Much like a little kid writing a Christmas list to send to Santa Claus, The Dribbler opened up his notebook last night and scribbled down what he is looking forward to seeing this weekend in Hershey at the PIAA basketball championships.
Will this be a golden year for the WPIAL girls? The WPIAL has never had three girls teams win PIAA championships in the same year. It's possible that South Park, Bishop Canevin and Vincentian might pull off the unprecedented trifecta this season.
Can the WPIAL boys end their championship drought? No WPIAL boys team has won a PIAA title since South Fayette and Sewickley Academy did it in 2010. The past two seasons, WPIAL squads went 0-7.
Will The Dribbler make a stop at Chocolate World? Chances are quite a few fans will head on over to take the chocolate tour. When The Dribbler was there a few years ago, he spent $20 on a personalized candy bar he has yet to eat. Do you think it's still edible?
And last but not least ... The Chester cheerleaders. There are cheerleaders, and then there are the Chester cheerleaders, whose "stomp" routines are almost as legendary as the school's basketball success.
Speaking of success, The Dribbler went 8-3 in his quarterfinal picks. That increased his postseason mark to 45-16 (.737) and his season record to 112-51 (.687).
Here are his PIAA championship picks.
Lower Merion vs. Chester (Class AAAA, 8 p.m., Saturday) -- Sometimes The Dribbler uses unconventional wisdom to pick winners. Kobe Bryant went to Lower Merion. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan went to Chester. The Lakers might not make the NBA playoffs. The Badgers could make a long run in the NCAA tournament. Thus ... Winner: Chester.
Archbishop Carroll vs. Imhotep Charter (Class AAA, 8 p.m., today) -- Imhotep Charter won the Class AA championship the past two seasons, beating WPIAL teams both times (Greensburg Central Catholic in 2011 and Beaver Falls in 2012). Now in Class AAA, Imhotep faces a familiar foe from District 12. Winner: Imhotep Charter.
Beaver Falls vs. Holy Cross (Class AA, 2 p.m., Saturday) -- Holy Cross center Josh Kosin is the school's all-time leading scorer. Quick: Who is the all-time leading scorer in Beaver Falls history? Answer: Lance Jeter. Beaver Falls won't have Jeter in this one, but there's something special about this group of Tigers, who will show it once again. Winner: Beaver Falls.
Johnsonburg vs. Vaux (Class A, 2 p.m., today) -- The Dribbler is confused as to how to pronounce Vaux. Does it rhyme with box? Or is the "X" silent? Regardless, the Cougars have five-star recruit Rysheed Jordan, who averages 25 points per game. Having seen Jordan play, this is an easy pick. Winner: Vaux.
Cumberland Valley vs. Spring-Ford (Class AAAA, 6 p.m., today) -- While discussing this game with a friend the other day, The Dribbler heard one of the worst jokes ever. It went like this: What's the opposite of an Autumn Chevy? A Spring Ford. Awful. Spring-Ford is pretty darn good, though. Winner: Spring-Ford.
South Park vs. Bethlehem Catholic (Class AAA, 6 p.m., Saturday) -- Just in case someone is upset at one of these picks, The Dribbler is thinking about asking South Park coach Reggie Wells and his son, Reggie Jr., to be his bodyguards this weekend. No one would mess with The Dribbler then. No one will mess with these Eagles, either. Winner: South Park.
Bishop Canevin vs. York Catholic (Class AA, Noon, today) -- How good is York Catholic's program? Well, the Irish are in the PIAA finals for the seventh time in eight seasons. Last year, they were defeated by Seton-LaSalle. This year, they will win their fourth title during their impressive stretch. Bishop Canevin has been great, but ... Winner: York Catholic.
Vincentian vs. Tri-Valley (Class A, Noon, Saturday) -- Beating Tri-Valley will be a tall task for Vincentian. How tall? Well, Tri-Valley is led by Tara Nahodil, a 6-foot-4 senior center who is headed to Seton Hall. The Bulldogs beat two-time defending champion Steelton-Highspire in the quarterfinals and then won by 37 points in the semifinals. Winner: Tri-Valley.fumbler