Central PA’s Abby Crossman (left) and Emily Hite of Penn Cambria get prepared for practice at The Summit on Wednesday evening in preparation of the 16th annual Altoona Mirror Basketball Classic at Penn State Altoona on Friday evening.
By Michael Boytim
Central PA holds a series benefit more than Blair County in each the boys and girls games in the history of the Altoona Mirror Classic, which will be held for the 16th time Friday at Penn State Altoona starting with the girls game at six:30 p.m.
The regional group can draw players from a bigger variety of schools, but one particular benefit Blair County has had more than the years is a lot more players who are familiar with every other and generally even teammates.
That benefit is a tiny much less clear this season.
The Central PA boys and girls every have 3 sets of teammates. On the boys side, Penn Cambria’s Garrett Harrold and Vinny Chirdon, Central Mountain’s Jack Hanna and Hayden Pardoe and Portage’s Mason Kargo and Andrew Miko are on the roster (although Miko cannot play due to an injury).
On the girls side, Penn Cambria’s Emily Hite and Abby Crossman, Portage’s Maddy Hudak and Ari Wozniak and Homer-Center’s Molly Kosmack and Macy Sardone are on the group.
“Everyone about right here knows every person,” Hite stated. “They are all very good players, and recognizing every other will support develop our chemistry and support us play genuinely nicely. I’m super excited to play with Abby one particular a lot more time. She’s been my companion in crime as far as basketball goes due to the fact second grade.”
In addition to getting players familiar with every other, numerous of these duos are coming off extended playoff runs — none longer than Homer-Center’s trip to the PIAA Class 2A championship game.
“Getting to go to Chocolate Planet, play in good higher schools across the state and the bus rides had been just great,” Kosmack stated. “We had such a very good time. We had been traveling almost certainly two hours for just about every single game. I assume our 3 seniors genuinely left our mark on the system.”
Kosmack’s teammate Sardone completed as Homer-Center’s second major all-time scorer with a lot more than 1,700 profession points.
“It was great becoming on the ride with each other with her,” Kosmack stated. “It was genuinely a as soon as-in-a-lifetime chance. I’m so glad I got to expertise it with the group of girls I got to expertise it with.”
The Penn Cambria boys played in the PIAA Class 3A semifinals final Tuesday.
“They are nonetheless in terrific shape and terrific kind,” Central PA and Penn Cambria boys coach Jim Ronan stated. “They had been shooting basketball final week at this time, so they will be warmed up and prepared to roll.”
Harrold and Chirdon are also close with a couple of of their other teammates on Central PA.
“Even the Kargo boy from Portage, they played a lot of AAU with each other with my boys,” Ronan stated. “There’s some familiarity there playing outdoors of college ball. That aids a ton.”
Harrold is seeking forward to connecting with Chirdon on a couple a lot more large shots.
“Having a lot more than one particular particular person on the group and getting your buddies generally aids,” Harrold stated. “You know almost everything about them, and it is genuinely cool in a game like this.”
Even though Miko cannot play, Kargo is pleased to have him by his side.
“It’s genuinely specific,” Kargo stated. “It sucks he cannot be out there, but to have him come along for the ride is genuinely very good. I’m so excited to get yet another possibility to play, simply because of the way we went out.”
Just before the teams practiced Wednesday evening at The Summit, Hudak created a point to introduce all of the players who didn’t know every other to every other and herself and Wozniak.
“I assume it aids us to get a lot more comfy and have a tiny a lot more self-assurance,” Hudak stated. “It’s entertaining mingling with the other schools, but it is good to have the security blanket in a way that you do have an individual you are familiar with.”
Of course, Blair County has even a lot more players who are teammates.
“A lot of our little ones know every other,” Central PA and Hollidaysburg girls coach Deanna Jubeck stated. “They played summer time basketball with each other for numerous years. They currently look as although they have meshed in a quick period of time. When you are playing in an all-star game, in some cases you get exactly where one particular particular person desires to be the be-all and finish-all, but I do not assume this group is going to be like that.”
Along with head coach Paul Frederick, Central will be represented by Eli Lingenfelter and Seth Bean. The Dragons haven’t played due to the fact their loss in the District six Class 4A championship game to Johnstown.
“The season naturally didn’t finish the way we wanted to, so to get one particular a lot more game out there with him is cool,” Lingenfelter stated. “We’ll have a entertaining time.”
Frederick thinks each teams are stacked.
“This is a true sturdy Blair County group, but that is a true very good Central PA group more than there as well,” Frederick stated. “We had been type of going more than the roster, and they are loaded from major to bottom as well. We have some little ones that can score, and a lot of little ones can genuinely defend, so we’ll see how a great deal defense we play Friday. Hopefully we can get right after it a tiny bit and be competitive.”
Tickets are $five for adults and $four for kids 12 and beneath and are offered at the Altoona Mirror just before four p.m. all week and at Penn State Altoona starting at five:30 p.m. on Friday.
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