With the new year underway, play within the area’s various leagues starts to get more serious.
In the Laurel Highlands, the Bishop Carroll boys are unbeaten overall at 8-0, but in Section 1 the Huskies are tied at the top with Bishop Guilfoyle (5-1) and Central Cambria (6-3), all at 1-0.
The boys of Richland (7-1), Bishop McCort (5-2) and Greater Johnstown (4-4) all have one win in Section 2.
This week, Bishop McCort hosts the Rams while the Red Devils play at Bishop Guilfoyle on Wednesday.
In the girls LHAC standings, Bishop Guilfoyle (6-1), Bishop Carroll (7-2) and Penn Cambria (7-3) are all 1-0 in Section 1 while Westmont Hilltop (8-1), Bishop McCort (8-2) and Johnstown (2-6) are 1-0 in Section 2.
In the WestPAC North, the boys of Portage (8-0) and Conemaugh Township (8-2) are unbeaten with Windber (6-2) and Conemaugh Valley (4-5) just behind. In the South, Berlin Brothersvalley (7-1) and Shanksville-Stonycreek (5-2) both have a loss with Shade (7-3) just behind.
Berlin is at Shade and Conemaugh Township entertains Portage both on Thursday.
Among the girls in the WestPAC North, Portage (9-1) is undefeated with North Star (6-4), Windber (5-2) and Conemaugh Township (4-1) just behind. In the South, Berlin (5-0) and Shade (6-1) are undefeated at the top.
The Ramblers host North Star today and are at Portage on Wednesday while the Mustangs play at Township and Berlin is at Shade on Friday.
In the Heritage, Homer-Center and Blairsville are on top of the boys heap while Blairsville, Marion Center and United are the top three girls teams.
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On the road: The Westmont Hilltop girls have a busy week ahead of them.
The Hilltoppers play at Greater Johnstown today then are at Blairsville on Wednesday. Westmont hosts Bedford on Thursday then heads to Bellwood-Antis on Friday.
The Bobcats are 7-1, losing to Hollidaysburg in a tip-off tournament and are the lone team to beat Bishop Guilfoyle thus far.
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Turn back the clock: The old school boys basketball rivalry between Altoona and Greater Johnstown will be renewed this evening at West Side Elementary.
Altoona enters the game with a 2-6 mark while Class AAA Johnstown is 4-4.
The game has no league significance for either team but the pride of the two towns is once again on the line.
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Just saying: I have always had the policy of not criticizing referees at a basketball game (or those in any other sport for that matter), since that’s not my area of expertise.
But, I also think that the athletes on the field of play should determine the outcome of a contest and not those that are overseeing the action.
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/CoryIsenbergTD.