Mirror Classic reunites Anders, Payne

The head coaches for the 13th annual Altoona Mirror Basketball Classic are set.

Deanna Jubeck of Hollidaysburg Area High School and Brock Anders of Williamsburg Community High School will guide the Blair County boys and girls teams, respectively, while Rachelle Hopsicker of Juniata Valley High School and Nick Payne of Huntingdon Area High School will coach the Central PA squads.

The Classic will be held on Saturday afternoon, March 31, at Penn State Altoona with the girls game tipping at 1 p.m. followed by the boys game at 3.

Anders and Payne were teammates in the mid-1990s at Juniata Valley. Anders was a senior on the Hornets’ PIAA Class A runnerup in 1995. Payne was a junior in 1995 and a member of the squad that won the state championship under Mike Fields in 1996.

Payne considers Fields and Anders two of his mentors.

“Mike Fields and Walt Spacht had a major impact on my wonderful basketball experiences in high school,” Payne said. “I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Brock Anders as another major influence on my coaching. Brock was the one that first got me into coaching at Huntingdon. I realized from Brock the commitment that you have to make to build a successful program.”

Anders’ admiration for Payne, who succeeded him at Huntingdon, is mutual.

“We were hired together as teachers and worked side by side our first year teaching 16 years ago,” Anders said. “Nick has done an excellent job of instilling the values and direction of Huntingdon Bearcat basketball that was established under the guidance of many former legendary coaches. Coaches John Los and Ken Robertson are two examples of true leaders that we valued close connections with to understand Bearcat basketball tradition. Nick’s time, dedication and connection to building a program on the ideals of tradition and team have allowed his players to find success. “

Payne, a Juniata College graduate in 2000, is 112-75 in eight years with the Bearcats and is fresh from winning the 2018 District 6 Class 4A championship. He also led Huntingdon to the Mountain League title in 2011 and this year, when the ‘Cats finished 23-3.

Anders just wrapped up his second season as Williamsburg’s head coach and has been a head coach for 10 years, including at Huntingdon and East Juniata.

His career record is 121-115.

As a player, Anders was part of a great run at Juniata Valley and, in 1995, he helped lead the Hornets to their first of two appearances in the PIAA championship game, which they won in 1996.

He scored 1,067 points at Valley and was a third-team Associated Press all-state selection in 1995 along with being a two-time first-team Juniata Valley League all-star.

After graduating from Saint Francis in 1999, Anders became Huntingdon’s head coach in 2005 and East Juniata’s head coach in 2008. He set a school record for wins (21) at East Juniata in 2014 when the school won its first Tri-Valley League title.

Anders led the Blue Pirates to a District 6 Class second-place finish in 2017.

Jubeck just completed her eighth season in Hollidaysburg, where she’s guided the Lady Tigers to four District 6 championships, including one this past season.

Her career record is 113-71.

As a player, Jubeck was a member of two PIAA championship teams at Altoona Area High School (1995-96) and three Northeast Conference championships as a four-year starter at Saint Francis.

She also was a member of the Saint Francis coaching staff for four seasons (2001-04) under Myndi Hill and Jill Poe.

Unlike the other Mirror Classic coaches, Hopsicker grew up in the Scranton area.

She was a 1,000-point scorer and four-time district champion at Western Wayne High School, in Lake Ariel, and the Scranton Times player of the year in 1992, when she was also an all-state selection.

Hopsicker earned a scholarship to Fordham, which won the Atlantic 10 title in 1994, and in 1996, Hopsicker finished sixth in the country in 3-point shooting accuracy, earning a spot in the ESPN 3-point shootout at the 1996 Final Four.

Prior to coming to Juniata Valley, she was an assistant coach at Lackawanna Junior College (1996-97), director of women’s basketball at the Hoop Group (1996-99) and an assistant coach at Juniata College from 1999-2002.

She took over the Lady Hornets in 2011 and is 120-53 in seven seasons, including a District 6 Class 1A championship this year, two straight trips to the PIAA western final and a berth in the PIAA final in 2017.

Hopsicker was the Mirror’s coach of the year in 2017.

The Mirror Classic rosters will be announced in the Mirror and on altoonamirror.com Sunday (boys) and Monday (girls).

Altoona Mirror Basketball Classic Blair County vs. Central PA

When: Saturday, March 31

Where: Penn State Altoona Adler Sports Complex

Times: Girls game: 1 p.m.; Boys game: 3 p.m.

Tickets: $5 for doubleheader (students 12 and under $3). Available at the Mirror.

Team rates: Call Katie Grager at 949-7010

Benefit: The Big John Riley Scholarship Fund

Sponsor: Guy Landolfi CPA