Sunday, January 22, 2012

Nevada Epicenter of High School least for one night

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Who'd have thunk it?  Nevada as the epicenter of high school basketball in America.

Thanks to Findlay Prep and Bishop Gorman, it was on Saturday night when the two schools battled for Nevada bragging rights, plus a better spot in national rankings.

Now, it should be pointed-out for those of you that don't know, Bishop Gorman is a catholic high school in Las Vegas; Findlay Prep, located about 10 miles outside of Vegas in Henderson, is a controversial school because it's all about basketball.

Findlay was founded in 2006 by Cliff Findlay, a car dealer, who is also a UNLV basketball booster and former player for the Runnin' Rebels.

There's been a big spotlight on Findlay Prep, not only for its 143-8 record since opening, but the fact that  its only students are the its basketball players.  The players are actually students at Henderson International School, a pre-school through 12th grade, full-accredited private school.

Bishop Gorman has grown in national prominence because of its football program that has spent the better part of the last decade near the top of national ranking services.  The Gaels' b-ball team has been no slouch either with four state titles under head coach Grant Rice since 2002, plus being nationally-ranked last year.

The Gaels also have Shabazz Muhammad, who is considered the nation's #1 ranked senior, who entered the game averaging 30 points a game.

Heading into Saturday afternoon's game that was played before a sellout crowd of 2,500 and an ESPN national television audience, BG was ranked #13 by, while Findlay was the third best academy team in its national rankings.  Tickets for the game on StubHub were reportedly going for as much as $200.

On the court, Findlay (19-1) beat the Gaels (13-4) 73-61 at Cox Arena in Vegas.  Findlay has now beaten Bishop Gorman in each of the four games the two schools have played.  Last year, Findlay won 88-86 in double-overtime.

Muhammad was held to 19 points in the game.  Findlay was led by Dominic Artis, who netted 21 points, and Nigel Williams-Goss, who scored 20.

Blair Academy Wins Another NHSCA Final Four of Wrestling Championship

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Top-ranked Blair Academy (Blairstown, New Jersey) won its sixth straight National High School Coaches Association Final Four of Wrestling title Saturday.

The Bucs finished a perfect 5-0 on the day, including a 53-6 defeat of host Easton (Pennsylvania) in the championship match-up.  Along the way, Blair beat Franklin (Massachusetts) 65-6 and Delaware Valley (Pennsylvania) 53-9 in pool play; plus Council Rock South (Pennsylvania) 60-13 and J.W. Robinson (Virginia) 66-7 in the medal round matches.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Will Indiana Return to Single-Class Basketball Tournament?

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

There no timetable yet, but the commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association will hold several town hall-style meetings to gauge the public's support for returning the state to a single-class basketball tournament format.

The IHSAA's decision to get public input on the issue came after State Senator Mike Delph of Carmel dropped a portion of a bill Wednesday that would have forced Indiana back to a single-class high school basketball tournament.

Until 1998, the Hoosier state crowned only one champion with every school, no matter the size, playing against each other…which of course led to the movie Hoosiers after tiny Milan high school won the single-class tournament in 1954.

Milan’s enrollment was 164 students…and the school remains the smallest to win an Indiana single-class championship.

A four-class system has been in place since 1998.

January 19th NHSCA Sport Hour Now Available On-Demand

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

If you missed last night's show featuring Sacred Heart High School (Los Angeles, CA) girls' basketball coach Greg Nakashima and 2011 High School Rudy Award winner Addison Marshall of Foster High School in Texas, don't fear, it's now available in our archives.

Nakashima talks about the trials-and-tribulations his girls face because the school doesn't have a gym of its own.  One of the biggest hurdles is the walk/run the girls must make every day to get to a rec center about a mile away for practice.  The journey takes them through gang-infested areas of East LA.

Marshall joined us during a chemotherapy treatment in Houston hospital as he battles leukemia.  Marshall and his mom talked about Addison's two-and-a-half year battle with the disease and his successful return to the football field for the second half of his team's final game in November.

Click here to listen to the show.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Summers County's Wins Streak Ends at 105 Games

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

For the first time since 2008, Summers County High School's girls basketball team has tasted defeat.

