Local sports news


Popovec eyes
rebound plateau

CANFIELD — Canfield High School senior Kate Popovec will attempt to etch her name into the school’s basketball record book again when the Cardinals play at Salem High tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

Popovec needs nine rebounds to register the 1,000th of her career.

She would become the only player in school girl’s basketball history with both 1,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds.


Special promotion

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown SteelHounds announced Monday that every Friday home game in February will be “Fan Appreciation Friday.”

All fans 21 years of age and older will be able to purchase 12 ounce beers for one dollar. This is the first time that such a promotion has been presented to the fans of Youngstown during the Chevrolet Centre’s two plus years of operation.

The Hounds will play host to the Mississippi RiverKings on February 8th, the Oklahoma City Blazers on the 15th and the Wichita Thunder on the 29th. Each contest is scheduled for a 7:05 PM face-off.


Anderson Varejao
faces more tests

CLEVELAND — Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao is coming home from Cleveland’s road trip to undergo further tests on the left ankle he sprained during Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Varejao injured his ankle during the third quarter when he accidentally stepped on the foot of Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic.

X-rays taken a the Staples Center were negative, and the Cavaliers said an MRI taken Monday showed no additional injury beyond the sprain. The team does not yet know how long Varejao will be out.

Last week, the Cavaliers lost starting guard Sasha Pavlovic for at least six weeks with a left mid-foot sprain.

Ryan Pontbriand
named to Pro Bowl

CLEVELAND — Long snapper Ryan Pontbriand was added to the AFC squad on Monday, giving the Cleveland Browns at least four representatives for next month’s game in Hawaii.

Pontbriand will join kick returner Joshua Cribbs, wide receiver Braylon Edwards and left tackle Joe Thomas in Honolulu for the Feb. 10 game. Before this season, the Browns hadn’t had a player make the Pro Bowl since linebacker Jamir Miller in 2001.

Pontbriand was not a replacement. He was chosen by San Diego’s coaching staff, which as the losing team in the AFC championship, gets to coach the AFC team.

“I’m thrilled,” Pontbriand said. “Making the Pro Bowl is a goal I was always hoping for but never thought I’d see this early in my career. To be selected means a lot because there are several excellent snappers in the AFC and a lot of longtime veterans who have been snapping well for many years.

“It’s going to be a memorable experience.”

Pontbriand was drafted in the fifth round in 2003 by coach Butch Davis, who was criticized at the time for using a pick on a long snapper. But Pontbriand has proven to be invaluable to the Browns, who signed him to a four-year contract extension in September.

Quarterback Derek Anderson, offensive guard Eric Steinbach and tight end Kellen Winslow remain as alternates for the Pro Bowl and could be added if others decide not to play.


Riddle selected

GREENVILLE, Pa. — Thiel College junior 184-pound Andrew Riddle earned the first Presidents' Athletic Conference Wrestler of the Week honor of his career Monday afternoon.

Riddle, currently 17-7 on the season, went 5-0 last week in dual meet action. At Thiel’s inaugural Tomcat Five on Saturday, he recorded a 10-6 decision against WVU Tech’s Ben Wood, a 10-4 decision against MNE’s Nathan Kucnick, picked up a forfeit win against RIT and earned an 8-2 decision against Muskingum’s Daniel Dunn. He has won eight straight matches for the Tomcats (9-3, 2-0).

PSAC announces
football schedule

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference announced its 2008 and 2009 football schedules, highlighted by the return of the PSAC Championship Game for the first time since 1987.

The move comes one year after the league expanded its membership, adding Gannon, Mercyhurst and C.W. Post Long Island.

The new format features a 10-game mandated schedule, with seven divisional contests and three contests in which teams will “cross over” to play the opposite division.

Baze eyes mark

ALBANY, Calif. — Russell Baze rode two winners Monday at Golden Gate Fields, leaving him three victories from becoming the first thoroughbred jockey to win 10,000 races.

Baze won the first race aboard Cassiar and the third aboard Troy Fan, giving him 9,997 victories. He was winless with four other mounts at the Bay Area track.

The Hall of Famer is already thoroughbred racing’s winningest jockey. He surpassed Laffit Pincay Jr.’s record of 9,530 in December 2006 at Bay Meadows in San Mateo, Calif.

Baze resumes his latest pursuit when the track reopens Thursday.

Vindicator staff/wire reports