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Johnthan Leccia of Franklin
Life Under
the Hoop
with Johnathan
Leccia around

6-7 senior rejects

Sayyid Donald's

bid for a basket

Cole Buckley of Franklin
Jalen Wood of Franklin

Franklin's junior guards were outstanding against Oil City. Cole Buckley (4), driving against Gavin Stephens, scored a career high 22 points, and Jalen Wood (5), going eyeball-to-eyeball with Jon Hargenrader, drilled five more three-pointers and finished with 18. They also teamed for 30 points vs.Warren on Friday.

(Photos by Richard Sayer/Eight&322)


Seniors Emma Stahl (left) and Maddy Marczak delivered key points in Thursday's overtime victory at Corry. Stahl's two free throws gave the Lady Oilers their first team -- with less than 30 seconds to play -- and Marczak scored the first four points the overtime. Before that, and just before Stahl's foul shots, she tied the game with a basket. (Kelly Malek photos)

The late Jody Billingsley's uniform number 50  was retired before one of Franklin's games in December.

It's not your father's 
Oil City-Franklin rivalry

One day after the big game, Oil City's Jake Hornbeck and Franklin's Damon Curry are officiating together. "(We are the) top two official duo out there and we are not number two on that list," Hornbeck tweeted.They are pictured here at Hepler's Gym on Hill City Road in Van. "(It's actually a pretty good gym," said OCHS athletic director Tim LaVan who has been instrumental in organizing a student officials program locally. "They have been working those Jeff Polley elementary games and Saturday Franklin/OC/RG boys elementary games! It really is a good thing! A few of us have been working with them on those games to make sure all is well!"

Students whistle while they work

Oil City's Jake Hornbeck made his debut in a late January game.

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The Oil City-Warren game featured seven junior officials -- five Lady Dragons and two Lady Oilers -- Maddy Marczak and Molly Mietus.

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Here's Franklin's Damon Curry with Tim LaVan again.

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Oil City's Jake Hornbeck made his debut in a late January game.

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Play It Again Cam...
Jodi Gault
Annual kids basketball camp planned at Oil City YMCA

The annual basketball camp for boys and girls in grades three through eight will start March 20 at the Oil City YMCA.

It will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks.

The camp is under direction of Jodi Gault, a (multi-school) Hall of Fame coach at Pitt-Johnstown, who played her high school ball at Oil City. Gault said this might be her final year of running the camp.

Gault, who played pro ball, was 540-156 in 25 seasons at UPJ and coached 23 All-Americans.

She's pictured here with one of last year's campers, Delayna Wenner of Cranberry.

Contact Max Krepps at the Y for more information.


Freshman Payton Liederbach scored 14 points as the Oil City girls downed visiting Bradford, 40-28, in a non-region game.

The Oilers were comfortably ahead until a three and a long two made it a 30-25 game two minutes into the fourth quarter. Two free throws by Maddie Wenner and baskets by Liederbach and Maddy Marczak gave Oil City some space again. Wenner was four-for-four from the line down the stretch.


Franklin ho-hummed its way to a 24-20 halftime lead before pulling away in the third quarter for a 69-48 victory over Warren.

It was the ninth straight win for the homesteading Knights, who were ahead by 20 by the end of the third quarter.

Cole Buckley had another big game for Franklin, scoring 16 points. Jalen Wood added 14, including four more three-pointers -- that's 50 in the book. And 6-7 Johnathan Leccia contributed 13 to go with 12 rebounds.

Franklin coach Justin Fulmer told The News-Herald the difference between the first and second halves was intensity on defense, and "...Leccia was doing a good job defending in the paint."

Leccia, who missed the first seven games of the season when the Knights went 4-3, is averaging 10.7 points in his last three in addition to offering  -- and this is an understatement-- presence around the basket. Nobody in the region has anyone like him.

The Dragons were without high-scoring Parks Ordiway, who was injured last Friday against Oil City, and sat out the second half of that game. Brady Berdine (17 points) and Tommy Nyquist (13)  tried to fill the void.

  • Oil City rebounded from its loss to Franklin on Tuesday with a 75-55 romp at Titusville, withstanding a barrage of offensive foul calls. The Oilers led 32-11 two minutes into the second quarter en route to a 46-23 halftime lead. 