Saturday night, Scott High beat the Bobcats 72-55 to end the school's West Virginia state record win streak at 105 straight victories.  Summers County entered the game ranked #1 in the state in AA, while Scott was #2.

Summers County has won five straight AA state championships.

Below is the list of the Top 10 all-time girls' basketball win streaks

1. Basken (LA) 215
2. Monetta (SC) 154
3. (tie) Duncanville (TX) 134
3. (tie) Butler Taylor County (GA) 134
5. Valdosta Lowdnes (GA) 122
6. Nashua (NH) 120
7. Shelbyville Central (TN) 110
8. Millersburg West Holmes (OH) 108
9. Williamstown (VT) 107
10. (tie) Midway (SC) 106
10. (tie) Orem Mountain View (UT) 106

St. Anthony (NJ) Climbs Back to #1 in Lastest MaxPreps Boys Basketball Rankings

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Thanks to Findlay Prep's (Henderson, NV) 25-point win over former #1 Simeon (Chicago, IL) on Monday at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts, defending national champ St. Anthony (Jersey City, NJ) is back on-top in the latest MaxPreps' Xcellent 25 High School Boys Basketball Rankings.

St. Anthony, currently riding a 45-game win streak, moved to the top of the rankings after a solid 60-48 win over Miller Grove (Lithonia, GA) on Monday in Springfield.  Simeon falls to #7 after its first loss of the season

The biggest climber this week was another Nevada team, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)  The Gaels climb eleven spots after a 73-63 win over former #3 DeMatha (Hyattsville, MD).

MaxPreps Xcellent 25

1. St. Anthony (NJ) 12-0, LW: #2
2. Grace Prep (TX) 15-2, LW: #4
3. Marcus (TX) 23-2, LW: #5
4. Milton (GA) 13-4, LW: #14
5. Gonzaga (DC) 15-0, LW: #6
6. DeMatha (MD) 15-1, LW: #3
7. Simeon (IL) 15-1, LW: #1
8. Chester (PA) 13-0, LW: #7
9. Southwind (TN) 18-1, LW: #8
10. Rideway (TN) 17-0, LW: #10
11. Mater Dei (CA) 16-2, LW: #12
12. Prestonwood Christian (TX) 16-4, LW: #9
13. Bishop Gorman (NV) 13-3, LW:: #24
14. Wichita Heights (KS) 8-0, LW: #13
15. Neumann-Goretti (PA) 10-2, LW: #16
16. Westbury Christian (TX) 17-2 , LW: #18
17. Olympic (NC) 17-0, LW: #20
18. Columbia (GA) 16-1, LW: #21
19. Proviso East (IL) 14-0, LW: #22
20. Lone Peak (UT) 10-2, LW: #23
21. Dunbar (OH) 11-0, LW: #25
22. Pershing (MI) 9-0, LW: #22
23. Long Beach Poly (CA) 13-1, LW: NR
24. Blanche Ely (FL) 17-2, LW: NR
25. Sexton (MI) 7-1, LW: #11

Last year on the NHSCA Sports Hour, I spoke with St. Anthony head coach Bob Hurley after winning his 1,000th game.  Click here to listen to that interview.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

True Amateur: Regis Jesuit Swimmer Missy Franklin Says NO to the Dough

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

When Trish Hoffman and I spoke to Olympic hopeful Missy Franklin last March, we knew the Regis Jesuit High School teenager was special.  Franklin, a high school sophomore at the time of the interview, handled the chat like a seasoned veteran, way beyond her years.

This week it was fun to read a feature story in the Wall Street Journal that revealed the big-time money Ms. Franklin has turned-down to remain an amateur swimmer heading into the 2012 London Olympic Games.  Franklin talks about how important it is to her to retain her amateur status so she will be able to swim in college.

After reading this article, you can't do anything other than root for this young lady, who will be swimming for a spot on the Olympic Team during the trials in Omaha at the end of June.  However, the glare of Olympic gold isn't preventing her from helping her high school team.  Franklin is still swimming a limited schedule with Regis Jesuit, and is expected to be in the pool for the Colorado state championships in February.

Click here to read Franklin story in the Wall Street Journal.

Click here to hear Missy on the NHSCA Sports Hour.

