Lady hoopers hope to compete in district finals

By Will Phelan, social media editor

Tonight will be the third time the Lady Panthers have faced the Maplewood Tigers. (contributed photo)

The Lady Panther basketball team looks to take down Maplewood in the district semifinal game tonight at Meadville High School.  

This will be their third bout against the Tigers this season as well as a tiebreaker, as they have split the first two games with a win apiece.  

Key player Kaylee Mulligan, junior, who missed playing time due to a knee injury (during which the girls lost to Maplewood) is now ready for tonight’s matchup.  “I missed playing with the team,” Mulligan said. “But now I’m ready to help get the win and play in the D-10 championship.”

A win tonight would place them in the district final game on March 2. Come out and support the Lady Panthers tonight at 7:30 p.m. You can also follow the action on Twitter @PantherPressSHS.

Saegertown basketball coach credits players with 100 win milestone

By Braeden Kantz, managing editor

Coach Greg Molnar celebrated his 100th win on January 12.

Saegertown Basketball Coach Greg Molnar recently claimed his 100th varsity basketball win against the Tidioute Charter on Jan. 12. The 2018-19 season marks Coach Molnar’s eleventh season at Saegertown and his team is currently 8-7. With the win, Coach Molnar takes his place among three other varsity basketball coaches in Saegertown’s history to achieve 100 career wins.

Despite his recent achievement, Mr. Molnar has not enjoyed the spotlight. “It’s like this. I’m not the one who plays. I just pick five people to play, and they are the ones who win the games,” said Coach Molnar. “It’s nice to have people congratulating me but it’s just weird and it makes me uncomfortable.”

The Saegertown community, however, responded enthusiastically. After Saegertown’s win over Tidioute 48-43, Coach Molnar was surprised by players and fans who attended the match with a confetti cannon and a sign recognizing his accomplishment.

Mr. Molnar joins famed Saegertown basketball coaches Merle Darcangelo, Chuck Swick, and Dean Henderson as a part of the “100 win club.” Coach Molnar currently has 103 wins and has the chance to potentially challenge the current coaching win record of 109 wins held by Merle Darcangelo (109-42) and Dean Henderson (109-104).

Coach Molnar attributes his recent milestone at Saegertown to “the great athletes” that he has coached during his tenure, and is optimistic about his coaching future. “I’m just enjoying this as much as I can,” said Molnar. “I know that my time is very limited here. It’s going to come to an end, and I’m ready to move on to the next phase in my life.”

For more information on the history of Saegertown basketball, click here. The Saegertown varsity boys basketball team will make its next appearance tonight at 7 p.m. at Union City.

Coach Greg Molnar takes technical for Iroquois teen

By Bailey Kozalla, Kaity Gage, and Stevie Siple, Editor-in-Chief, Design Editor, Staff Writer

Molnar

Coach Greg Molnar

Doing the right thing when the opportunity presents itself is one of the unspoken rules of being a coach. That is exactly what Saegertown boys basketball coach Greg Molnar did on Dec. 22 at Iroquois High School.

With a definite loss in sight for the Panthers, Iroquois basketball coach Brad Breese substituted physically challenged junior Jared Anderson into the game, hoping he could score his first points in his varsity career.

With less than two minutes left on the clock, and the score 71-32, Molnar told Breese to call a timeout. He knew that Anderson’s best chance at scoring was to shoot from the foul line.

Molnar spoke to the official, “If he misses the shot, and we get the rebound, then give me a technical.”

Working according to plan, Saegertown recovered the ball, and the referee blew his whistle signaling a technical foul. Anderson went to the foul line.

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 12.17.34 PM

Iroquois player Jared Anderson takes his first of two shots at the line after Saegertown Coach Greg Molnar receives a technical foul.

At this moment, the atmosphere of competition in the gym transitioned to one of emotional camaraderie. After Anderson missed the first free throw, the gym fell silent for his final shot. Once the ball left Anderson’s hand, it banked off the backboard, and swished.

Before the ball even hit the floor, the crowd erupted in cheers that lasted for what seemed like minutes.

Anderson also scored the final shot in the game, taking his total points for the evening to three. 

Coach Molnar described the moment with characteristic humility:  “It was an opportunity to provide a memory and normalcy for a kid who obviously loved basketball but faces challenges no one of us can understand.”

Anderson has been playing the game since he was four years old. Thirteen years later, all of his hard work paid off. “I felt awesome. I’d like to thank your coach and your players being so nice about it. It was a Christmas present for being able to get in and score a basket.”

Anderson plans to attend Edinboro University for either sports medicine or management while also playing on a wheelchair basketball team.

A devoted fan, Charles Curtis expressed his viewpoint in a letter to Principal Tom Baker: “I was very impressed by the way your coach allowed a disabled boy on our Iroquois team to take a shot following a requested technical on Molnar’s part. It was a very emotional moment for me and the people in the gym went wild.”

Curtis has followed local basketball teams for many years, and has never witnessed anything like it. “The young man will remember this moment for the rest of his life. This is what high school sports is all about. Your coach should be recognized for his courtesy.”

Iroquois Assistant Principal Jeannene Willow was also impressed by Saegertown’s sportsmanship. “That was certainly my favorite game of the season this year. I really thought it showed a lot of class on Saegertown’s part. I’m going to remember that game for a long time,” Willow said. 

Experiencing the emotion of the crowd, Willow said, “There weren’t too many dry eyes in the gym that night.”

Karen Anderson, Jared’s mother and biggest fan, was speechless. “I was holding my breath. He’s played wheelchair basketball before. That’s been basically all he could do. He managed last year, and I convinced him to play this year.”

Mrs. Anderson has been anticipating his first moments of playing, “When they put him in finally, it was the greatest thing I have ever seen. He works hard at everything he does.”

She described her emotions while watching her son: “When I saw him out on the floor, I wanted to cry and I wanted to scream and I wanted to cheer all at the same time.”

Mrs. Anderson expressed her gratitude to Saegertown as a whole. “I thank the coach, I thank the fans, and I thank the players. I appreciate your school and how they reacted. The sportsmanship they showed means so much.”

(This story was originally published in the Feb. 14 issue of The Panther Press.)

 

Mini-Panthers prepare for high school basketball

By Becca Siple, Assistant Sports Editor

Max Fuller going up for a layup in his recent game on Saturday against Maplewood. Photo contributed by Becca Siple.

Max Fuller going up for a layup in his recent game on Saturday against Maplewood. Photo contributed by Becca Siple.

A fifth and sixth grade boys basketball league was brought to Saegertown from Cambridge 16 years ago by  Dan Bidwell, who coached the program along with Tim Wilson and Bob Beatty. The men each had kids who participated, and as their children would enter the high school, the parents would stop coaching and leave it in the hands of another set of parents. Todd Siple and Jim Amy were the most recent coaches, and as of 2014, they left it in the hands of Brant Fuller and Kelsy Reisinger. The program aims to teach young kids the basic fundamentals of the game and prepare them for their high school career.

This year there are two fifth grade teams and one sixth grade team. Mr. Fuller and Ms. Reisinger have spent many hours preparing the boys for game time. Teams from Cambridge, Fort LeBouf, General Mclane, Union City, and Maplewood participate in the program. They play on Saturdays, and high school basketball players volunteer to referee and work the scoreboard.