AN OVERDOSE of smorgasports:
(1) Football may be at a fever pitch in the Tri-State area with high school playoffs and end-of-season college rivalries but the West Liberty University men's basketball team is earning its share of the spotlight.
The red-hot Hilltoppers raised some eyebrows earlier this week by scoring 154 and 157 points in victories against Lock Haven and Point Park College to rewrite the school and West Virginia Conference records. With the season just starting, what are the Hilltoppers going to do for an encore?
Of course, scoring points is nothing new for the JIM CRUTCHFIELD-coached team which has led the nation's NCAA Division II teams in point-making the last five seasons, a record.
The Hilltoppers have taken 3-point shooting, and overall scoring, to new heights.
If we were running the scoreboard at West Liberty's ASRC, we would want paid by the point!
(2) Numbers and WLU must go together. The Hilltoppers football season is over but statisticians continue to tally the records set by senior quarterback ZACH AMEDRO & company. The most prolific passer in West Virginia Conference, and NCAA Division II history, should be a frontrunner for the HARLON HILL Trophy, the Division II version of the Heisman Trophy. Amedro was a finalist as a junior.
(3) The Wheeling Park boys' basketball team is the top-ranked preseason squad in West Virginia, and No. 20 in the East Region ratings by ESPN Rise, the high school branch of the family of sports networks. Park's schedule includes a New York powerhouse and FAB 50 No. 42, Jamesville-DeWitt, which went 25-1 last season and features 6-foot-9 DaJUAN COLEMAN, one of the top five ranked juniors in the land.
The top-ranked team in Ohio is Northland of Columbus, which was 23-1 last season and is No. 44 in the Powerade FAB 50 ESPN Rise national rankings. Northland lost two seniors-both Ohio State recruits including Parade Player of the Year JARED SULLINGER, but return 13 players including three major college recruits. One is 6-foot-8 junior JALEN ROBINSON, a West Virginia University commit.
The nation's No. 1 ranked team is Findlay Prep of Henderson, Nev., which has won its first three games by 118-45, 107-64 and 110-74.
(4) West Virginia. may have found a go-to scorer in Puerto Rico to replace graduated DA'SEAN BUTLER. The Mountaineers outlasted Vanderbilt, 74-71 Friday in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament semi-finals. Mitchell cashed WVU's only six 3-point goals and ended with a personal best 31 points to send the team to Sunday's finals. Mitchell, who was a National Junior College Player of the Year, may be a player to watch this season.
(5) It's good to see TOM (BEAR) BECHTEL recognized as a grand marshal for Friday's annual Wheeling Christmas Parade. The longtime Wheeling Recreation Director is a tireless worker for the youth of the area and is involved with numerous sports' projects in organizing, officiating and volunteering.
(6) There's another West Virginia high school product in the National Football Leaguee. He's lineman DEREK HARDMAN, who's a member of the Tampa Bay Bucs. He was an all-stater at Roane County High School and played at Eastern Kentucky.
(7) The recent Ohio County Public Library "Lunch With Books" presentation on the old Wheeling Ironmen football teams of 1962-69 attracted a good-sized crowd and public interest. The library featured Ironmen memorabilia as part of the presentation.
(8) With the annual Ohio State-Michigan football showdown next weekend, Fox Sports has been featuring the rivalry with a historical look-back at the most memorable games.
We recall the 1968 game when the Buckeyes capped an unbeaten, national championship regular season with a 50-14 rout of the Wolverines. On the final OSU score in the fourth quarter, OSU went for two points on the conversion. When OSU coach WOODY HAYES was asked why he went for two points, his response was "we couldn't go for three points!" Ouch.
(9) Enjoy the weekend.