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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 – North East

North East Grapepickers
Boys
Coach (season, record): Tom Pyle (12th season at North East, 24th season overall, 197-72 at North East, 307-267 overall)
2010-11 overall record: 19-7
2010-11 region record (place): 8-2 (champion)
2010-11 playoff results: Defeated Reynolds 68-47, Mercyhurst Prep 41-37 in overtime and Sharpsville 48-45 to win the District 10 Class AA championship. North East then lost 44-43 to Summit Academy in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
Top players lost: Kyle Regan, Spencer Cornelius, Aaron Wakley, Kyle Perdue, Daryl Brink
Top returning players: Cory Bailey, Tyler Johnson, Vincent Coletta, Tyler Davis, Josh Kitchen
Assistant coaches: Shawn Humes, Mike Coletta, Curtis Bailey, Davis Mazza, David Snippert, Steve Righi, Bob Righi, Steve Zielinski
Outlook: North East used a strong defenses and terrific work ethic last winter to gut out the District 10 Class AA championship. The Grapepickers need a similar effort this year with the loss of Kyle Regan, Spencer Cornelius, Aaron Wakley, Kyle Purdue and Daryl Brink to graduation. North East has plenty of holes to fill but the return of Cory Bailey and Tyler Johnson helps along with Vincent Coletta, Tyler Davis and Josh Kitchen. Bailey averaged 11 points per game last year, while Johnson is a tough defender. Coletta and Davis will take care of the post, while Kitchen averaged 5 points per game as a point guard last season. The ‘Pickers are hoping to defending their region and district titles this winter and it could come down to them against Mercyhurst Prep once again. Zac Erb, Rocky Owens, Dawson Scotch, Blake Bentley, Steven Denny, Max Knight, Joe Neff and Matt Macaulay could all see playing time this winter and contribute on the varsity level. A big challenge in the schedule will be playing Mercyhurst and Fairview in back-to-back games, twice.

Schedule
December
9-10 Mercer tournament
13 Saegertown 7:30
17 at Bradford 2:30
20 Rocky Grove 7:30
22 at Cambridge Springs 7:30
29-30 West Middlesex tournament
January
5 Maplewood 7:30
7 at Harbor Creek 3
13 Seneca* 7:30
17 at Iroquois* 7:30
20 at Mercyhurst Prep* 7:30
24 Fairview* 7:30
26 at Fort LeBoeuf 7:30
27 Northwestern* 7:30
31 VisionQuest 7:30
February
3 at Seneca* 7:30
7 Iroquois* 7:30
10 Mercyhurst Prep* 7:30
13 at Fairview* 7:30
17 at Northwestern* 7:30

Girls
Coach (season, record): Terry Frontino (3rd season, 41-13)
2010-11 overall record: 19-7
2010-11 region record (place): 11-3 (second)
2010-11 playoff results: Defeated Meadville 61-36, lost to Franklin 63-40 and defeated General McLane 44-36 to be the third seed from District 10 in the PIAA playoffs. North East then lost to Blackhawk 77-59 in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
Top players lost: Cassie Jordan, Jessa Tinko, Jessica Beardsley, Anna Zyricki
Top returning players: Alex Artise, Alexis Bowen, Anne Lewis, Tori Prather, Madi Turiczek, Leah Kowalewski
Assistant coaches: Dawn Turiczek, Pat Murphy, Matt Stark, Dave Zamperini
Outlook: North East has steadily improved under third-year coach Terry Frontino and will need some of the younger players to step up this year. With Cassie Jordan, Jessa Tinko, Jessica Beardsley and Anna Zyricki gone to graduation, the Grapepickers will be young and somewhat inexperienced. Alex Artise, a first-team all-region selection, returns along with Alexis Bowen, Anne Lewis, Tori Prather, Madi Turiczek and Leah Kowalewski. The group is all juniors and can build a strong foundation for next year. North East is quick with plenty of athleticism and chemistry but replacing a four-year starting point guard and leadership will be important. Region 6 is in transition right now with several new coaches and most teams returning some solid starters. North East has a strong group leading the way but the ‘Pickers will need to develop some depth as the season goes on.

Schedule
December
9-10 Oil City tournament
12 Seneca 7:30
15 Strong Vincent 7:30
19 East 7:30
January
5 at Meadville 7:30
7 at Harbor Creek* 1
9 at Fairview* 7:30
12 at Warren* 7:30
16 Fort LeBoeuf* 7:30
18 at Franklin 7:30
19 Corry* 7:30
21 at General McLane* 4:30
26 Mercyhurst Prep* 7:30
30 Fairview* 7:30
February
1 at McDowell 7:30
2 Warren* 7:30
7 at Fort LeBoeuf* 7:30
9 at Corry* 7:30
11 General McLane* 1
14 Harbor Creek* 7:30
17 at Mercyhurst Prep* 7:30

Thursday: Northwestern

– Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Basketball, Fall Fastbreak

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