Top 19 of ’19: Trib HSSN breaks down the top stories of the year — No. 2
Monday, December 30, 2019 | 6:07 PM
The 2019 high school sports season is nearly in the books.
While we anxiously look ahead to 2020, let’s reflect on the district high school sports scene over the last 12 months.
Here is a look back at the top 19 stories from around the WPIAL in 2019.
HSSN Top 19 in ’19: No. 2 — No return to the Moon for Puff
The Donovan “Puff” Johnson story was a roller coaster of emotions in a short period of time.
The up-and-down ride began in early March when Moon lost a big lead in the WPIAL Class 5A boys basketball championship game only to regain the advantage with under a half minute left. Andrew Recchia hit a last-second 3-pointer as Mars delivered the dagger in a heartbreaking loss for the Tigers.
Three weeks later, though, Moon was on top of the world after beating Mars in the state semifinals, then stunning Archbishop Wood in the PIAA 5A finals to win a state championship thanks in large part to the play of the ‘junior’ Johnson.
Three months later, it was determined Johnson had used up his four years of high school eligibility and was ruled ineligible for what was supposed to be his senior season at Moon in the 2019-20 campaign.
In August, Johnson and his family moved to Arizona in part because Donovan’s older brother Cameron plays for the Phoenix Suns. Puff enrolled at national power Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix to play this winter.
Last month, before his season began, Johnson announced he would be attending North Carolina to play his college basketball for the Tar Heels.
Here’s a look at the rest of the top stories of the year:
No. 19 — Big Ben strikes often
No. 18 — Near perfect on the pitch
No. 17 — Five golden rings
No. 16 — Bucs title run is now a teenager
No. 14 — Black out
No. 13 — Big time ballers
No. 12 — Four decade wait is over
No. 11 — Fight for survival
No. 10 — A Crummie ending
No. 9 — Swimmer breaks national mark
No. 8 — PIAA to the rescue
No. 6 — Golden run ends
No. 5 — Top cat
No. 4 — He’s back
No. 3 — No slap on the wrist
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.
More Basketball• Butler, Ringgold boys step up in playoff opener to top Ambridge
• Belle Vernon boys shake off slow start, Derry in 1st-round victory
• High school roundup for Feb. 19, 2020: After slow start, Blackhawk rolls Elizabeth Forward
• Sheldon Cox leads New Castle to WPIAL 1st-round win against Mt. Pleasant
• East Allegheny girls cruise past Charleroi