Cager Classic notebook: Ex-Ford City standout returns as coach

Thursday, March 22, 2018 | 11:45 PM

Jason Kerr doesn't remember much about the 2001 Cager Classic, but he still is getting a chance to relive the experience this weekend.

Kerr, the third-year Valley girls coach and the coach of the East girls team, played in the Cager Classic in 2001 after his senior season at Ford City. In fact, he did more than just play, winning East MVP honors after scoring 18 points in a 110-87 loss.

“I just remember practicing and having fun, and then the game itself was a blur,” Kerr said. “We had a lot of friends from Kittanning, and Zach Ogden came and played. It was nice to play with him. It was a good time. I had fun. It was everything it was supposed to be.”

Kerr is the leading 3-point shooter in Ford City history — records he'll hold forever given the school's 2015 merger with Kittanning to form Armstrong. Now he gets the chance to coach in the game he once played in.

“I certainly didn't think it would ever happen, but that's how it goes,” he said. “When they asked me, I was more than happy to help because this is for the kids. Anytime you can help, it's nice to help. It's not about who wins or loses: You get one more chance to be in your community with your family and friends, and playing in a high school gym.”

Fit to be tied?

With its 99-94 victory last season, the East boys broke a tie with the West in the all-time series, now holding an 11-10 edge. The West will attempt to even it up Saturday.

The East girls, meanwhile, hold a 12-9 edge and have won five games in a row, including a 76-52 victory last year.

Home, East home

The West traditionally serves as the home team at the Cager because that's generally the roster that includes Highlands players. But this year, that shifts to the East.

To balance out the rosters, Cager organizers slotted Highlands' Renee Cebula on the East girls team and Highlands' Shawn Erceg, Romello Freeman and Christian Tanilli on the East boys team. That means the East will be the home team for the first time in nearly two decades.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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