The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


March 12, 2014

For shooters Bertolasio, Mercer, some of the best things in life are 3

JEFFERSON — Three is a big number in the sports world.

In football, a 3-point kick can win a game with no time on the clock. In hockey, it takes 3 periods to complete a game and a player can win it for his team with a hat trick. In baseball, each team gets 3 outs per inning as needed and the late Earl Weaver, manager of the Baltimore Orioles for many years, lived and died with 3-run homers.

Basketball has its own version of 3s. Over the past few seasons at the high school level, the 3-point shot has won and lost many games. The 3-pointer becomes a different animal, though, at all-star games.

A pair of athletes, playing in their last high school games, came to the fore in closing their careers to win the 3-point shooting contest at the Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic on Tuesdya night in Jefferson’s Falcon Gymnasium.

Natalie Bertolasio of Conneaut came close to a school record for a season with her 39 treys this year for coach Tony Pasanen’s squad and that skill set paid off for her as she dispatched Pymatuning Valley mainstay Geena Gabriel in the final for girls by a 5-2 score.

“It’s just crazy to think my high school career is over already,” Bertolasio said. “I hope to maybe look into playing college basketball at Cleveland State, maybe in my sophomore year after I get settled in. I’m still not sure about that, but I’d like to maybe try. We had a good season this year at Conneaut. We played some good defense, and that is good for confidence.”

Her long-range shooting boosted the Spartans.

“Natalie did very well for us,” he said. “She was hurt as a sophomore, so last season was basically her sophomore year, and now, as a senior, she played just as a junior would. She put in the time to improve, and her 39 long-range buckets this year helped our team a lot.”

Bertolasio reached the final round by dropping Taylor Bland of Madison, 8-4. Bertolasio split her first 4 shots, then torched the nets for 6 in a row, mostly from the top of the key.

Gabriel had reached the title battle by knocking off Gia Saturday of Edgewood, 6-1. Both had proven their abilities to hit those 3-pointers, but it wasn’t Saturday’s night.

Then the guys got into the act at halftime of their game, and known bombardiers went at it.

An unlikely winner came to the front, however, in the person of Pymatuning Valley role player Corey Mercer.

After Jake Vormelker of Grand Valley and Ashtabula County Player of the Year Connor McLaughlin of Edgewood went at it, with Vormelker winning in extra shots, 3-2, after they each hit 4 in their first round of 10, Mercer and Kyle Downs of Lakeside battled. Mercer came out on top by a 5-4 count.

Mercer and Vormelker, a deadly shooter from as far as 25 feet out, battled to a 5-5 tie after 10 shots.

Mercer gained the upper hand in the extra session, claiming the title with a 4-1 victory.

“We’re not seeing that much defense in the game tonight,” Mercer said. “This is my last chance to play, so it is really nice that I was able to get hot and win this contest.”

His coach in the game, first year Jefferson coach Steve French, has an unusual take on Mercer’s feat.

“I got to coach Corey back in sixth grade at PV,” French said. “He puts in an awful lot of time in the gym working on his game to improve. You’d always find him at open gyms, so it’s really nice to see him win this contest.”

Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.

Text Only
  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

  • TD Club golf A Chris Larick column: TD Club hopes to score

    Though its life was never seriously threatened, the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club has suffered in recent years.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Don A Don McCormack column: A heartfelt plea to curb violence

    Like everyone who loves soccer — and the rest of us whose interest level rises dramatically every four years when the World Cup comes around — Kevin Meier was appalled at the recent attack of soccer referee John Bieniewicz in Michigan by a player that resulted in Bieniewicz tragically dying.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video