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Cancer Classic Foes Fared Quite Well

April 2, 2011
By DOUG HUFF - Sports Columnist , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

AN APRIL DOSE of smorgasports:

(1) After the smoke cleared in high school basketball across the land, it should be noted that an annual event held in January at Wheeling Jesuit provided a preview of some of the nation's top teams.

Six of the 10 teams that competed in the Cancer Research Classic advanced to state title games or won a major postseason tournament. Two of the CRC teams, in fact, played each other in the New York Federation Class AA finals. Mount Vernon defeated Christ the King of Middle Village in the championship game.

In Pennsylvania, Neumann-Goretti of Philadelphia won the Class AAA crown.

The runners-up in the largest-class finals in both Ohio and West Virginia played in the Wheeling Hospital showcase - Wheeling Park in W.Va. and Northland of Columbus in Ohio.

At the prestigious postseason Alhambra Invitational in Frostburg, Md., the champion was another CRC entry, DeMatha of Hyattsville, Md.

In the ESPN Rise FAB 50 national rankings, Mount Vernon is No. 40 and Northland No. 45.

(2) Former Cambridge High basketball star, and OVAC Hall of Famer, GENO FORD has neen named head men's basketball coach at Bradley. Ford, the all-time career scoring leader in the OVAC, has coached at Kent State the last three years and twice earned Mid-America Conference Coach of the Year.

(3) Two former Wheeling Ironmen players will be inducted into the Pittsburgh-based Minor Pro Football Hall of Fame on May 14 at the Heinz History Center and Sports Museum. The honorees are DR. ROBERT JONES and IVAN TONCIC.

(4) At last week's Ohio Boys' Basketball Tournament in Columbus, two Bridgeport High sports luminaries were among honorees in the OHSAA Circle of Champions - JOHN HAVLICEK and PHIL NIEKRO.

(5) Magnolia's JUSTIN FOX was selected the East Region Baseball Player of the Week by ESPN for his play last weekend in two victories against Brooke and Tyler Consolidated.

(6) A first team All-W.Va. Class AAA girls' basketball honoree has Ohio Valley connections. BRITTANY GORDON of state runner-up South Charleston is the daughter of former Wheeling Park all-stater and University of Charleston cager TONY GORDON.

(7) Will someone tell the television talking heads that Kentucky men's basketball coach JOHN CALIPARI is only in the record books, with an asterisk, for taking three different schools to the Final Four. His prior two trips to the event with Massachusetts and Memphis were vacated because of NCAA violations.

(8) It's a sad state of affairs when an opinionated media analyst says he decided to relocate his residence because of harassment from crazed fans of HIS alma mater, Ohio State. KIRK HERBSTREIT, who has lived in the Columbus area since he played quarterback for the Buckeyes, says he is moving his family to Nashville, Tenn., because of out-of-control OSU ''fans'' reacting to his sometimes critical comments about Ohio State.

(10) West Virginia already has two football verbal commitments from current high school juniors. They are defensive lineman IMARJAYE ALBURY of Northwestern High in Miami, Fla., and running back JAREROD HARPER from Mountain Ridge High in Frostburg, Md.

(11) Who's going to win the NCAA Division I basketball titles in the next few days? In women's play, I would wager a Big Orange Drink on Connecticut. The men's Final Four winner could come out of the semifinal game between Butler and Virginia Commonwealth. Since VCU has a coach named Smart and a bunch of 3-point shooters, that might be the hunch way to go. But don't risk a Big Orange Drink on that one.

(12) Enjoy the weekend.

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