In one of two all-WPIAL PIAA semifinals, South Park plays Blackhawk at 7:30 p.m. today at Chartiers Valley High School. South Park (26-2) won the WPIAL championship by defeating Elizabeth Forward, 50-32.
It was a WPIAL championship many expected Blackhawk (27-1) to be hoisting. The Cougars entered the WPIAL playoffs as the No. 1 seed and the only undefeated team in the WPIAL. But Blackhawk was stunned, 78-64, by Elizabeth Forward in the WPIAL semifinals.
Since then the Cougars have won their three PIAA playoff games by an average of 33 points.
The teams previously met in the 2012 WPIAL semifinals, a 66-59 South Park win. This is South Park's first trip to the PIAA semifinals, although coach Reggie Wells coached the South Park boys team in back-to-back PIAA semifinals in 1998-99.
"I am not surprised to be seeing Blackhawk at all," Wells said. "I have seen them over the last couple of years, we know they are legitimate. They are solid. Elizabeth Forward just played a great solid game against them, I knew Blackhawk would regroup."
Blackhawk is led by sophomore point guard Chassidy Omogrosso, averaging 22.4 points per game. The Eagles rely on senior guard Shelby Lindsay and junior forward Halie Torris, who average 17.8 and 15.5 points per game.
"Blackhawk is very skilled," Wells said. "They pass it well, shoot it well and run well. We know what we are getting into."
A year after reaching the PIAA Class AAA semifinals, Chartiers Valley is in the Class AAAA semifinals. The Colts (22-7) moved up a classification and have not skipped a beat. They will play the fifth-place team out of District 3, Cumberland Valley (25-4) at 7 p.m. today at Altoona Area High School.
Chartiers Valley won its first three WPIAL playoff games by a combined nine points before losing to Bethel Park in the WPIAL final.
In the WPIAL final, Chartiers Valley lost its top two scorers for the season, senior guard Mariah Wells and junior guard Jenna Devinney. The team has managed to rally. In the PIAA playoffs, the Colts have defeated Allderdice, Gateway and Mt. Lebanon by double-digit margins. Sophomore guard Alexa Golden scored 23 points in a PIAA quarterfinal victory against Mt. Lebanon.
Seton-LaSalle and Bishop Canevin will meet for the fourth time this season when they face off at 6 p.m. today at Chartiers Valley. The Rebels (27-2) swept the regular-season series against their section rival but it was the Crusaders pulling off the upset in the WPIAL final. Seton-LaSalle is averaging 69.9 points per game; Bishop Canevin is allowing 32.8 points per game. Senior forward Erin Waskowiak is averaging 15.6 points per game for Bishop Canevin; Seton-LaSalle's 6-foot junior forward Naje Gibson is averaging 13.5 points per game.
Gibson is one of the four Seton-LaSalle players 6 feet or taller.
"We kind of expected to see them four times," Bishop Canevin coach Tim Joyce said. "These kids have played against each other and with each other so much growing up. Number one, Seton is so big, and they are talented kids. Their size really makes them dangerous."
WPIAL champion Vincentian Academy (28-1) will meet District 6 powerhouse Bishop Guilfoyle (27-2) at 7 p.m. today at Indiana. The Royals are one step away from the PIAA final for the second consecutive year. A year ago they lost to North Catholic in the PIAA semifinals. Vincentian's only loss was to Class AAAA Gateway in the regular-season finale. Vincentian defeated Serra Catholic, 53-46, to win its second consecutive WPIAL title. Bishop Guilfoyle defeated Serra Catholic, 62-50, in the PIAA second round.
The Marauders, out of Altoona, have won three of the past six PIAA Class A championships and have a runner-up finish in that span. They have won six of their past seven PIAA playoff games against WPIAL opponents, including a win against Vincentian in the 2010 PIAA semifinals, the previous meeting between the two teams.
Vincentian is led by sophomore guard Brenna Wise. She is averaging 22.3 points per game and in a PIAA quarterfinal victory against Kennedy Catholic, she scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
First Published March 19, 2013 4:00 AM