2012-13 PIAA Girls Basketball Playoffs Preview
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Defending champion: Archbishop Carroll.
The scoop: Archbishop Carroll made the PIAA tournament as the third-place team from the Philadelphia Catholic League. Archbishop Carroll has Drexel recruit Sarah Curran. ... Cardinal O'Hara features four-star player Shanice Johnson, a Delaware recruit. She is one of two Division I recruits for O'Hara. Lisa Mintzer has signed with La Salle. ... Mt. Lebanon, which lost in the WPIAL finals, is trying to make it to the title game for the sixth year in a row. The Blue Devils are 3-2 in the five previous championships. ... Bethel Park won the WPIAL championship, but certainly didn't get an easy draw in this tournament. The Black Hawks must play Mt. Lebanon in what could be considered the best first-round matchup. The two teams split two games during the regular season. ... A WPIAL team has made it to the title game 17 times in the past 24 seasons.
History lesson: Twenty years ago, coach Suzie McConnell-Serio guided Oakland Catholic to the school's first PIAA title as the Eagles defeated Downingtown, 57-53. Only nine years before that, McConnell-Serio won the first PIAA Class AAAA girls championship as a player when she led Seton-LaSalle to a 55-53 victory against Strath Haven.
Defending champion: Archbishop Wood.
The scoop: Villa Maria of Erie made it to the Class AA championship game four times in the past six seasons, but moved up to AAA this season. Villa Maria features Karlee McBride, an Indiana University recruit who surpassed 1,000 career points in the first game of the season. Her sister, Kayla, is a starter at Notre Dame. ... Villa Maria lost to Franklin, 48-47, in the District 10 championship game. Franklin junior Angelina Starr already has more than 1,000 career points. ... Archbishop Wood is trying to become only the second school in PIAA history to win four consecutive girls championships. Allentown Central Catholic won four from 2001-04. ... Archbishop Wood lost to Cardinal O'Hara, 31-25, in the Philadelphia Catholic League championship. ... Palmyra is undefeated (28-0) and won the first District 3 championship in school history. ... The most interesting first-round game could be Villa Maria vs. Hopewell. Villa Maria has McBride, but Hopewell has standout Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, a University of Maryland recruit.
History lesson: Twenty years ago, the North Catholic girls defeated Bethlehem Catholic, 62-42, to win the PIAA title and finish off one of the most dominating postseason runs by any team in WPIAL history. The Trojanettes won their PIAA playoff games by an average of 30.2 points and their WPIAL games by an average of 35. Jackie Porac scored 20 points in the final against Bethlehem Catholic.
Defending champion: Seton-LaSalle.
The scoop: Seton-LaSalle was the definite favorite to win the PIAA title -- until it was upset by Bishop Canevin in the WPIAL title game. But don't be surprised if the Rebels end up winning a second consecutive PIAA title. What has hurt Seton-LaSalle some is that starting point guard Cassidy Walsh (Duquesne University recruit) is not 100 percent after returning from a stress fracture in her foot. ... Blairsville is 24-1, won its first District 6 championship and 5-11 sophomore Chelsey Koren scored 23 points in the title game. ... In the eastern region, York Catholic is 24-1 and won its eighth consecutive District 3 championship. ... A WPIAL team has made it to the title game only five times in the past 22 seasons.
History lesson: In 1990, Aliquippa, led by 2,000-point scorers Carrie Bordas and Mona Gaffney, won its second consecutive PIAA title with an 89-62 victory against Camp Hill Trinity. Aliquippa won its PIAA games that year by an average of 29.4 points and its WPIAL games by an average of 27.
Defending champion: Steelton-Highspire.
The scoop: Steelton-Highspire is the two-time defending champion and features 5-9 senior guard Malia Tate-DeFreitas, who is now the third-leading scorer in Pennsylvania girls basketball history with 3,272 points. She has a chance to catch Monessen's Gina Naccarato, who is second with 3,364. Mount Carmel's Maria Fantanarose is first with 3,823. DeFreitas, who has signed with NCAA Division I Hampton University, is averaging 35 points this season. ... North Catholic lost to Steel-High in last year's title game. ... Bishop Guilfoyle is a team to watch in the western region. It has played in the title game four of the past six seasons. ... In the eastern region, District 11 champ Tri-Valley features Tara Nahodil, a Seton Hall recruit. ... Since the PIAA started Class A girls championships in 1978, a WPIAL team has made it to the title game only eight times.
History lesson: This is the 30-year anniversary of Mount Alvernia's perfect season. Mount Alvernia won WPIAL and PIAA titles and finished with a 31-0 record. The Lions defeated Camp Hill Trinity, 78-52, in the PIAA title game. Mount Alvernia had two future Division I college players -- Maureen "Mo" Conley (St. John's) and Karen Hall (Nevada Las Vegas).
First Published March 8, 2013 12:00 am