The Dribbler: WPIAL championship weekend his favorite

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Someone once asked The Dribbler what his favorite sporting event was, and the prognosticator extraordinaire didn't shy away from giving an answer.

"Well, I love the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby and the World Cup final," The Dribbler said, "but I just can't put any of those at the top because all of them take place in one day and last no more than a few hours"

The Dribbler then paused and said: "No. 1? Well, that's a no-brainer. The WPIAL basketball championships are unrivaled. I'll take two days of excitement over one any day of the week."

Tonight and tomorrow is a pretty special time for not only The Dribbler, but for many basketball fans in Western Pennsylvania.

Eighty-three days after the high school season tossed up its first jump ball, a select number of players and coaches will sport gold medals around their necks on the Palumbo Center hardwood, bringing pride to their communities and providing themselves with memories for a lifetime.

Before the playoffs began, The Dribbler picked these teams to win championships: For boys, New Castle, Montour, Beaver Falls and Lincoln Park. For girls, Mt. Lebanon, Hopewell, Seton-LaSalle and Vincentian. Five of them will be playing for titles.

The Dribbler went 12-2 last week, lifting his playoff record to 20-8 (.714) and his season record to 87-43 (.669).

Here are his predictions on who will have a golden weekend.

Boys games

(Class AAAA) New Castle vs. Hampton, Saturday, 9 p.m. -- Only one team has tested unbeaten New Castle this season: Hampton. It only makes sense the two play for a third time. Hampton's Ryan Luther has been outstanding all season, but he's saved his best for the playoffs. The Dribbler thinks this will be the most exciting game of the weekend. Winner: New Castle.

(Class AAA) Chartiers Valley vs. Montour, Friday, 9 p.m. -- Both teams are used to the spotlight. Chartiers Valley is in the final for the third time in four years. Montour won the 2011 title, and played in each of the past two PIAA title games. Montour has Devin Wilson, but Chartiers Valley big man Spencer Casson give the Colts the edge. Winner: Chartiers Valley.

(Class AA) Beaver Falls vs. Burrell, Saturday, 1 p.m. -- Burrell has been a great story. The No. 7 Bucs are the lowest seed playing for a championship and won each of their past two games in overtime. But defending champion Beaver Falls is on a different level. Led by Elijah Cottrill, the Tigers have won each of their playoff games by at least 30 points. Winner: Beaver Falls.

(Class A) Vincentian vs. Clairton, Friday, 7 p.m. -- The WPIAL playoffs were gliding along without a big upset, and then, bam, Clairton stunned No. 1 Lincoln Park in the semifinals. No team in the WPIAL fills up the nets like Vincentian (83.6 points per game), but no group of athletes in the WPIAL knows how to win like the Bears. Winner: Clairton.

Girls games

(Class AAAA) Bethel Park vs. Chartiers Valley, Saturday, 7 p.m. -- The Dribbler likes Chartiers Valley coach Spencer Stefko. Not only is he a good coach, but he is one of the more vocal and most quotable in the WPIAL. If Stefko doesn't lose his voice during this game, he'll do it celebrating afterward. Make it two-for-two for Chartiers Valley. Winner: Chartiers Valley.

(Class AAA) South Park vs. Elizabeth Forward, Saturday, 3 p.m. -- South Park's trio of Shelby Lindsay, Halie Torris and Allison McGrath is as good as any in the WPIAL. Elizabeth Forward shocked previously undefeated Blackhawk in the semifinals, but can the Warriors put together two championship performances in a row? Winner: South Park.

(Class AA) Seton-LaSalle vs. Bishop Canevin, Friday, 5 p.m. -- Bishop Canevin could play its best game of the season, get 35 points from Erin Waskowiak and hold Seton-LaSalle to under 50, but you know what? The Crusaders might still lose. The Dribbler says Seton-LaSalle is the class of the WPIAL and believes the Rebels will "three-peat." Winner: Seton-LaSalle.

(Class A) Vincentian vs. Serra Catholic, Saturday, 11 a.m. -- In order to win its third title in four years, Vincentian will need to get past a Serra team that gave the Royals one its stiffest tests when the two met the opening weekend of the season (Vincentian won, 67-59). No other Class A team has defeated Serra, which has won 10 in a row. Winner: Vincentian.

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