Central Mountain Week-In Review: Wildcat swimmers make big waves, boys and girls basketball slipping

Central Mountain guard Matthew Storeman dribbles the ball up court against Loyalsock last Friday. CM dropped the game, 87-68. It was one of two losses for CM over the weekend.

By SCOTT BAKER

sbaker@lockhaven.com

Let’s face it, Central Mountain sports teams and fans have seen better weeks. Aside from the swim team, last week was rough. Girls basketball saw its season-long winless streak continue, boys basketball suffered back-to-back losses and the wrestlers…well, they were off. That wasn’t a good thing. The explanation on that one is forthcoming.

The girls basketball team suffered two more losses last week to see their season-long winless streak continue to 20 games.

On Monday night, the visiting Shikellamy squad jumped out to a 22-0 lead on the Lady Wildcats and cruised to a 60-12 victory. Simply put, the Lady Cats left their offense in the locker room. They mustered just three points through the first three quarters of play before the Braves unloaded their bench in the fourth period and CM managed nine more points to bring their total to 12.

There’s really no way to dissect it other than to say that you will never be successful in high school basketball when you have multiple quarters in a game where you do not score.

The Lady Cats had two such quarters on Monday night and another in which they had just 3 points.

Whether it is a personnel or scheme issue is open to debate– and I will leave that to others to decide. Regardless, the results have not been good.

On Tuesday night the ladies were right back at it, this time on the road as they traveled to Shamokin to take on another PHAC foe. They fell behind early in this one by a 21-7 score, before showing a bit of life in the second and winning the quarter 12-11. While that is a good thing for the Lady Cats, unfortunately they got beat in the second half by a 28-12 margin and ultimately dropped the contest by a 63-31 score.

Finally, on Thursday night they traveled to Williamsport to take on the Lady Millionaires and lost another wide contest, 66-21.

Coach Terrance Green and his squad now have just two games remaining. Both are this week against the same opponent as the Lady Cats and the Bellefonte Lady Red Raiders play a home-and-home series.

Tonight the teams will be at Central Mountain and on Thursday they will do battle in Bellefonte.

Bellefonte has had plenty of struggles of their own this season as they currently sit at 3-17. Look for the two contests this week to be interesting. The games might not be pretty at times but considering the seasons that the two teams have had to this point I’m sure that they would both be happy with a win or two regardless of whether or not they include any style points.

The boys basketball team had a scheduled contest with Mifflin County on Wednesday but Mother Nature changed things.

Because CM already had games scheduled for Friday and Saturday, playing the game with Mifflin County on Thursday was not a strong possibility. This week would have been problematic as well so the two schools agreed to a cancellation of the game.

Therefore, on Friday night the Cats hosted a solid Loyalsock Lancers squad. The game featured two of the PHAC’s top teams and there was some quality basketball on display for sure. In a fast-paced game of large scoring runs, those by Loyalsock were bigger than CM’s and the Lancers ultimately captured an 87-68 victory.

Junior Collin Jones had a huge offensive game for the Wildcats as he scored from both inside-and-out for 26 points on the night. However, he and his teammates were not their typical selves on the defensive end as the Lancers drove the ball to the basket at will against the Wildcat defense.

Prior to the game, the Wildcats recognized their seniors Tyler Adair, Trevor Hanna, Matthew Storeman, Issiah “Izzy” McCann and Addison Thomas.

Coach Bardo said of the senior group, “I’ve been most impressed with their leadership. They’re getting it done on the floor but they’re keeping everyone in check. Their mental focus had been commendable.”

On Saturday night coach Tyler Bardo took his squad on the road to Mifflinburg for a make-up affair from earlier in the season. Bardo knew going in that this game would be a challenge for his squad considering they were playing back-to-back games, were on the road in a tough place to play and were facing a decent Mifflinburg squad. Any concerns that the head coach had were well founded as Mifflinburg captured a 56-50 victory, thus sending the Wildcats home to CM with their second loss in as many nights.

Now 11-8 on the season, coach Bardo had this to say, “The week was quick in terms of back-to-back games. Two very good opponents and we began both with an absent sense of urgency that ultimately cost us. I need to do a better job of making sure these guys are mentally ready as we enter the post-season in a few short days. While I applaud our resiliency to come back recently, we have to be proactive, not reactive down the stretch.”

The Cats will be in Williamsport to take on the Millionaires on Tuesday before a Wednesday rematch with Loyalsock in the semi-finals of the PHAC Tournament.

The wrestling team was off this week.

That was not something that was easy for the team and coaches.

As a result of being upset by Mifflin County in last weekend’s district team duals, the team was not part of the state tournament this past weekend.

Wildcat head coach Biff Walizer commented on that subject, “It wasn’t fun for us to look at the State Duals bracket that included three teams we have defeated & several others we had finished ahead of in individual tournaments.”

However, Coach Walizer and his staff have been taking advantage of some down time from a competition standpoint to focus on some things with the wrestlers that they need to improve upon to make their post-season goals a reality.

Coach Walizer also made note that he had the opportunity to travel to Shamokin to watch his junior high program participate in a 32-team tournament on Friday and Saturday. Walizer was happy with the results that saw the junior high Wildcats win the championship by 40 points. CM had two individual champions in 8th grader Derek Keen at 90 pounds and 9th grader Nik Miller at 185 pounds.

Needless to say, coach Walizer was extremely pleased with the efforts of his future wrestlers and offered them and their coaches, Brett Kleckner, Eric Coleman and Dylan Caprio praise and congratulations on a job well done. Back to the varsity squad, they will be in action this week when they travel to Hollidaysburg for a dual meet match-up.

The swimmers had an impressive week.

Coach Carol Matheney had her swimmers in action at home on Thursday against Penns Valley and Bellefonte. The CM girls earned victories over both schools while the boys defeated Bellefonte.

On Saturday the swimmers were at Williamsport to participate in the Coaches Invitational. Both the boys and girls had very solid days. The boys finished in fourth place in the 16 team event while the girls finished as champions, winning by just 4 points over Jersey Shore.

The CM ladies had to make a late push to overtake the Lady Bulldogs. That is exactly what they did as senior Rachel Marek’s second- place finish in the 100 breaststroke and the 4 x 100 Free Relay upset of the Bulldogs powered the Wildcats to ultimate victory. Members of that relay group included Marek, senior Kelsey Buckwalter, sophomore Mikayla Rich and freshmen Evie Jane Rembold.

Another individual who had an impressive day for the Cats on Saturday was James Riccardo who placed first in the 100 Backstroke. The regular season for the swimmers has now been concluded but a strong contingent will continue to prepare for district competition on March 2-3 at Penn State.

District qualifiers include, Kelsey Buckwalter, Olivia McGhee, Rachel Marek, Mikayla Rich, Evie Rembold, Morgan Brian, McKenna Fox, Ian Sproat, Jordy Sheets, David Orndorf, Parker Orndorf, James Riccardo and Derek Hughes. That group seems primed to make some big waves in post-season competition.

Mostly everyone likes a little drama.

Sorry, I have none to offer this week.

My team of the week selection is a no brainer…The girls swim team gets the nod. Coach Carol Matheney’s squad took their “A” game to Williamsport and cut through the water like a hot knife through butter to capture the Coaches Invitational Championship. That’s definitely worthy of team of the week honors.

Great job ladies! Until next time, get out there and support the Wildcat athletes as they attempt to finish their seasons on a high note.

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