Top 19 of ’19: Trib HSSN breaks down the top stories of the year — No. 2

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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.

After the season, Johnson was named the Trib HSSN boys basketball Player of the Year.

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. 15 — Worldly results lead to district and state gold

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. 7 — Coaching king hangs up his whistle

No. 6 — Golden run ends

No. 5 — Top cat

No. 4 — He’s back

No. 3 — No slap on the wrist

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