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Classic will not be played this year

From Mirror reports

Due to concerns over the coronavirus and its ripple effect, the 2020 Altoona Mirror Basketball Classic has been canceled.

The decision was made Thursday after the Mirror was informed that Penn State Altoona’s facility is closed at least through April 6.

That, coupled with the PIAA’s decision to delay its basketball tournament for a minimum of two weeks, forced the Mirror’s hand, according to Classic organizer Neil Rudel.

The Classic, played in memory of Big John and Tom Riley, began in 2006, extending the former Big John Riley Game, which began in 1984.

This year’s event had been scheduled for March 27.

“The entire situation is unprecedented and concerning, and we do not think it’s feasible or responsible to search for a new home with so much uncertainty and even attempt to push the date into mid-April,” Rudel said.

Previous Mirror Classics, which pit the top seniors from Blair County against the best from Central PA, have also been staged at Saint Francis University and Mount Aloysius. Penn State Altoona has hosted it since 2018.

Brent Baird, PSU Altoona athletic director, said his department was simply following the directive issued by Penn State President Eric Barron stipulating “all non-essential athletic events, regardless of size, should be canceled or postponed at least until April 6, 2020.”

“We have enjoyed our relationship with the Mirror Classic, but out of an abundance of caution we will not be able to host this impressive event,” Baird said. “We look forward to continuing our participation in the future.”

Players selected for the 2020 Mirror Classic include:

Blair County boys: P.J. Charles (Altoona), K.J. Futrell (Altoona), Caleb Pierce (Altoona), Troy Walker (Bellwood-Antis), Will Helton (Bishop Guilfoyle), Michael Montecalvo (BG), Kyle Ruggery (BG), Jessiah Witherspoon (BG), Braden Kitt (Central), Kyle Glass (Claysburg-Kimmel), Jaden Delerme (Hollidaysburg), Josh Holsopple (Hollidaysburg).

Blair County girls: Caranda Perea (Altoona), Stevie Weber (Altoona), Alli Campbell (Bellwood-Antis), Macy Decker (Bellwood), Sakeria Haralson (Bellwood), Emilie Leidig (Bellwood), Jamison Consiglio (Bishop Guilfoyle), Erin Brumbaugh (Central), Kylie Metzger (Central), Megan Hartman (Claysburg-Kimmel), Allison Hileman (Hollidaysburg), Morgan O’Neill (Hollidaysburg).

Central PA boys: Drew Hall (Bedford), Nolan Burk (Bishop Carroll), Tristan McDannell (Bishop Carroll), Noah Hillegass (Chestnut Ridge), Nick Gearhart (Huntingdon), Jackson Ritchey (Huntingdon), Anderson Franklin Jr. (Johnstown), Gershon Simon (Johnstown), Michael Marinchak (Ligonier Valley), Andy Zuchelli (North Star), Caleb Burke (Richland), Matthew Leonard (Tussey Mountain), Ashton Fortson (Westmont Hilltop).

Central PA girls: Maura Yahner (Bishop Carroll), Isabella Hunt (Bishop McCort), Abby Lobick (Cambria Heights), Chloe Weakland (Cambria Heights), Cassidy Bezek (Central Cambria), Kaitlyn Maxwell (Everett), Halee Smith (Juniata Valley), Hayden Taylor (Juniata Valley), Lora Davis (Penn Cambria), Kara Dividock (Portage), Abbi Riskus (Portage), Sophie Brumbaugh (Tussey Mountain), Maya Bokunewicz (State College).

Coaches committed were Bellwood’s Jim Swaney (Blair County girls), Chris Drenning (Blair County boys), Cambria Heights’ Amber Fees (Central PA girls) and Richland’s Greg Burke (Central PA boys).

Rudel said those who purchased advance tickets should return them to the Mirror’s front desk for a refund.

He said the Mirror Classic plans to return in 2021.

“We’ve enjoyed the end-of-the-season celebration and showcase of sportsmanship the Mirror Classic has become,” Rudel said. “We’re sorry this year’s seniors and their families won’t experience that.”

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