Lady Drakes thrive beyond 3-point arc

HERSHEY — Jenkintown coach Jim Romano has been coaching for 36 years.

He’s always been a fan of post play, but, with this year’s team, he’s acknowledged the 3-point fever that’s hit basketball courts all over America has helped his squad.

Tuesday one 3-pointer in particular gave Romano his first state title.

“My seniors love to shoot the 3,” Romano said. “They feel comfortable shooting the 3, so we mix it up. I give them a little bit, and they give me a little bit. With this group, I can call timeout and ask them what they think is going to work. They are the ones out there.”

Jennifer Kremp’s trey with 16 seconds left tied Jenkintown’s PIAA Class 1A state final game with Juniata Valley at 38, and the Lady Drakes took control in overtime for a 51-46 victory.

“We had a timeout before, and we set up the play,” Kremp said. “We needed a 3-pointer, and I had been making them. We set up a pick, and when I let go of the ball, I knew it was going in. When it actually did, it was the best feeling ever.”

Tickets sold

Juniata Valley sold out of its allotment of student tickets, and at least 287 kids packed several buses to attend Tuesday’s game.

The announced crowd of 1,750 was certainly tilted in the favor of JV.

Moving on up

The Lady Hornets will not be returning to the Class 1A championship game next season.

The PIAA re-evaluates programs classifications based off student enrollment every two years, and Juniata Valley will be moving up to Class 2A next year.

No Hornet TV

Juniata Valley’s games were covered on YouTube by Hornet TV throughout the season, but as each round of the playoffs came along, the price to stream the game increased.

The PIAA 1A semifinal victory over Bishop Carroll Catholic cost $1,250 according to Lady Hornets assistant coach Mike Reed.

It was determined the cost of streaming Tuesday’s game was too much, especially with the game being available on PCN.

Cal Bragonier handled the announcing duties for the games.

Rodriguez in title game

Former Forest Hills and Windber boys basketball coach Mike Rodriguez coached Our Lady of Sacred Heart in the Class 2A boys championship that directly followed Juniata Valley’s game on Tuesday.

Rodriguez holds a special place in PIAA District 6 officials’ representative Mike Hudak’s heart.

In 1999, Rodriguez coached Windber to the PIAA Class 2A semifinals, and Hudak’s stepson Joe Ryan played on the squad.

Windber lost to Quaker Valley at IUP that year, and Rodriguez left the Ramblers after the season due to his job with the FBI, Ryan’s junior year.

During that offseason, Ryan was in a car accident that caused him to miss his senior year.

“Mike went from Windber to Wisconsin with the FBI right after that season,” Hudak said. “He flew in from Wisconsin to see Joe when he was in the hospital. That was the kind of guy he was. Joe and him have the same birthday, so Mike and I have been friends for a long time.

“Now he’s here with Our Lady of Sacred Heart, which is a thrill for me too, because we have a District 6 (officials) crew on that game.”

Chris Rickens, Clifford E. Kitner and Jason E. Moschgat of District 6 officiated OLSH’s game against Constitution.

Constitution, which defeated Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic in the second round, topped Sacred Heart, 81-71.

Providing color

District 6’s Marion Center handled the color guard duties with the junior ROTC program. The students who provided the colors were Tanner Morrison, Brandon O’Hara, Logan Short, Seth