Brooks fires

Grove City’s Michael Brooks puts up a shot in the District 10 championship game loss to Hickory. A rematch in the PIAA quarterfinals was canceled because of the current pandemic that closed schools.

“IT AIN’T OVER ‘til it’s over!”

While the PIAA canceled the rest of the winter sports championship action as well as all spring sports, does it actually have to be over for all?

Just throwing this out there for thought, but if social distancing is over by say July, could Grove City and Hickory boys basketball teams get together somewhere and play. Just for fun and bragging rights if the players would want to do it.

Donations could be accepted at the door and profits would be donated to some organization that helped fight the coronavirus pandemic.

OK, I know it might take permission from the PIAA and NCAA (for players headed to college teams), but why wouldn’t they OK it under these special circumstances? Especially if it is for charity.

While it would be much more difficult to put Mercer County’s other stymied playoff teams – Farrell boys and Kennedy Catholic girls – together with their formerly scheduled foes, the Steelers and Lady Golden Eagles could at least be invited and introduced to the fans.

These four remaining playoff teams at least have done something that only a few teams ever get to do – win their last game. Normally that is reserved to only state champions.

But it is especially painful for seniors. Those seniors who have given us great memories include:

Hickory boys – Donald Whitehead, Isaiah Jarzab, Jaylen Jarvie, Bailey Phillips; Grove City boys – Spencer Pokrant, Danny Timko, Kade Persinger, Troy Loughry; Farrell boys 

– Eric Hopson, Brian Hilton, Ben King; Kennedy Catholic girls – Malia Magestro, Mariah Vincent, Addie Flanders.

I feel for all this year’s local high school 

seniors, not only athletes, who perhaps will miss graduation ceremonies and the prom. Hopefully, graduation and prom can be held this summer.

The seniors on those basketball teams as well as many seniors on the spring sports teams are left wondering: “What could have been?”

While I say that, I think back to the 1966-67 Hickory High wrestling team, who felt the same way as this year’s graduates. They were the only Mercer County team that I can ever recall being banned from the postseason. 

At the time, teams could only wrestle 12 regular season matches and one 4-team tournament. But Hickory also wrestled a tournament in Ohio, so they were banned from sections. 

That was a great team, loaded with seniors. Ken Stottlemyer, older brother of the late long-time Pitt Coach Rande Stottlemyer, was undefeated and I have no doubt would have won a state title. My brother Paul lost to state champ Jim Gollner of Reynolds by one point during the regular season and the section rematch would have been a great one. 

There were numerous other senior standouts on that team like heavyweight Mike Andree who at least had a shot at a section title. Remember, back then one loss and your season ended.

Who knows if missing the tournaments changed the direction of their lives. No one ever knows that kind of thing. But for all of them life went on and many became successful in their chosen fields.

And it’s the same for these basketball and spring sports seniors. What you do in high school sports does not define your life. 

The song “Glory Days” by “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen tells of a former great high school athlete who was still trying to relive the glory of his high school days. And I have seen it locally with kids that were great athletes in high school, but never put it behind them so they fail to accomplish anything else meaningful.

Wasted talent!

Yes, it would be great to see Hickory and Grove City boys basketball teams play an exhibition. But if they can’t, remember it doesn’t have to be over.

Ten years from now they can set a date and play it off. Then again, maybe in 10 years they can just get together in some tavern and just talk about how they would have beaten the other team! A lot fewer pulled muscles!

It ain’t over ‘til they say it’s over!

LYNN SATERNOW is sports editor of The Herald and The Allied News. He can be reached at lsaternow@sharonherald.com.

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