Someone once said, "The key to success is often the ability to adapt."

That adage proved true when the Northgate Flames hosted Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (OLSH) on Monday. A defensive change at half-time from a man-to-man defense to zone helped the Flames slow down OLSH's offense, and held them scoreless for the last three minutes of the game.

That, coupled with a nine-point, fourth quarter burst from sophomore Jon Girvin and missed OLSH free throws late in the game, sealed the deal on Northgate's 56-55 come-from-behind win.



The Avonworth girls’ basketball team is off to a terrific start, capturing three wins over the past week.

Last Friday the Lady 'Lopes defeated Belle Vernon in the first round of the Brentwood tournament 55-39. They followed that with a win in the championship game against Brentwood 59-38.

The 'Lopes also played a non-section game on Tuesday, Dec.15, at home against Knoch, and won handily 57-25.


Despite 23 turnovers, the Northgate boys' varsity basketball ball team opened up its season with a win against Avonworth last Friday, at the 'Lopes tip-off tournament.

The Flames followed that win, however, with a loss to Quaker Valley in the championship game on Dec. 12, a game that featured a head coaching match-up between a former master and apprentice.

Northgate head coach Perry Harrop said that the Flames shot the ball well during the Avonworth game, sinking 70 percent of their shots. He noted that the boys ran the floor well and were taking good shots.



Coming off a disappointing season last year, the Northgate girls' basketball team rebounded with an impressive performance at the Wilkinsburg Tip-Off Tournament. In their first game, the team beat host, Wilkinsburg in a 43-42 buzzer-beater finish. This victory put them in the championship game against Clairton.


At the Avonworth/ Northgate swim team's first meet of the season, both the girls' and the boys' teams performed very well.

The girls' team beat Riverside 90-64, but the boys' team lost 94-65. Even though the boys' team lost, Jimmy Silay qualified for the WPIAL championships in three individual events. Those events include the 200-yard freestyle, the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke.


After spending 20 years in the world of corporate finance, Perry Harrop decided it was time for a career change.

"I wanted to teach so I could have a better impact on kids," said Harrop, who received his master’s in business education from Robert Morris University.

He doesn't want to have just a scholastic impact on students either, as he is taking over as Northgate's boys' varsity head basketball coach this season.

Harrop said he played basketball at Hampton High School, where he graduated in 1981.


With only one senior lost to graduation, the Northgate Flames girls' varsity basketball team hopes that game-time experience will lead the way to improving on Northgate's one-win season last year.

Head coach Bill Quinn, who is in his second year as the varsity coach, said the Flames have three returning seniors this year, two of whom will start.

Seniors Erica Benny, who will play center, and Karianne Hoover, playing a wing position, will captain the Northgate squad. Returning senior Carlee Mazuer will see playing time off the bench, Quinn noted.


The man who established the Avonworth girls’ basketball program as a force to be reckoned with will return as the team’s head coach this season.

Bob Schulz, who has nearly 30 years of head coaching experience at Avonworth, will return to the head coaching position filled by Julie Moehring for the last two years.

Moehring resigned, and Schulz said he decided to come back when the opportunity presented itself.

He was the head coach of the girls' team for 12 years, and coached the boys' varsity team for 15 years before that. He also was an assistant coach for the boys' team.


Someone once said that familiarity breeds contempt. Well, in the case of Avonworth athletics, familiarity seems to breed winning seasons and playoff runs, and hopes are high the practice will be as successful for the boys’ basketball team as it was for the football program.


An Avonworth girls' volleyball team player has been named to a Class A All-WPIAL team.

Lauren Mayernik was named second team All-WPIAL.

A number Avonworth girls were named to the Class A All-Section first team. Named were: Mayernik, Katie Werley and Julianne Hirsch. Mikell Schlumpf was named second team All-Section.


Costly mistakes and a few big plays -- forces that helped Avonworth beat Monaca in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs -- worked against the 'Lopes last week when they faced a much faster Clairton team at Chartiers-Houston.

The speedier Bears' defense shut down Avonworth's offense in the quarterfinals and Avonworth was shut out for the first time this season, 24-0.

The loss knocked the 'Lopes out of the WPIAL playoffs, ending their season with a record of 8-3 overall.


A Northgate graduate and Westminster College football player has been named to the second team all Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC).

Senior wide receiver Jon Gubish was named for the first time in his collegiate career.

Gubish ranked third in the PAC with 6.5 receptions and 80.8 receiving yards per game. He caught 52 passes for 646 yards and eight touchdowns in the 2009 season.


