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On This Date (March 31, 1978): Three area cagers are MVPs

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Since May of 1999, the Times News Sports Department has featured an On This Date practically every day, highlighting an event that happened in the past. With the coronavirus putting a halt to sports locally and nationally, the On This Dates have been expanded to the stories that actually ran in the next day’s newspaper. Today’s On This Date story is from March 31, 1978).

HAZLETON - Three outstanding seniors from the TIMES NEWS area walked away with Most Valuable Player honors for their team last night here at St. Joseph’s gymnasium in the annual Sports Federation Hazleton Area Basketball Classic.

Marian High’s Joe Antinozzi led the Stripes to an easier than expected 79-73 win over the Stars to finish as his team’s MVP in the boys game, while Lynne Titus of the Tamaqua girls state championship team took control in the final quarter to give the Bows a 61-55 win over the Belles in the girls contest. Titus was the Bows’ MVP and Jim Thorpe’s 1,000-point scorer, Rose Sarullo, canned 11 points to earn the banner for the Belles.

Antinozzi Shines

Paced by Antinozzi, another Marian standout Fred Manning and Cardinal Brennan’s Jack Dunleavy, the Stripes took the lead halfway through the initial period and went on to the six-point triumph.

Antinozzi put on quite a show with some good moves in driving to the hoop and tallied 14 points. Manning combined 12 points with an impressive floor game in the backcourt and Dunleavy controlled the boards while hitting 10 counters. Lourdes’ Jim Letcavage added eight more along with George Donadi of West Hazleton.

Bishop Hafey backcourt ace, Jim Donlon, was the star of the game for the losers, as he hit on seven field goals from the “ozone” and some good drives for a 19-point performance and co-MVP honors for his team. Tony Kasarda of Hazleton and Rich Starrick, also of Hazleton, chipped in with 13 and 10 respectively, leading Kasarda to a share of the MVP honors for the Stars with Donlon. Panther Valley ace , Mark Zuber, played some real hustling-type ball, and ended with eight points.

The Stars took an early lead with Donion and Starrick making two buckets apiece, but Antinozzi countered with six and Dunleavy two to tie the score at 8-8. Antinozzi swished another field goal and Donlon answered with two free throws (10-10) before the Stripes ran off eight straight to take a nice-sized lead. At the end of the quarter, the Stripes had a 20-16 advantage.

Coming back to pull within one in the beginning of the second quarter, the Stars quickly saw Letcavage gives the Stripes some life and with his outstanding board play, helped the latter outscore the Stars, 22-9, to take a 44-30 lead at the intermission.

Eight players got into the scoring act for the Stripes in the third period, and at one point led by as much as 19 points. With three minutes to go in the third period, the Stars started to make their move again and trailed, 62-47, entering the last quarter.

The Stars did manage to cut the lead to 10 (67-57) midway through the final quarter, but never came closer until the final seconds of the game.

Head coach of the winning Stripes team was Dave Fennelly of Cardinal Brennan, while Hazleton High mentor, Chris Perry, guided the Stars.

Girls Game Real Thriller

The fact that the Bows team had three state champions and a host of other talented stars didn’t keep the Belles from giving their opponent a battle until the final minutes of their contest.

It was none other than Tamaqua’s Titus who took control in the final stage of the game to score eight of her 14 points and salvage the 61-55 win.

Trailing through most of the first three quarters, the Belles managed to tie the score at 41-41 with 1:30 left in the third stanza. At the end of the period, it was still deadlocked at 44-44.

In the final eight minutes, the score was tied four times before Tamaqua’s Wendy Truskey broke the knot with a bucket at 1:59 left on the clock. Titus and Jim Thorpe’s Susie Kurtz matched field goals before Titus got hot and put it out of reach.

Jackie Marcin of Marian hit double figures for the Bows with 11, while Judy Marcin, also of the Fillies, added seven. Chris Kunkel of Lourdes and Truskey canned six apiece. Brenda Morgans, Panther Valley’s all-time leading scorer, did an outstanding job on the boards and added five.

Outside of Sarullo’s 11 for the Belles, Cindy Petrovich of West Hazleton added eight, Tammy Dovan of Freeland had nine, and Linda Dargay of Hazleton six.

Donating their services by officiating were Paul Burkey and George Jones in the opener and Ray Saul and Ray Bast in the nightcap.

Girls Game


Graaf (W) 0-0-0-0, Busher (W) 0-0-0-0, Kurtz (JT) 2-0-2-4, Petrovich (WHHS) 3-2-2-8, Gloman (HHS) 0-2-2-2, Citro (HHS) 5-1-1-11, Marsicano (HHS) 1-2-4-4, Dargay (HHS) 1-4-4-6, Dovan (F) 4-1-4-9, Sarullo (JT) 4-3-6-11. TOTALS: 20-15-25-55.


Morgans (PV) 2-1-2-5, Titus (T) 7-0-2-14, Truskey (T) 2-2-4-6, Young (T) 0-2-4-2, Wychullis (CB) 1-2-2-4, Milewski (CB) 0-1-2-1, Kunkel (L) 2-2-4-6, Jacoski (L) 0-2-2-2, Corazza (BH) 1-1-3-3, Judy Marcin (M) 3-1-2-7, Jackie Marcin (M) 4-3-4-11, Chelak (M) 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-17-31-61

Belles 11 14 19 11 - 55

Bows 18 13 13 17 - 61

Officials - Burkey and Jones.

Boys Game


Donlan (BH) 7-5-6-19, Powell (MMI) 2-2-2-6, Kneas (JT) 0-0-2-0, Zuber (PV) 2-4-4-8, Starrick (HHS) 5-0-0-10, Kasarda (HHS) 6-1-2-13, Witner (W) 1-0-1-2, Scalise (BH) 2-0-0-4, Wagner (W) 1-0-0-2, Sillers (JT) 1-1-2-3, Breslin (BH) 2-0-1-4, Marsicano (HHS) 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 30-13-20-73.


Antinozzi (M) 5-4-6-14, Neary (CB) 2-0-0-4, Komara (L) 2-0-0-4, Donadi (WH) 3-2-2-8, Scarcella (WH) 3-0-2-6, Dando (CB) 2-0-0-4, Dunleavy (CB) 5-0-0-10, Agosti (M) 1-1-2-3, Manning (M) 5-2-3-12, Kulaga (WH) 1-0-0-2, Breznitsky (F) 2-0-0-4, Letcavage (L) 4-0-0-8. TOTALS: 35-9-16-79.

Stars 16 14 17 26 - 73

Stripes 20 24 18 17 - 79

Officials - Bast and Saul.

Jim Thorpe's Rose Sarullo won the MVP Award for the Belles team at the Hazleton Area Basketball Classic.