Rolling on the road
Butler Eagle
Written by:
January 27, 2014
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Mars' John Castello drives past Freeport's Josh Beale and lays it in at Freeport High School on Friday, January 24, 2014.

BUFFALO TWP — Freeport affectionately refers to the school’s gymnasium as “The Hive.”

But Friday night, it was the Yellowjackets who felt the sting in a Section 1-AAA boys basketball showdown with Mars.

The Planets dominated from the outset and cruised to a 78-42 victory.

“Our guys came out really focused tonight,” said Planets’ coach Rob Carmody. “We seemed to have some extra energy with John (Castello) back in the lineup.

Castello, a sophomore center, missed Wednesday’s 81-64 loss to North Hills with bicep tendonitis in his right arm.

“It was still a little sore tonight, but it felt good to get back on the court,” said Castello, who scored 20 points and controlled 22 rebounds against Freeport. “I hate to miss games.”

Carmody saw evidence of that in the North Hills game.

“I looked at him sitting on the bench during the game and you could just see the anger on his face,” he said. “That’s the best thing about John, his competitiveness.”

Mars took control of the game in the first half in part because of Freeport’s poor shooting effort. The Yellowjackets made just two of their first 17 attempts from the field.

“When you are playing a team like Mars, you have to knock down your open looks,” said Yellowjackets’ coach Mike Beale. “We had a good bit of them early, but just didn’t make them.”

Castello and Owen Nearhoof combined to score 10 points in less than two minutes into the second period, pushing Mars’ lead to 26-5.

Nearhoof ended the night with a game-high 23 points and teammate Ethan Lewis added 14.

Freeport’s biggest offensive threat, sophomore Josh Beale, tallied 16 points, but only five in the first half.

“You have to keep your body off of him because he plays well against contact,” said Carmody of Beale (6-foot-3). “He’s such a strong kid and he has a variety of moves. He’s a heck of a player.”

Freeport’s desperate attempt to get back in the game saw the Yellowjackets take 10 of their 11 field goal attempts in the third quarter from beyond the arc. They made five of them, but there was no catching the Planets (10-6, 7-1) on this night.

reeport (8-9, 2-7) is still very much alive for a WPIAL postseason berth. Kittanning currently holds the final playoff spot from the section with a 3-6 record.

“We are just two boys over the limit (for Class AA),” said Beale. “It is what it is, but we don’t use that as an excuse.”


Owen Nearhoof 8 1-1 23, John Castello 8 4-5 20, Ethan Lewis 6 1-1 14, Christian Schmitt 1 3-3 6, Austin Fetsko 1 1-2 3, Nick DeCamp 1 0-0 3, Brett Kloc 1 0-0 2, Mitch Verplank 1 0-1 2, Noah Tresky 0 1-2 1, Nate Sablowski 2 0-0 4, Errict Haas 0 0-0 0, Brandt Kepreos 0 0-0 0, Nate Bayuk 0 0-0 0, Sam Morrissey 0 0-0 0. Totals: 29 11-15 78.


Seth Bowser 1 1-2 3, Eric Davis 1 0-0 2, Codey Digiacobbe 1 0-0 2, Josh Beale 4 5-8 16, Mason Eddinger 1 1-2 3, Kris Keppel 2 0-0 6, Kevin Lynch 2 0-0 4, Hunter Fennell 2 0-0 6, Marshall McCormick 0 0-2 0, Noah Shannon 0 0-0 0, Jon Wise 0 0-0 0, Brandon Hochbein 0 0-0 0, Danny Fetchko 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 7-14 42.

Mars 16 20 19 23 — 78

Freeport5 10 16 11 — 42

3-point goals: Mars 9 (Nearhoof 6, Lewis, Schmitt, DeCamp); Freeport 7 (Beale 3, Keppel 2, Fennell 2).

Monday: Karns City at Freeport

Tuesday: Kittanning at Mars