A capsule look at the 2014 PIAA girls basketball semifinals

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PIAA girls semifinal forecast

Class AAAA

• Today’s games: Spring-Ford (25-5) vs. North Allegheny (25-2), 6 p.m., Chambersburg; West Chester Rustin (24-6) vs. Cumberland Valley (26-5), 7 p.m., Warwick.

• The scoop: Spring-Ford, a suburban Philadelphia school, is the defending PIAA champion and gives up only 35.8 points a game. Spring-Ford has Sammy Stipa and Shelby Mueller, who were both all-state last season. Stipa is a Lafayette recruit. North Allegheny hasn’t really been tested yet in the PIAA playoffs, winning three games by an average of 21 points. North Allegheny is led by Devvin LaBarge (11.5 ppg) and Taylor Brennan (11.1). … Cumberland Valley lost in last year’s championship to Spring-Ford. Cumberland Valley is led by 6-footers Maddie Torresin (15 ppg) and Kelly Jekot (14 ppg). Rustin has two 1,000-point scorers in Adashia Franklyn and Noelle Powell.

• Predicted winners: Spring-Ford, West Chester Rustin.

Class AAA

• Today’s games: Palmyra (25-4) vs. Blackhawk (26-2), 6 p.m., Altoona; Archbishop Wood (24-3) vs. Holy Redeemer (23-5), 6 p.m., Parkland.

• The scoop: Palmyra is trying to make it to the championship for the first time since 1985. Blackhawk won PIAA titles in 1999 and 2000. Palmyra must defend the 3-pointer. Blackhawk’s Chassidy Omogrosso (21.8 ppg), a Duquesne recruit, has 69 3-pointers and Bridgette Shaffer (10.9) has 61. Blackhawk’s Halle Denman averages 10.9 points and Courtney Vannoy 11.8. Kristen Smoluk, one of Palmyra’s top players, separated a shoulder in the PIAA quarterfinals. Palmyra guard Carly Richardson is a Bucknell recruit. … Archbishop Wood is the No. 1 team in the state. Holy Redeemer’s Alexis Lewis, sister of Penn State football receiver Eugene Lewis, averages 27 points a game.

• Predicted winners: Blackhawk, Archbishop Wood.

Class AA

• Today’s games: Seton-LaSalle (25-4) vs. Burrell (28-1), 6 p.m., North Allegheny; Neumann-Goretti (28-0) vs. Dunmore (27-2), 7:30 p.m., Bethlehem Freedom.

• The scoop: Seton-LaSalle defeated Burrell, 55-34, in the WPIAL title game. For Burrell to have a chance, it must handle Seton-LaSalle’s pressing defense better than the previous meeting. Seton-LaSalle is in the semifinals for the fourth consecutive season. … Neumann-Goretti is the No. 1-ranked team in the state. Two of Goretti’s top players are Ciani Cryor and A.J. Timbers, who transferred from Prep Charter. The team also has one of the biggest players in the country at 6-9 Felicia Aiyotan, who is from Nigeria and comes off the bench. After Neumann-Goretti crushed St. Basil, 64-29, in the quarterfinals, St. Basil coach Terry Mancini said to the Montgomery News, “They are the best AAU team in the state.”

• Predicted winners: Seton-LaSalle, Neumann-Goretti.

Class A

• Today’s games: Vincentian (24-3) vs. Bishop Guilfoyle (23-5), 6 p.m., Hempfield; Old Forge (22-3) vs. Phil-Mont Christian (24-4), 6 p.m., Bethlehem Freedom.

• The scoop: Vincentian is trying to get to the championship for the second consecutive season. Bishop Guilfoyle has been in a title game 12 times and won six. Guilfoyle is talented, but young. Three freshmen and a sophomore start and the leading scorers are 5-8 freshman guard Lili Benzel and 5-5 freshman guard Macy Adams. … Old Forge is a balanced team with four players averaging between 8 and 13 points. Senior forward Lauren Carey leads the team at 13 points a game. Phil-Mont Christian has a size advantage and features the Goodman sisters. Jana Goodman, a 6-foot forward, had 17 points and 13 rebounds in the quarterfinals while Tracey Goodman, a 6-3 center, had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

• Predicted winners: Vincentian, Old Forge.


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