WPIAL boys basketball semifinals at a glance

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Class AAAA

Wednesday's games: New Castle (24-0) vs. Kiski Area (17-5), 8 p.m., North Allegheny; Hampton (21-3) vs. North Allegheny (21-3), 8 p.m., Chartiers Valley

Leading scorers: Malik Hooker, New Castle, 23.5; Ryan Luther, Hampton, 22.6; Mike Simmons, Kiski Area, 21.3; Joe Brungo, Kiski Area, 15.6.

The scoop: Hooker is the leader for New Castle, but senior guard Anthony Richards also is a big factor. He set the school single-season record for 3-pointers in the quarterfinals and now has 87. Stew Allen has scored in double figures for New Castle five of the past six games. ... This is the second consecutive year Hampton will play North Allegheny in the semifinals at Chartiers Valley. Hampton's Luther will undoubtedly be a key, but Hampton beat North Allegheny without Luther when he was out with an injured ankle, and Hampton also lost to North Allegheny when Luther played. The play of Hampton's guards against North Allegheny's pressure will be key, but so will North Allegheny's outside shooting. North Allegheny has had five different players score in double figures in the first two playoff games. North Allegheny has played in the WPIAL final only twice in school history.

Class AAA

Today's games: Chartiers Valley (23-1) vs. Uniontown (21-1), 8 p.m., Baldwin; Central Valley (20-3) vs. Thomas Jefferson (22-2), 8 p.m., Chartiers Valley.

Leading scorers: Matty McConnell, Chartiers Valley, 22.2; Jordan Pratt, Uniontown, 20.2; Charlie Scharbo, Thomas Jefferson, 17.0; Jerrad Tuite, Chartiers Valley, 16.3; Joe Campbell, Uniontown, 15.5.

The scoop: Chartiers Valley and Uniontown average 74 points a game. McConnell and Tuite are cousins who have raised the level of their games in recent weeks. McConnell, a junior guard, has averaged 28 points over the past seven games to raise his average three points. Tuite has averaged 18 points over the past six to raise his average two points. Uniontown will try to make the title game for the first time since 2002. ... Matt Kline is a 6-7 senior center for Central Valley, but Thomas Jefferson has some physical players on the inside who could give Kline trouble. Thomas Jefferson has made it to the title game only once (1988) in school history. This is Central Valley's fourth year of existence.

Class AA

Wednesday's games: Seton-LaSalle (23-1) vs. Beaver Falls (18-6), 8 p.m., West Allegheny; Greensburg Central Catholic (21-2) vs. Aliquippa (18-5), 8 p.m., Baldwin.

Leading scorers: Brian Graytok, Greensburg Central Catholic, 17.6; Dale Clancy, Seton-LaSalle, 15.6.

The scoop: Beaver Falls is the two-time defending WPIAL champ. The Tigers have a young team that uses three freshmen. Seton-LaSalle is senior-dominated, and the Rebels have an edge with Clancy, one of the best point guards in Class AA. Seton-LaSalle will try to reach the title game for the first time since 2000. ... Greensburg Central Catholic is a well-rounded team that averages 71 points a game. The Centurions must stop any "runs" by Aliquippa. For example, Aliquippa outscored Avonworth, 37-19, in the fourth quarter in the quarterfinals.

Class A

Today's games: Lincoln Park (23-1) vs. Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (15-9), 8 p.m., Montour; Vincentian (22-2) vs. Monessen (19-5), 6 p.m., Montour.

Leading scorers: Maverick Rowan, Lincoln Park, 24.8; Ryan Wolf, Vincentian, 24.4; Clintell Gillaspie, Monessen, 18.4; Dominic Robb, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, 17.5; Elijah Minnie, Lincoln Park, 15.7; Javon Brown, Monessen, 14.3.

The scoop: Robb is a 6-6 center for North Catholic, but Lincoln Park has 6-9 Minnie, 6-7 Rowan and 6-7 Ryan Skovranko. This is the sixth year in a row North Catholic has reached the semifinals. ... Monessen has won 16 of 17 with the only loss coming to Hempfield. This could be high-scoring game. Ballhandling and controlling Vincentian's dribble penetration will be keys for Monessen.


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