from 3-point range, including college and NBA range as well.

Bowen has connected on 54 3-pointers this season and has become a speedy nuisance on defense for opposing guards.

The 5-foot 6-inch guard is scoring 11.7 points per game and hit a crucial 3-pointer in the Grapepickers’ 45-40 win over Sharon in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals.

North East will take on rival General McLane Saturday for the D-10 Class AA championship.

Poll results:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: February 8th, 2013

Tori Prather

It’s no secret that teams focus on trying to stop Alex Artise and Alexis Bowen for the North East girls basketball team, but senior Tori Prather makes that decision difficult each night.

The 5-foot 3-inch guard is averaging 7.7 points per game to go with 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.5 steals.

In a win over Northwestern, Prather had 15 points and 10 rebounds before knocking down several clutch free throws in a win over Seneca.

Opponents can continue to focus on Artise and Bowen, but Prather will continue to make them pay with her clutch play.

Poll results:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: November 18th, 2012

North East Grapepickers
Coach (season, record): Tom Pyle (25th season, 326-274)
2011-12 overall record: 19-7
2011-12 region record (place): 8-2 (second)
2011-12 playoff results: Defeated Cambridge Springs 52-33 in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals and Lakeview 41-40 in the semifinals. North East lost to Mercyhurst Prep 41-30 in the District 10 Class AA championship. North East then lost to Greensburg Central Catholic 46-42 in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
Top players lost: Cory Bailey, Tyler Johnson, Josh Kitchen, Vince Coletta, Tyler Davis
Top returning players: Blake Bentley, Dawson Scotch, Rocky Owens
Assistant coaches: Shawn Humes, Dave Mazza, Spencer Cornelius, Dave Snippert, Steven Righi, Curtis Bailey
Outlook: North East could be a huge question mark this season. The Grapepickers graduated all five starters and will need to rebuild right away. Cory Bailey scored 15 points per game and leaves a big hole in leadership. He was voted to the all-region first team and the Region 5 Player of the Year. Tyler Johnson was also voted to the first team after scoring 10 points per game. Josh Kitchen, Vincen Coletta and Tyler Davis round out the players lost for the ‘Pickers. North East has some experience back and will need several new players to step into major roles. Seniors Blake Bentley, Dawson Scotch and Rocky Owens are back and could emerge as leaders to a young team. The ‘Pickers could also receive contributions from Jon Newara, Joe Neff, Nick Wisniewski, Stanley Chwatek, Brendon Tinko and Mike Macauley. North East has a strong program and that could lead to a year of reloading instead of rebuilding. Coach Tom Pyle went over 300 wins last year and could face one of his biggest challenges in having North East contend this winter. The ‘Pickers have emerging standouts in other sports with the program and by the time February rolls around, North East might have it figured out in time for the playoffs.

7-8 Mercer tournament
13 VisionQuest 7:30
15 Harbor Creek 2:30
19 Cambridge Springs 7:30
21 at Seneca* 7:30
27-28 Greenville tournament
3 Iroquois* 7:30
5 Mercyhurst Prep* 7:30
8 Union City* 7:30
11 at Titusville* 7:30
15 Northwestern* 7:30
18 Fairview* 7:30
22 Seneca* 7:30
25 Bradford 7:30
29 at Iroquois* 7:30
1 at Mercyhurst Prep* 7:30
5 at Union City* 7:30
8 Titusville* 7:30
12 at Northwestern* 7:30
15 at Fairview* 7:30
*Region 4 games

Coach (season, record): Terry Frontino (4th season, 55-20)
2011-12 overall record: 15-8
2011-12 region record (place): 10-4 (third)
2011-12 playoff results: Lost to Franklin 61-34 in the District 10 Class AAA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: None
Top returning players: Alex Artise, Alexis Bowen, Madi Turiczek, Tori Prather, Leah Kowalewski
Assistant coaches: Dawn Turiczek, Abbey Stadler, Dave Zamperini
Outlook: North East could be a team to beat this season. The Grapepickers not only return everyone from last year’s team, they moved down to Class AA, which no longer includes Villa Maria. Alex Artise, a first-team all-region selection that is already over 1,000 points, has a chance at the school scoring record of 1,315 points. Alexis Bowen, another all-region selection, returns as well and has 619 points to be within range of becoming the 10th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. Also returning in the starting lineup are seniors Madi Turiczek, Tori Prather and Leah Kowalewski. Fellow senior Anne Lewis is back after being affected by a hip injury last year, while Ashley Bogart, Danielle Barnes, Breanna Klenz and Allie Maas could be big-time contributors as well. North East has an experience team that is unselfish and very athletic. The ‘Pickers will have to deal with Girard and General McLane in region play and their games against both teams will be a strong indication of which team could win D-10. On paper, North East looks like the team to beat and if the ‘Pickers continue to grow and play together, they could be playing basketball well into March.

7-8 Oil City tournament
12 Fort LeBoeuf 7:30
15 Harbor Creek 1
20 Northwestern* 7:30
27-28 Saegertown tournament
5 Seneca* 7:30
8 at Girard* 7:30
11 at General McLane* 7:30
14 at Union City* 7:30
17 Iroquois* 7:30
19 MLK Showcase
22 at Fairview* 7:30
24 at Northwestern* 7:30
28 at Seneca* 7:30
31 Girard* 7:30
4 General McLane* 7:30
7 Union City* 7:30
11 at Iroquois* 7:30
13 Franklin 7:30
14 Fairview* 7:30
*Region 4 games

Monday: Northwestern

–Tom Reisenweber

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