Coach Greg Molnar takes technical for Iroquois teen

By Bailey Kozalla, Kaity Gage, and Stevie Siple, Editor-in-Chief, Design Editor, Staff Writer

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Coach Greg Molnar

Doing the right thing when the opportunity presents itself is one of the unspoken rules of being a coach. That is exactly what Saegertown boys basketball coach Greg Molnar did on Dec. 22 at Iroquois High School.

With a definite loss in sight for the Panthers, Iroquois basketball coach Brad Breese substituted physically challenged junior Jared Anderson into the game, hoping he could score his first points in his varsity career.

With less than two minutes left on the clock, and the score 71-32, Molnar told Breese to call a timeout. He knew that Anderson’s best chance at scoring was to shoot from the foul line.

Molnar spoke to the official, “If he misses the shot, and we get the rebound, then give me a technical.”

Working according to plan, Saegertown recovered the ball, and the referee blew his whistle signaling a technical foul. Anderson went to the foul line.

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Iroquois player Jared Anderson takes his first of two shots at the line after Saegertown Coach Greg Molnar receives a technical foul.

At this moment, the atmosphere of competition in the gym transitioned to one of emotional camaraderie. After Anderson missed the first free throw, the gym fell silent for his final shot. Once the ball left Anderson’s hand, it banked off the backboard, and swished.

Before the ball even hit the floor, the crowd erupted in cheers that lasted for what seemed like minutes.

Anderson also scored the final shot in the game, taking his total points for the evening to three. 

Coach Molnar described the moment with characteristic humility:  “It was an opportunity to provide a memory and normalcy for a kid who obviously loved basketball but faces challenges no one of us can understand.”

Anderson has been playing the game since he was four years old. Thirteen years later, all of his hard work paid off. “I felt awesome. I’d like to thank your coach and your players being so nice about it. It was a Christmas present for being able to get in and score a basket.”

Anderson plans to attend Edinboro University for either sports medicine or management while also playing on a wheelchair basketball team.

A devoted fan, Charles Curtis expressed his viewpoint in a letter to Principal Tom Baker: “I was very impressed by the way your coach allowed a disabled boy on our Iroquois team to take a shot following a requested technical on Molnar’s part. It was a very emotional moment for me and the people in the gym went wild.”

Curtis has followed local basketball teams for many years, and has never witnessed anything like it. “The young man will remember this moment for the rest of his life. This is what high school sports is all about. Your coach should be recognized for his courtesy.”

Iroquois Assistant Principal Jeannene Willow was also impressed by Saegertown’s sportsmanship. “That was certainly my favorite game of the season this year. I really thought it showed a lot of class on Saegertown’s part. I’m going to remember that game for a long time,” Willow said. 

Experiencing the emotion of the crowd, Willow said, “There weren’t too many dry eyes in the gym that night.”

Karen Anderson, Jared’s mother and biggest fan, was speechless. “I was holding my breath. He’s played wheelchair basketball before. That’s been basically all he could do. He managed last year, and I convinced him to play this year.”

Mrs. Anderson has been anticipating his first moments of playing, “When they put him in finally, it was the greatest thing I have ever seen. He works hard at everything he does.”

She described her emotions while watching her son: “When I saw him out on the floor, I wanted to cry and I wanted to scream and I wanted to cheer all at the same time.”

Mrs. Anderson expressed her gratitude to Saegertown as a whole. “I thank the coach, I thank the fans, and I thank the players. I appreciate your school and how they reacted. The sportsmanship they showed means so much.”

(This story was originally published in the Feb. 14 issue of The Panther Press.)

 

Send your heartfelt wishes to homebound students

by Hannah Myers, Photo editor

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Boxes to donate Valentine cards for junior Jared Kula and Dakota Price.

For Valentines Day, student council will be coordinating two big boxes of Valentine cards and other goodies to send to junior Jared Kula and senior Dakota Price who are currently on medical leave from school. Some teachers will be making these in class; however, if your class is not, you may drop your items off in the two boxes in the cafeteria from February 6 – 9. Student council adviser Mrs. Nicole Keller said, “Thanks to Mrs. Houck for coming up with this idea.” She noted that response to the project has been enthusiastic so far.

The Student Council is coordinating two big boxes of Valentines (cards or other goodies if you wish) to send home with both Jared Kula (a junior who had major surgery) and Dakota Price.  (Thanks to Debbie Houck for coming up with this idea!)

With extension period this week and shortened classes on Friday, I thought this might be a good time to have your students make a card for these young men.

On Wednesday I will have some blank Valentines, heart cutouts, paper, etc. in the Library during PLC that you could use to do this project with your classes if you would like.

On Friday during Activity period the Student Council Officers will come around to collect anything you would like to donate to the boxes.

