Varsity Notebook: Just no excuses for 4-point game
Serra Catholic's Brandon Camic (with ball) is one of the top five scorers in the WPIAL after sitting out all of last season.
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Longtime high school basketball coach Al Campman emails a "fellowship message" to friends, family members and other acquaintances once a week, talking about how to deal with everything from hardships to life in general.
His message this week was how to deal with four points, as in the scoring total for his Ellwood City team last Friday.
Yes, 4. That is how many points Ellwood City scored in a 51-4 loss to Mohawk.
This wasn't a case of a tremendous team running up the score on a bad team. Heck, Ellwood City defeated Mohawk, 53-33, earlier this season. This wasn't a case of Ellwood City missing players. The Wolverines had their usual team, which came into the contest with a 6-9 overall record. Mohawk was 8-8.
This was simply one of the strangest games, probably in the history of the WPIAL. Most certainly the 57-year-old Campman had never seen such a game in more than 30 years of coaching.
"You had to be there to comprehend it," Campman said.
The game was downright baffling. Ellwood City didn't score in the first half and trailed, 37-0, at halftime. Mohawk led, 45-1, after three quarters. For the game, Ellwood City had one basket and was 2 of 6 from the free-throw line.
"The word baffled doesn't do justice," Campman said. "Baffled would mean the other team was playing some 1-3-1 chaser defense with a half-court trap, and I'm calling four timeouts trying to figure out what to do. That's baffling. There was nothing baffling to it. We just missed every shot."
Almost every shot. Ellwood City did make one shot in the fourth quarter. Mohawk played a 2-3 zone defense the entire game, Ellwood City took 38 shots -- and made one.
"You can get suffocated by those old Farrell defenses and understand how it happens. But this was a 2-3 zone," Campman said.
Such a performance from his team in Campman's younger days might have put him over the edge.
"There might have been four lockers destroyed," he said with a laugh.
But Campman looks at things differently now. That's what he tried to get across in this week's "fellowship message," which he said goes to about 1,000 people.
"I handled it the way I would want a kid to handle it. I never raised my voice at them," Campman said. "I just coached. There is nothing to say to make them feel better.
"I have to continue to just coach. I have to coach on how to attack a zone better. I told the kids that if this is the worst thing that is ever going to happen to them in their lives, then they're going to have a successful life.
"I can handle this. That's why it happened to me because I can handle it."
Donovan Jack is a Duquesne University basketball recruit from Berks Catholic High School in Reading who had a memorable stretch of marksmanship recently. Jack, a 6-foot-9 forward, made 42 consecutive field-goal attempts in a six-game span.
While that is impressive enough, consider this: Jack is now shooting 68 percent for the season (117 of 171). The funny thing is he is only one percentage point better from the free-throw line, making 69 percent (51 of 74). He also is averaging 9.5 rebounds a game.
The National Federation of High School Associations doesn't have a national record for consecutive field goals made. But the association does have a record for the best shooting percentage for a season. It was set in the 1969-70 season by Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton, who went on to a legendary career at UCLA and the NBA. Walton shot an incredible 78.3 percent from the field as a senior at Helix High School in La Mesa, Calif. Walton made 384 of 490 shots.
After being ruled ineligible and sitting out last basketball season, Serra's Brandon Camic and Lincoln Park's Trey Hosack are going out with a bang.
Camic and Hosack are seniors who were ruled ineligible by the WPIAL and PIAA last year for transferring for athletic intent. Camic transferred from South Allegheny to Serra and was ruled ineligible, while Hosack transferred from Lincoln Park to Ambridge and was ruled ineligible before coming back to Lincoln Park.
This season, Camic, a 6-5 senior forward, is among the top five scorers in the WPIAL, averaging 23.9 points per game. He scored 51 in a game against Elderton last Friday.
Hosack, a 6-0 guard, is the leading scorer for Lincoln Park, the Post-Gazette's No. 1 WPIAL Class A team. He was averaging 18.1 through 18 games.
Twitter posts from high school athletes can have an effect on their recruiting, as evidenced in recent cases in the WPIAL and nationally.
On the district level, Sto-Rox's Marzett Geter committed to Pitt last spring, but had his scholarship pulled recently after his Twitter posts were critical of Pitt's recruiting. Sto-Rox coach Ron Butschle said it was questionable whether Geter would qualify academically to be eligible at Pitt, so Geter was "on the bubble" with the Panthers. Geter's Twitter posts burst his bubble with Pitt.
Meanwhile defensive back Yuri Wright of Don Bosco Prep saw his scholarship offers dwindle considerably after he posted some sexually and racially explicit "tweets." He was thrown out of Don Bosco Prep because of the tweets, but Colorado stuck by him and he signed with the Buffaloes.
• When the Fort Cherry football team opens the 2012 season, a Garry won't be the team's coach for the first time in school history.
Tim Garry resigned as coach after nine seasons. His father, Jim, was Fort Cherry's coach for the first 43 years of the school and the football stadium is named after him.
Tim Garry, who played at Fort Cherry and succeeded his father as coach, had a 49-41 record in nine seasons and made the WPIAL playoffs the past six seasons. Tim Garry's son, Tanner, was the team's quarterback the past few seasons.
• Penn Hills named John Peterman football coach. Peterman is also Penn Hills' athletic director and he succeeds Ron Graham, who resigned after four seasons.
First Published February 3, 2012 12:00 am