District Notebook: Playoffs approach for local basketball teams

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The basketball playoffs for most of the district conferences have begun, and a number of district teams play this weekend.

Small-college basketball is not much different from Division I in that, for the most part, teams attempt to qualify for a national tournament through various conference, regional and district playoff games.

Here is a sampling of some of the teams involved in playoff games:

The La Roche women's team is one of the best in the area, as the Lady Redhawks finished 22-1 overall and 17-1 in the AMCC. As a result, they play host to the conference tournament this weekend.

La Roche plays No. 5 seed Mount Aloysius (17-9, 11-7) at 6 p.m. today in one semifinal; No. 2 seed Medaille (16-9, 14-4) plays No. 3 Penn State Behrend (16-9, 13-5) in the other..

The championship game is at 3 p.m. Saturday.

• The Point Park men's and women's teams are in action this weekend in the KIAC tournament. The men (14-10, 8-7), who are the No. 5 seed, will play at No. 4 seed Cincinnati Christian (15-15, 9-6) at 3 p.m. Saturday in a quarterfinal.

The top-seeded Pioneer women (22-6, 11-4) face No. 8 seed Carlow (14-14, 5-10) at 2 p.m. Saturday at CCAC's south campus in West Mifflin.

• No. 3 seed Thiel, No. 5 Washington & Jefferson and No. 1 Saint Vincent, along with No. 2 Thomas More, advanced to the PAC tournament semifinals Thursday night.

• The women's PAC tournament semifinals and finals are this weekend at top-seeded Thomas More in Crestview Hills, Ky. Washington & Jefferson (19-7, 13-5) is the No. 3 seed and plays No. 2 Saint Vincent (20-6, 15-3) at 6 p.m. today in the first semifinal and No. 4 Waynesburg (14-12, 12-6) plays the host team in the other.

• The Community College of Beaver County men's team finished the regular season 23-0 and plays host to conference semifinals and finals Saturday and Sunday. All games are at the Athletics and Events Center -- also known as the Beaver Dome -- and CCBC will play at 2 p.m. Saturday. If they win, they will play at the same time Sunday.

CCBC is ranked No. 1 in NJCAA Division II. The Titans feature one of Division II's leaders in field-goal percentage in Bernard Francis, who is shooting 66 percent (113 of 171) from the floor and averaging 12.6 points per game.

The Titans lead Division II in scoring (107.9 ppg) and have scored more than 130 points five times, including a season-high 148 in a win against Pennsylvania Highlands Junior College.

• The PSAC tournaments do not begin until next Saturday, as every team has two conference games remaining.

Small-college success

One thing that makes some of the Olympic sports fun to follow is that the smaller-college wrestlers, swimmers and track and field athletes can compete with athletes from traditional powerhouses and have success.

If a Division II basketball team beats a Division I basketball team, it is a huge deal, but in wrestling and swimming, small-college individuals and even teams often beat more renowned counterparts.

This week's example comes from wrestling, as Edinboro sophomore Mitchell Port beat No. 2 Iowa's Mark Ballweg in the 141-pound weight class in a dual meet Saturday. It was Ballweg's second loss of the season. Port (26-3) has won 11 consecutive matches.

Port is No. 3 and No. 5 in the two major polls and Ballweg is No.4 and No. 6. Port was named EWL wrestler of the week.

PSAC track and field

The PSAC indoor track and field championships begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Edinboro and end Sunday afternoon.

Shippensburg has won the men's title the past two years and has won five titles since 2002 when the event began. Lock Haven also has won five titles, and the two are expected to compete for the title again this year.

Shippensburg has won three women's titles in a row and will battle Slippery Rock, which won the title in 2009 and finished second last year, for the championship.

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Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com and Twitter @paulzeise.


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