I will send the boxes home to the boys the end of the week of February 9th so if you need a bit more time that will work too.

Thanks!

‘#MeToo’ movement needs to keep moving forward

by Hillary Twiford, news editor

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Hillary Twiford, news editor

A revolutionary movement sparked a conversation in 2017 about sexual harassment and appropriate behavior towards other people. A group of individuals, called the Silence Breakers by Time magazine, are those who have dealt with sexual assault/harassment and have stepped forward to hold their attackers responsible. A recent issue of Time details accounts of courageous men and women who decided to share their stories of experiencing sexual assault and harassment.

Sexual misconduct is a serious problem that prominently resurfaced in 2017. The “#MeToo” movement began with activist Tarana Burke in 2006, but the phrase was popularized by actress Alyssa Milano with her tweet, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
Over 68,000 people replied to the tweet in over three months. The enormous number of people who have come forward and keep coming forward exposes a pressing problem with today’s society. Over 80 women have accused film producer Harvey Weinstein alone of assault. Weinstein was one of the first men to fall due to accusations, many other powerful men going down after him. Even though some accusations have come from the past, they should still be considered seriously.

“I think there would be a lot of guilt and shame of “what did I do?” I think it’s good no matter how far from the the past,” said junior high social studies teacher Mrs. Kara Bechtel.

Finally, people are being held accountable for their own actions. Admittedly, some will not change their ways and will continue to neglect the consequences. However, it should be society’s duty to hold them to the same standards as everyone else, with no regard for status or wealth. This inexcusable behavior cannot continue. Men and women do not deserve to suffer because of sexual misconduct, so we should no longer discourage them from sharing their stories.

“The #MeToo movement, I think that one makes me the most sad,” said science teacher Mrs. Melissa Statman. “Victims of of sexual assault in the past did not have the support they need to heal from that tragic situation.”

Similarly, on Jan. 20, one year after Donald Trump was elected president and the first anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March, people flooded the streets of hundreds of cities, such as New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, and more. The protests were spawned from Trump and his administration’s policies on controversial issues, including immigration and healthcare. Others took to the streets to protest civil and women’s rights, as well as sexual harassment and assault.

“I agree with the women marching and I believe they should be speaking out about how they should be treated. I hope the men that aren’t acting appropriately are paying attention,”  said business and technology teacher Mr. Tim Houck.

In 2017, the world was reminded that sexual assault and harassment is a frequent, yet devastating occurrence. The Silence Breakers shaped the movement that began a serious discussion of sexual misconduct in Hollywood and the common workplace. In 2018, we have to keep moving forward as a society and hope the movement does not stop until sexual assault does.

Bowlers hold on to make Ven-Craw playoffs

by Nick Archacki, staff writer

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Saegertown sophmore Nick Archacki bowling on Jan. 3.

After a rough start to the season, the Saegertown bowling team has advanced to the Ven-Craw quarter-finals by placing sixth of eight teams that could’ve advanced to the first round of playoffs. Saegertown was able to maintain its sixth place position with the help of a fourth place finish in the final regular season match at Buffalo Street Lanes in Franklin.

The teams that have made this years playoffs are Cranberry Maroon (No.1 seed), Conneaut Lake Blue (2), Meadville Red (3), Conneaut Lake Silver (4), Cambridge Springs Blue (5), Saegertown (6), Oil City Blue (7) and Cranberry White (8).

“It’s been a pretty tough year for us I’d say because we lost two seniors that helped us win the last two championships and losing that kind of talent has been hard for us to adjust to,” senior Michael Costello said. “Although, I’m very thankful that our two new bowlers, junior Scott Proper and eighth grader Alex Kightlinger, joined the team to fill our lost spots this year. They’ve both improved greatly from the first day they joined, and they deserve so much credit for being on our team and helping us make the playoffs.”

The Ven-Craw league competed in ten regular season matches between Nov. 2017 and Jan. 2018. The Panthers ended the regular season with a cumulative season total of ninety-five points, earning a spot in the playoffs by over twenty points.

In the individual standings, sophomore Nick Archacki and senior Michael Costello earned first and second of the eighty bowlers in the Ven-Craw league this year. Archacki won high average honors for the fifth consecutive year with a 212.58 average over eighteen individual games while Costello’s average was 208.00.

Moving forward, the Panthers have the opportunity to claim their place in the finals of the Ven-Craw league playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. “I believe we can do it again (win a title),” senior Michael Costello said. “We just have to have fun and psych out our competition. I believe we can three-peat and be the greatest team the Ven-Craw league will ever see.”

The quarter-finals will be held at Seneca Lanes on Feb. 12 at  6 p.m. The Panthers will face the Meadville Red team.