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AROUND THE HORN

Perry pounds Poland

BARBERTON — Perry’s girls basketball team pulled away from Poland in a 43-23 win on Tuesday in a Div. II regional semifinal at Barberton High School.

Poland was in the regional for the second time in three years. The Bulldogs reached regional final in 2019.

Perry is in its third straight year at the regional.

The Pirates reached the regional by beating Salem on a last-second buzzer beater on Saturday.

Perry, ranked 12th in Div. II in the last state poll, will meet seventh-ranked Laurel in the regional final at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Laurel beat CVCA 60-40 in the early game at Barberton.

Indian Creek bows out

ZANESVILLE — Indian Creek’s girls basketball team was eliminated in the Div. II regional semifinal with a 57-50 loss to Thornville Sheridan on Tuesday at Zanesville High School.

Indians Creek ends its campaign at 19-4.

Sheridan advances to meet Vinton County for the regional title at 7 p.m. on Friday at Zanesville High School.

Utah schools don’t need to offer girls’ football

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah girl whose football skills won her fame online has lost her court bid to have school districts create football teams for girls.

A federal judge ruled against Sam Gordon on Monday, finding that Utah school districts aren’t legally required to create a separate team because girls who want to play football can play with the teams traditionally filled with boys.

U.S. District Court Judge Howard Nielson acknowledged that schools and coaches could do more to encourage girls to play. But he also acknowledged concerns that without Gordon’s star power there might not be enough girls to keep a league running that would have to be built from the ground up since no other high school in the U.S. has a similar program.

Gordon’s playing videos have racked up millions of views on YouTube since she was 9, but she and other female players argued they were worried about playing with physically larger boys as teenagers.

The case also included testimony about the harassment girls have endured while playing with all-boy teams. Gordon argued plenty of girls were interested in playing, pointing to an all-female league she started with her father six years ago that’s drawn hundreds of girls from the Salt Lake City area. Those numbers show girls want to play and could fill a roster, her lawyers argued.

But U.S. District Court Judge Howard Nielson disagreed. He found that no district policy had discouraged girls from playing, and that any harassment would violate athletic association rules. While schools and coaches could do more to accommodate girls, “the court is not convinced that it is required by the Constitution,” he wrote.

He also found the districts raised significant questions about whether there would truly be enough girls within the district boundaries to build up a large enough team without Gordon, who is now 17 and has appeared at the ESPN awards and in Super Bowl commercials. A smaller team could increase the risk of injury, he found.

The districts were represented by Assistant Utah Attorney General Rachel Terry, who said she was pleased by the ruling and the finding that they did not violate the Equal Protection clause or Title IX.

Pens welcome back fans with 5-2 win

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The arena wasn’t completely full for Pittsburgh’s game against visiting Philadelphia, yet it felt that way to Penguins forward Kasperi Kapanen.

Kapanen scored two goals and the Penguins defeated the Flyers 5-2 on Tuesday night.

The Penguins won in front of their fans for the first time in almost a year, as state coronavirus restrictions were eased at the beginning of the month and spectators were allowed into the building. Penguins’ players raised their sticks and saluted the fans in attendance following the win.

“It was unbelievable,” Kapanen said. “It’s been a while since we played in front of fans. Even though there were only 2,800, it felt like there was 20,000. It feels like things are kind of going back to normal, so it was fun to see.”

Bryan Rust scored his seventh, and Cody Ceci and Mike Matheson added goals for Pittsburgh, which has won five of its last seven. Ceci’s goal came just 1:08 after Philadelphia’s Joel Farabee’s second goal made it a 3-2 game. Tristan Jarry stopped 40 shots.

The Penguins, who are tied for the most home wins since the beginning of the 2019-20 season, rebounded from one of their worst performances of the season, a shutout loss to the New York Islanders on Sunday.

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