A capsule look at the 2014 PIAA boys semifinals

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PIAA boys semifinal forecast

Class AAAA

• Today’s games: Abington (25-5) vs. New Castle (29-0), 7:30 p.m., Chambersburg; Chester (25-5) vs. La Salle College (22-6), 7 p.m., Coatesville.

• The scoop: New Castle is in the semifinals for the second consecutive season with an undefeated record. Last year, the Red Hurricanes lost to Lower Merion. “All summer this is what we’ve been working for,” said guard Anthony Richards. “Winning the WPIAL is great, but everything we’ve done, every workout we’ve had, was for this, to have a chance to win a state championship.” This is the first time in 26 years Abington won a PIAA playoff game and the first time the Ghosts have been to the semifinals since 1975. Abington has talented, good-sized guards in 6-foot-3 Matt Penecale, 6-3 Anthony Lee and 6-1 Amir Hinton. The teams have one common opponent. Abington lost to Lower Merion, 53-42; New Castle beat Lower Merion, 62-59, in double overtime. … Chester is in the semifinals for a state-record 28th time. Two of Chester’s top players are 6-8 forward Tyrell Sturdivant and 6-8 Mahir Johnson (19 ppg), who both transferred from Glasgow, Del.

• Predicted winners: New Castle, Chester.

Class AAA

• Today’s games: Susquehanna Township (22-7) vs. Central Valley (25-3), 7:30 p.m., Altoona; Neumann-Goretti (25-4) vs. Philadelphia Electrical (19-11), 7 p.m., South Philadelphia.

• The scoop: WPIAL champion Central Valley will face a Susquehanna Township team that is led by the Mack brothers. Senior guard Bud Mack averages 18 points and sophomore guard Gabe Mack 11. They have combined for 101 3-pointers. But the team also has some size with 6-6 Quentin Ward, 6-5 Roman Letterlough and 6-4 Joe Marshall. Susquehanna Township most recently made the semifinals in 2008. … Neumann-Goretti won three consecutive PIAA titles from 2010-12. Ja’Quan Newton, a 6-1 guard, is considered the top senior in Pennsylvania by scouting services. He has signed with Miami (Fla.) and averages 21 points a game. He has 1,918 career points. Guard Troy Harper and forward Tony Toplyn have signed with Division I Campbell and 6-5 forward Jamal Custis has signed with Syracuse for football. Electrical has 6-6 James Suber (11 ppg).

• Predicted winners: Susquehanna Township, Neumann-Goretti.

Class AA

• Today’s games: Seton-LaSalle (28-1) vs. Greensburg Central Catholic (25-3), 7:30 p.m., North Allegheny; Constitution (26-5) vs. Wilkes-Barre Meyers (22-7), 7:30 p.m., Parkland.

• The scoop: Seton-LaSalle beat Greensburg Central Catholic in the WPIAL title game. A key to the game will be how well Seton-LaSalle does against Greensburg Central Catholic guard Brian Graytok (16.7 ppg). In the WPIAL title game, Seton-LaSalle’s 6-6 Levi Masua guarded him and Masua’s size bothered Graytok, who scored only nine points. GCC guard Billy Hipp also will be a key. He has averaged 19 points the past six games. Malik White gives Seton-LaSalle an advantage on the inside. … Constitution, the PIAA Class A champ in 2012, has size with 6-6 Ahmad Gilbert (Division I prospect), 6-5 Raheem Liggins and 6-6 Chad Andrews. Constitution creates problems with full-court pressure. For Meyers, Tyriek Steward (17 ppg) is the only player averaging double figures.

• Predicted winners: Seton-LaSalle, Constitution.

Class A

• Today’s games: Lincoln Park (28-1) vs. Bishop Carroll (28-0), 7:30 p.m., Hempfield; St. John Neumann (30-0) vs. Math, Civics & Sciences (14-14), 7 p.m., East Pennsboro.

• The scoop: Bishop Carroll is undefeated, but has to be considered an underdog against Lincoln Park, which has won seven postseason games by an average of 44 points. Lincoln Park beat Bishop Carroll in last year’s quarterfinals, 86-84. Carroll is led by 5-8 guard Brandon Martinazzi and 6-6 Marcus Lee. … Undefeated St. John Neumann is from the Williamsport area and features 6-6 senior forward Alize Johnson, who averages 24 points and 17 rebounds and has a few Division I offers. The team also has 6-8 Nicola Ibe Amanze, who came from Nigeria last year. Guard Richard Allen (12.1 ppg) is the grandson of former Major League Baseball player Dick Allen. MCS has played a tough schedule. Samir Doughty, who transferred from Communications Tech, averages 16.4 points. Mike Watkins, a 6-4 junior, is a Penn State recruit who transferred from Bartram.

• Predicted winners: Lincoln Park, St. John Neumann.


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