Tip-off tournaments get winter sports season started

Eisenhower’s Jaydon Hayes goes up for a dunk during last season’s game against Youngsville. The Knights open play tonight at the Fairview Tip-Off Tournament against the host Tigers at 8:30 p.m.

Winter is coming.

But the winter sports season is already upon us as almost every county basketball team tips off their season this weekend in one tournament/classic or another.

Some of those teams (Warren’s boys and girls, Eisenhower’s boys) are looking to reach new heights after their seasons culminated in playoff runs a year ago. Others will be trying to take the next step and earn playoff berths after missing out last season.

Both Warren Area High School and Sheffield High School will be hosting tournaments. Sheffield’s boys and girls will both be in action. The boys host North Clarion, Jamestown and Port Allegany, while the girls will feature more local flair with Eisenhower, Youngsville and Port Allegany.

The girls, competing in the Sheffield Tip-Off Classic, will face both county teams. Lexi Lyon is the top returning scorer for the Wolverines, averaging seven points per game last year. Lyon will be joined in the frontcourt by Eliza Davidson (2.5 ppg) while Mya Grubbs (4 ppg) leads the backcourt.

Friday evening, the Wolverines will have to contend with Youngsville’s Caitlin Craig. The senior SG averaged just over 12 points per game last year and could benefit from a strong inside game if freshmen Andrea Sveda and Kamryn Weissinger can pay immediate dividends for the Eagles. Paige Mineweaser (5.2 ppg) will bring a savvy defensive presence to the court as well as chipping in some scoring.

Saturday afternoon, Eisenhower will bring a more balanced offensive attack. Payton Mineweaser (4.6 ppg), Emily Wheeler (3.2 ppg), Delany Nizzi (2.9 ppg), Savannah McKown (2.8 ppg) and Lydia Giannini (2.5 ppg) are all threats for the Knights.

While the other county teams will be battling in Sheffield, Warren will face a tough challenge in its season-opening Tip-Off Tournament. The Dragons will welcome New York powers Panama and Orchard Park as well as Moniteau to the newly renovated Joseph A. Massa gymnasium. Panama and Orchard Park have both made deep playoff runs the last two seasons while Moniteau has 35 wins over that time.