The Northgate School Board has authorized the creation of a third girls' softball coach for the 2009-10 school year.

The board voted Monday to create the position in order to accommodate a junior varsity softball program.

Whoever fills the position will be paid $2,479.

Board member David Natale was absent.


A number of Avonworth soccer players have been named to the all-section team.

Senior midfielder Houston Hunt and junior midfielder Stephen Car-raway were named all-section.

Coby Croft, a sophomore defensive player, received an honorable mention.

Hunt and junior midfielder Jonathan Wattras were the Avonworth team's leading scorers this season.

Junior striker Elliot Miller was the assist leader.


Despite an impressive showing by Avonworth's defense, the Antelopes' season came to an end in the WPIAL quarterfinals Friday night.

A powerful Clairton team, which outscored opponents by hundreds of points this past season, was held to just 24 points. Unfortunately, that was 24 more than Avonworth would be able to score.

The Antelopes were unable to capitalize on five Clairton turnovers, as penalties helped keep the Red out of the end zone. Jeff Wehner had two fumble recoveries, Ryan Shmid had one, and Brian Vales made two interceptions.


Northgate School Board's athletic committee would like to hire a third coach for the softball team.

Athletic committee chairman David Natale reported at the Monday school board meeting that it was nearly impossible for the two existing coaches to handle both the varsity and junior varsity programs, which was one of the reasons the J.V. team was eliminated last year.

He said the committee would like to hire a second assistant coach.


The Avonworth School Board hired a number of coaches at its regular meeting on Nov. 9.

Michael Boyd was hired as the ninth grade assistant boys’ basketball coach for the 2009-10 school year.

The board also hired Scott Huffmeyer and Mike Donovan as varsity boys' assistant basketball coaches. The two will share a supplemental contract.

Todd Galluppe was hired as the eighth grade boys' basketball coach.


Avonworth running back Jimmy Zubik is the Class A Eastern Conference offensive player of the year. He also was named first team running back for the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

Other first team selections include offensive tackle Milton Loop, defensive lineman Mike Simmons, and linebacker Eddie Kurtz.

Second team selections include tight end Ben Kramer, offensive guard Matt Mamich and kicker Houston Hunt. Defensive second team selections are Mamich and Jeff Wehner.


Several Northgate athletes have received post-season recognition.

Varsity girls' volleyball team members Erica Benny and Amanda Silay were named to the first team all-section, while Karianne Hoover and Amber Sharlow were picked for the second team.

From the varsity football team, Josh Schultheis was named interior lineman for the second team all-section, and received an honorable mention as a tight end. Pat Carr was named second team linebacker, and Mark Wilson received an honorable mention as a wide receiver.


The Avonworth and Northgate girls' basketball teams will be part of a research study this year that could help protect future players from injury.

Northgate School Board member David Natale reported at the board's Nov. 9 committee of the whole meeting that Dr. Sani Akhaven of Allegheny General Hospital has devised a jump training program that will help build core strength and reduce the occurrence of ACL injuries.


For the first time in roughly 30 years, Northgate’s girls’ varsity cross country team participated in the state championships in Hershey last weekend. While the team itself placed 17th out of 24 teams in AA competition, Bridgit Walters placed 15th in a crowd of 291 runners and took home her first state medal. Members of the cross country team who competedare Amanda Silay, Savannah Paladin, Carolyn Denes, Rachel Rieg, Kim Senko, Allison Gusew and Bridgit Walters.


Girls at Northgate's middle school may be able to play softball this spring.

Northgate School Board athletic committee chairman David Natale said that athletic director Bryan Kyle was discussing with Avonworth the possibility of middle school softball, already in place at the neighboring school district, becoming a co-op sport.


The Monaca Indians never had a chance to repeat their 2008 playoff performance against Avonworth. The Beaver Valley team was shut out by the Antelopes 27-0 Friday night at Lenzner Field.

The Indians could not contain Jimmy Zubik, who rushed for two touchdowns and caught a pass for a third. Ryan Schmid scored the 'Lopes' fourth TD of the evening.

The game also featured some nice defensive plays, including an interception by Brian Vales.

Avonworth will play Clairton in the next round of the playoffs this coming Friday, location to be announced.


The WPIAL Class A Eastern Conference title was on the line last Friday night at J.C. Stone Field as the Avonworth Antelopes met the North Catholic Trojans in the final game of the regular season.

After a scoreless first half, the Trojans came out of the locker room ready to play and went on to beat Avonworth 17-7 and take home the conference title.

"We didn't come out to play in the second half," head coach Jason Kekseo said after the game.