WPIAL Quarterfinals Preview: Boys Basketball

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Saturday's games: New Castle (23-0) vs. Bethel Park at Ambridge, 3 p.m.; Kiksi Area (16-5) vs. Gateway (14-9) at Plum, 2:30 p.m.; Hampton (20-3) vs. Franklin Regional (16-6) at Penn Hills, 1 p.m.; North Allegheny (20-3) vs. Hempfield (21-2) at Penn Hills, 2:30 p.m.

Leading scorers: Kason Harrell, Hempfield, 23.5; Malik Hooker, New Castle, 23.6; Ryan Luther, Hampton, 22.4; Mike Simmons, Kiski Area, 20.5; Delvon Randall, Gateway, 16.9; Matt Renzi, Franklin Regional, 16.2; Joe Mascaro, Bethel Park, 15.8; Joe Brungo, Kiski Area, 15.5.

The scoop: For Bethel Park to stay close, the Black Hawks must handle New Castle's pressure. ... Section 1 has made a postseason impact for the first time in a while with two teams (Kiski Area and Hempfield) in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010. Norwin in 2008 was the last Section 1 team to make the semifinals. ... Kiski Area has won eight of nine, but if the Cavaliers are to make the semifinals for only the third time in school history, they must at least hold their own in rebounding. ... Franklin Regional is trying to make the semifinals for the first time since 1997. As in many games, 6-8 Ryan Luther could be the difference for Hampton. ... Hempfield has a size advantage against North Allegheny, but Hempfield's ability to deal with North Allegheny's pressure defense could be the key. North Allegheny's leading scorer, Cole Costantino (12.8 ppg) didn't play in the first round because of an injury and is questionable.


Tonight's games: Chartiers Valley (22-1) vs Mars (15-8) at West Allegheny, 8 p.m.; Elizabeth Forward (20-3) vs. Uniontown (20-1) at Charleroi, 8 p.m.; Central Valley (19-3) vs. Montour (16-7) at West Allegheny, 8 p.m.; Thomas Jefferson (21-2) vs. Blackhawk (12-11) at North Allegheny, 8 p.m.

Leading scorers: Matty McConnell, Chartiers Valley, 21.8; Dustin Sleva, Montour, 21.0; Jordan Pratt, Uniontown, 20.6; Owen Nearhoof, Mars, 19.0; Charlie Scharbo, Thomas Jefferson, 16.6; John Castello, Mars, 16.5; Chase Migliore, Blackhawk, 15.1.

The scoop: Chartiers Valley set a WPIAL playoff record with 21 3-pointers in the first round. Mars has to hope the Colts don't shoot as well this time. Mars must also limit turnovers. A win would put Chartiers Valley into a semifinal game (AAAA or AAA) for the seventh time in eight years. ... Elizabeth Forward is trying to make the semifinals for the first time in school history. The Warriors face a Uniontown team that averages 73 points. Uniontown has only two seniors on its roster. ... Montour has been in the semifinals three consecutive seasons. Central Valley is trying to make the semifinals for the first time in its four years as a school. ... Thomas Jefferson has a little bit of a size advantage against Blackhawk, but guard play for both teams will be key. Blackhawk has followed its past four wins with a loss. Blackhawk defeated Knoch in the first round.


Saturday's games: Seton-LaSalle (22-1) vs. Summit Academy (16-5) at Plum, 1 p.m.; Beaver Falls (17-6) vs. Neshannock (18-5) at Ambridge, noon; Greensburg Central Catholic (20-2) vs. Quaker Valley (21-2) at Peters Township, 1:30 p.m.; Aliquippa (17-5) vs. Avonworth (17-5) at North Allegheny, 1:30 p.m.

Leading scorers: Dasonte White, Summit Academy, 20.4; Brian Graytok, Greensburg Central Catholic, 17.6; Ernie Burkes, Neshannock, 17.3; Devin Montgomery, Summit Academy, 17.3; Matt McKinney, Neshannock, 16.6; Dale Clancy, Seton-LaSalle, 15.5.

The scoop: Both Seton-LaSalle and Summit Academy have talented guards, but Seton-LaSalle has an edge on the inside with 6-4 Malik White and 6-6 Levi Masua. White didn't play in Seton-LaSalle's first game because of a suspension. ... This is the third meeting between Neshannock and Beaver Falls and Neshannock won the first two, 65-61 and 58-55. Beaver Falls has been to the semifinals nine times in the past 12 seasons. ... Could Greensburg Central Catholic and Quaker Valley be high scoring? Greensburg Central averages 72 points and Quaker Valley 71. ... Will one of the best seasons in Avonworth history continue? The Antelopes last made the semifinals in 1993.


The games: Lincoln Park (22-1) vs. Western Beaver (15-6) at Ambridge, 8 p.m.; Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (14-9) vs. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (18-5) at Cornell, 8 p.m.; Monessen (18-5) vs. Wilkinsburg (13-7) at Baldwin, 8 p.m.; Vincentian (21-2) vs. Clairton (10-6) at West Allegheny, 6:15 p.m.

Leading scorers: Nick Miller, Western Beaver, 30.1; Cameron Johnson, OLSH, 27.8; Ryan Wolf, Vincentian, 25.3; Maverick Rowan, Vincentian, 24.3; Isaiah Pete, Wilkinsburg, 20.3; Clintell Gillaspie, 18.1; Dom Robb, North Catholic, 18.0; Elijah Minnie, Lincoln Park, 15.8.

The scoop: Western Beaver has the WPIAL's leading scorer in Miller, but the Golden Beavers have been blown out twice by Lincoln Park -- 92-57 and 101-50. Lincoln Park's Rowan made 52 consecutive free throws at one point. ... OLSH has a talented point guard in Johnson, but Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic has an edge inside with the 6-6 Robb. ... Monessen is the only team to beat Class AAA Uniontown this season and Monessen also beat Wilkinsburg, 73-51, earlier this season. Monessen has won 15 of 16 and the only loss was to Class AAAA Hempfield. ... Vincentian beat Clairton in last year's title game. How well Clairton deals with Vincentian's press will be key to the game.

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