Oh, by the way, did I mention, Franklin is only a junior in high school?!

An East Los Angeles Girls Basketball that Battles More than Opponents to Play the Game

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

You may remember my December, 2010 interview with Bishop Chatard football coach Vince Lorenzano, who talked about his school winning the most state championships (11) in Indiana history without the "luxury" of a home field.

Today, I'm sharing a great story written by Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, who shares with his readers the story of the tiny East Los Angeles girls' basketball team at Sacred Heart High School.

Plaschke not only describes the trials-and-tribulations of a team that not only doesn't have a home gym, but must deal with gangs and other modern day inner-city LA troubles just to get to a nearby rec center that serves as the team's home away from home.

Click here to read the story.

I've reached-out the school and hope to have the team's head coach Greg Nakashima on this week's NHSCA Sports Hour.

Click here to listen to interview with Bishop Chatard's Vince Lorenzano.

Minnesota State High School League Changing Penalties for Violent Hits in Hockey Gamges

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Two week's after a Minnesota high school hockey player was paralyzed from the neck down after a check from behind, the state's high school sports governing body has taken action to stiffen penalties for three different penalties.

Starting with Monday's games, the Minnesota State High School League players called for a check from behind, boarding or head contact will get at least a five-minute major penalty.

According to a news release posted on the MSHSL's website: "The penalties for three infractions of the rules have been significantly increased in an effort to thwart players from making dangerous hits on the ice."

The rules changes come after Benilde-St. Margaret's sophomore hockey player Jack Joblonski was paralyzed from crashing headfirst into the boards after a check from behind.

"Hockey is a great game, and when it is played the way it should be played, it should be a safe game," said Craig Perry, Minnesota State High School League associate director who oversees hockey.  "The advisory committee's recommendations and our Board's support of the action continue our efforts to protect the kids on the ice, efforts that have been in place for a number of years."

Blair Wins Close Battle of #1 vs. #2

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

The battle between #1 Blair Academy (New Jersey) vs. #2 St. Edward (Ohio) in the championship match of the 11th annual NHSCA Wrestling Festival at Pleasant Valley High School in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania lived-up to its billing.

The match came down to the final bout at 132 pounds between Blair's Mark Grey and St. Ed's Edgar Bright.  Coming into the final match-up, the Buccaneers held a slim 24-22 advantage.

Blair picked-up a 27-22 victory when Grey escaped with 16 seconds to go in double overtime to win the bout 2-1.

The victory secures Blair's ranking as the top team in the country.  In December, Blair easily won the Ironman in Ohio with St. Ed's finishing second.

Next week, Blair will continue its march toward a possible 10th national title when it faces stiff competition in the NHSCA Final Four of Wrestling in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

NHSCA Wrestling Festival - Showdown Looming #1 vs. #2

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

If all goes according to plan, the 11th annual NHSCA Wrestling Festival will culminate with the biggest high school wrestling match of the 2011-12 school year.

If Blair Academy (New Jersey) and St. Edward (Ohio) successfully navigate their respective pools at Pleasant Valley High School in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, the two will meet in the championship round to determine which team is the best in America.

Blair enters the competition ranked #1 by Win Magazine and The Open Mat.  St. Ed's, which began the year ranked #1, is currently ranked #2.  The two schools flip-flopped spots after Blair won the Ironman in December with St. Ed's finishing second.

I spoke to both coaches on the NHSCA Sports Hour on Thursday, click here to listen to the interviews with Jeff Buxton (Blair) and Greg Urbas (St. Ed).

You'll be able to watch the showdown on the NHSCA website for free.  Go to to learn how, plus see all of the results as the matches end.

Below are the latest rankings through January 10th from The Open Mat:

1. Blair Academy (NJ)
2. St. Edward (OH)
3. St. Johns (MI)
4. Apple Valley (MN)
5. Clovis (CA)
6. Brandon (FL)
7. Canon McMillan (PA)
8. Bettendorf (IA)
9. Wyoming Seminary (PA)
10. Detroit Central Catholic (MI)
11. St. Paris Graham (OH)
12. Bethlehem Catholic (PA)
13. Christiansburg (VA)
14. Archbishop Moeller (OH)
15. Simley (MN)
16. Perry Meridian (IN)
17. Southeast Polk (IA)
18. Poway (CA)
19. Broken Arrow (OK)
20. Union (OK)
21. Allen (TX)
22. Montini Catholic (IL)
23. Iowa City West (IA)
24. Central Dauphin (PA)
25. Massillon Perry (OH)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Virginia High School Soccer Player Wins Insperium Soccer Award

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

The best way to view Christian Metzler of Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Woodbridge, Virginia is through his ability, not his disability.

