CRESSON - Friday night's Mirror Classic basketball games might have been the last of the all-star contests to be played at Mount Aloysius College's Health and Physical Fitness Center.
Just not the last one at the Mount.
If things go according to schedule, Mount Aloysius' new, nearly $25 million facility will be ready by next year.
"That's the goal. It's an absolute possibility and a goal," Mount senior vice-president for administration Suzanne Campbell said. "We're hoping on Jan. 1, 2014 to be in that new facility."
The Athletic Wellness and Convocation Center will be able to seat upwards of 2,200 but can be configured to seat less depending on attendance expectations for each event. It promises better lighting, locker rooms and classrooms among its amenities.
"It's beautiful," Campbell said. "It will have a much more modern take on the inside. The outside is designed much more to keep with the tradition of the school."
The college is hoping the new complex will give more visibility to the school. The hope is that it also will attract other events.
"It will get people up to the Mount," Campbell said. "To see these families' faces next year will be something."
The Classic allowed Bellwood-Antis' Noah Davis to reconnect with some old AAU teammates - Kyle Kanaskie, Dennis Fisher and Cole Renninger of the Central PA team.
"We traveled all the way to Orlando in a van," Davis said with a smile. "It was awful."
Davis was clowning and joking with several members of the Central PA team since the early moments of the game.
"I know 90 percent of these guys," Davis said. "Basketball's a good sport in that you can make some good friends with it, too."
Engineering a future
Those who didn't live in the Easton-Allentown area probably didn't even know much about Lehigh men's basketball until C.J. McCollom and company upset Duke in the NCAA Tournament last year.
You can count Cole Renninger among them.
"I just knew they were in the Patriot League. I didn't know a whole lot about them," Renninger said.
Renninger, Central Mountain's record-setting combo guard, will find out a lot more in the coming years. He's committed to the Mountain Hawks.
Renninger will go the college best known for its engineering program as a preferred walk-on, but he thinks the chances of getting a scholarship look good.
"They're graduating five guards," Renninger said.
Renninger had plenty of options from even bigger schools. Syracuse, Penn State, Duquesne and Creighton also were talking to him about coming in as a walk-on.
"Lehigh had the best education," Renninger said, "and the best opportunity to play."
Watch your step
Cambria Heights' Isaac Vescovi almost took himself out of the game before it started.
Early in the first practice on Monday at the Summit Tennis and Athletic Club, Vescovi went down with a big gash in his left leg.
"I made a 3-pointer from the corner. I turned around and started running," Vescovi recounted, "and ran right into the bleachers."
Vescovi needed six stitches and missed Wednesday's practice.
"It's still a little bit sore," said Vescovi, who'll play his college ball at UPJ. "That's all right, though. It's my last high school game. I don't care."
A good sport
Forest Hills' Casey Gallaher played in the girls game despite an injured knee. Apparently she didn't have time for rehab.
What else is new?
"I really don't have any free time. My free time is dedicated to sports," Gallaher said with a laugh.
Gallaher plays soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and is in track and field in the spring.
Gallaher showed few ill effects from the injured, coming out and hitting two quick 3-pointers.
Although she was voted to the Class AAA all-state team earlier this week and scored 1,500 points for the Lady Rangers, this probably was her final organized foray onto the hardwood. She's decided to play soccer at St. Francis University.
"I felt the past two years it's been my favorite sport, and I wanted to do something I loved in college, so I picked soccer," Gallaher said. "I used to think whatever season I was in was my favorite sport, but by my junior year soccer became my favorite sport."
Best foot forward
Ligonier's Maddy Grimm actually has been one of those rare four-sport letterwinners her last two years of high school.
Grimm was a soccer/basketball/softball star until Ligonier football coach Roger Beitel asked her to come over and try a few field goals at the end of conditioning in August of 2011.
"I was like, 'Yeah, you're funny,' and he said, 'No, I'm serious,''' Grimm said. "I ran over. I didn't have cleats or anything. I didn't know what I was doing. I just tried to remember what I saw on TV."
With the whole team lined up watching, Grimm put one kick through the uprights, then another, then another. She's gone on to be almost automatic as a place-kicker for the Rams.
Luckily for Grimm, she's always been a football fan.
"I love high school football," Grimm said. "It's one of the few sports I can sit and watch."
Grimm said being on the football team gave her a unique perspective on sports.
"It was a lot different than I expected. As a girl, it's hard to understand the competitive edge that high school boys have," Grimm said. "Girls are like, 'OK, ladies. Keep your head in the game. Guys are just screaming and yelling. It was a really cool experience. I'm glad I could be a part of it."
The games will be televised on tape delay by Altoona Public Access (Channel 14) beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday, April 19. It will air again on Saturday, April 19 at 9 p.m.
Central PA coach Carol Cecere was celebrating her birthday.
"It would have been a nice present if we would have won," Cecere said.