The Rockets, who very much like the three, weren't hitting them (25%) in the first half, and, what's more, were limited to one shot. And with no Titusville player anywhere near the basket, the Oilers had easy opps for rebounds. Plus, the Rockets were guilty of many, many turnovers. They did start hitting those 30-footers after intermission and cut the lead to 13 once or twice.

   Jake Hornbeck led the Oilers' balanced attack with 19 points to go with 10 rebounds. Cam VanWormer had 16, Ethen Knox 11 and Conner Highfield 10. Isaih Colon, coming off his 40-point game, scored 20 for the Rockets, and their other mad bomber, Manny Perez, added 13. Seven of the Rockets 12 treys came in the second half.

  • D'Andre Whitman's 12 points paced Rocky Grove to a 68-38 non-region rout of Cochranton. Evan Wolfgong scored 10 for the Orioles, who have now won two straight to snap a three-game losing streak.

  • Cranberry made eight three-pointers but it was't enough as the Berries dropped a 56-46 KSAC decision to Moniteau. Seth Schwab drilled four of them and finished with 15 points. Ashton Weaver netted 11 and Colin Zerbe added 10. The Warriors used a 17-4 second quarter run to take a 30-14 halftime lead.

  • Venango Catholic made the long haul to Ridgway, had 10 minutes to warm up and lost to the reigning District 9 2A champion, 58-15. James Henry was limited to five points, one less than Logan Suttle. Held to just one field goal, it was the first time Henry had not reached double figures this season. The Elkers who upset Redbank Valley to win the district crown, are 12-6 this season.


It was Groundhog Day and the Oil City girls emerged from an 11-point hole to declare victory at Corry.

The Lady Oilers fell behind 11-0 during the first 4:19 of the game and still trailed 13-2 early in the second quarter, but rallied for a 37-32 overtime decision.

Oil City cut the lead to a manageable 20-14 by halftime, and tied things up on a Maddy Marczak basket with about 40 seconds left. Twenty seconds later, Emma's Stahl's two free throws gave the Oilers their first lead., 31-29.

Although the Beavers sent the game into OT, Marczak scored the first four points of the extra period and Oil City never looked back. Marczak led the Oilers with 12 points.

Oil City withstood three treys by the Beavers early, but Corry couldn't help turning the ball over time and again as the game wore on. Oil City also controlled the boards.Taylor Elchynski buried three of Corry's four threes and finished with a game-high 18 points.


Franklin ventured to Warren and left town with a 47-17 defeat to the 10-5 Dragons. The Lady Knights were down 30-10 by intermission. and by 28 points heading into the fourth quarter. Jenn Blum led Franklin with seven points.

Cranberry was no match for Moniteau in a KSAC game, falling behind 18-8, 35-19 and 54-28 before losing 69-37. Kendell Findlay's 11 points were a bright spot for the Berries.

Cambridge Springs exploded for 34 points in the second quarter in disposing of winless Rocky Grove, 76-16. 



Ashton Weaver's career-high 20 points propelled Cranberry to a 48-46 decision over Commodore Perry. Cole Findlay scored seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter.



Franklin ended Oil City's 11-game winning streak and claimed sole possession of first place in Region 6 with a 67-51 victory before a packed house at The Castle.

The Knights took control early, thanks much to Johnathan Leccia who imposed his will in the paint from the get-go. The 6-7 fly-swatter finished the game with 10 blocks and four dunks.

What's more, Franklin received superb guard play from juniors Cole Buckley who scored a career-high 22 points and Jalen Wood who added 18.

The Knights never trailed, jumping out to a 19-9 lead at the quarter and stretching it to 23-9 with 5:40 to play in the half.

Much like the Warren game on Friday, the Oilers whittled away and did hang around. They were as close as 34-32 three minutes into the second half.

But the ending wasn't near the same as it was at Warren.

A killer three-point play by Buckley with a half second left in the third put the Knights up 46-39. Oil City could get no closer than seven the rest of the way.

Buckley and Wood were a combined six-for-six from the line down the stretch. Wood was deadly again from three-point land, draining five to run his county-leading total to 46. He's averaging 21.3 points over his last four games.

Damon Curry added 15 points for Franklin, which leads the region with a 5-0 record.

The 4-1 Oilers were led by junior Sayyid Donald, who scored 15 points. Ethen Knox added 11. The Oilers had problems getting a lot of their shots to drop, both inside and from beyond the arc. When the Knights were open, they rarely missed.

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