Metzler is an all-state soccer goalkeeper who has excelled on the soccer pitch, even though he plays with a prothstetic right leg. Metzler, who is an inspiration to his teammates, his peers and members of his community, is the winner of the inaugural Insperium Soccer Awards.

Metzler, who was ranked third in the state in saves-per-game, was named the nation's most inspirational soccer player out of over 250 young men and women who were nominated.

"Christian is successfully juggling a demanding schedule with his high school commitments," said Henry Montague, head coach of Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School. "His athletic achievements are clearly noteworthy, but are truly remarkable for an athlete with only one God-given leg. Christian is the consummate inspirational leader of other student athletes and is most deserving of this award.”

Metzler gives generously of his time to various organizations including the Walter Reed and Bethesda Medical Centers where he mentors amputees and injured servicemen as part of the Wounded Warrior Program, and works as a peer counselor for disabled youth and their families.

“I hear many others say, ‘If he can do it, why can’t I?’” said Metzler of his volunteerism at Walter Reed. On one occasion, he was helping a new patient come to terms with the loss of his limbs, and he joked with the patient about the experience of going to the beach and getting sand in his prosthesis. “His face lit up and that was really the best - that’s when I realized that I am really making a difference in the lives of these guys.”

As the winner of the Inspireum Soccer Awards, Metzler will be presented a $7,500 academic scholarship at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s convention on January 14th.

The Trusted Sports Foundation provides $25,000 in academic scholarships to the 12 finalists for the Insperium Soccer Awards.

Three Runners-up will each receive a $2,500 academic scholarship.

The Runners-up include Tara McNaught of Lakewood, California, who spends hours each day undergoing breathing treatments to overcome Cystic Fibrosis in order to be part of her high school and club soccer teams; Humberto Alvarez of Medford, Oregon, who sacrificed his junior year season when he donated bone marrow to save his five year old brother who has leukemia; and Michael Cooper of Blackwood, New Jersey, who uses soccer to rehabilitate his two autistic brothers and overcome his own battle with Crohn’s disease.

The Winner and Runners-up were determined by the National Selection Committee comprised of Awards Chairman Steve Sampson, and U.S. Men’s National Team Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, as well as many other well-known soccer personalities. April Heinrichs, a former U.S. Women’s National Team player and coach, and the first woman inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame is serves on the committee, as well as Lynn Berling-Manuel, Chief Marketing Officer of American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), and Andres Cantor, whose famous call, “GOOOOAAALLLL!” will be the new hallmark of the upcoming World Cup broadcast in the U.S. The committee voted for the nominees who they feel most inspire others, and who best represent the values of character, courage, contribution, and commitment.

Two Fan Favorites were also selected by online “fan” vote, with each to receiving a $2,000 academic scholarship. One female, Maritza Valdespino, and one male, Eric Arsenault, have been named the Fan Favorites.

Valdespino of Houston, Texas hails from a low-socioeconomic, inner-city area, but overcame every barrier and stereotype to excel to the utmost, both academically and athletically. Arsenault, of Lake Worth, Florida, underwent the removal of a tumor on his spine and implantation of metal rods to stabilize him. Although it took several years, Eric re-learned how to bend, walk and move before he made his way back to the soccer field.

Winning a $1,000 academic scholarship were: Becca Lidvall of Lakewood, Colorado; Lauren Luke of Mukilteo, Washington; Brock Marvin of Elizabethtown, New York; Gaela Normile of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Sam Porter of Gresham, Oregeon; and Gonzalo Vasquez of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Cooper and Luke will be guests on Thursday night's NHSCA Sports Hour starting at 6 P.M. Eastern Time.  Metzler will join me on the January 12th show.

Click here to listen to the NHSCA Sports Hour LIVE.

Each athlete's full story can be viewed at