Favorites clear for WPIAL girls basketball playoffs but other seeds debatable

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Monday, February 12, 2018 | 5:24 AM


The WPIAL playoff brackets won't be revealed until Tuesday night's pairings meeting, but the No. 1 seeds in girls basketball shouldn't be much of a surprise.

North Allegheny is a lock for the top spot in Class 6A, Vincentian Academy is the favorite in 2A and Winchester Thurston is the obvious No. 1 in A. In Class 5A, Trinity appears as the likely choice, while Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic is all but certain to stand atop the Class 4A bracket with Bishop Canevin the same in 3A.

But after that, there's room to debate.

Here are two views on how the WPIAL girls basketball playoff brackets should be seeded according to Tribune-Review writer Chris Harlan and TribLive High School Sports Network broadcaster Don Rebel.

Class 6A

Don Rebel's bracket

1 North Allegheny (21-0) – BYE

2 Peters Township (18-3) – BYE

3 Bethel Park (16-5) – BYE

4 Norwin (11-8) vs. 13 Pine-Richland (7-13)

5 Mt. Lebanon (11-11) vs. 12 Penn Hills (13-8)

6 Latrobe (15-6) vs. 11 Shaler (10-12)

7 Hempfield (11-10) vs. 10 Seneca Valley (11-9)

8 Butler (13-8) vs. 9 Upper St. Clair (11-9)

Rebel: Bethel Park over Section 3 champ Norwin based on Black Hawks' sweeping Mt. Lebanon while Knights fell to Blue Devils. Plus BP's win last week over 4A's Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic is impressive.

Chris Harlan's bracket

1 North Allegheny (21-0) – BYE

2 Peters Township (18-3) – BYE

3 Bethel Park (16-5) – BYE

4 Norwin (11-8) vs. 13 Pine-Richland (7-13)

5 Mt. Lebanon (11-11) vs. 12 Penn Hills (13-8)

6 Latrobe (15-6) vs. 11 Shaler (10-12)

7 Hempfield (11-10) vs. 10 Seneca Valley (11-9)

8 Butler (13-8) vs. 9 Upper St. Clair (11-9)

Harlan: Latrobe was in position for a higher seed before losing four of its past six games. The losses included 50-45 to Hempfield on Jan. 30. The two teams tied for second in Section 2.

Class 5A

Don Rebel's bracket

1 Trinity (19-3) vs. 16 Uniontown (7-12)

2 Thomas Jefferson (19-3) vs. 15 Plum (6-15)

3 West Allegheny (16-5) vs. 14 Woodland Hills (10-12)

4 Mars (17-4) vs. 13 Montour (9-13)

5 Hampton (17-4) vs. 12 Connellsville (11-10)

6 Chartiers Valley (16-6) vs. 11 Armstrong (15-6)

7 Gateway (19-3) vs. 10 South Fayette (12-7)

8 Oakland Catholic (13-8) vs. 9 Ringgold (16-6)

Rebel: Five very good section champs. It is really tough to begin to rank them, but Trinity's non-section victory over Thomas Jefferson does stand out.

Chris Harlan's bracket

1 Trinity (19-3) vs. 16 Uniontown (7-12)

2 Thomas Jefferson (19-3) vs. 15 Plum (6-15)

3 Hampton (17-4) vs. 14 Woodland Hills (10-12)

4 Mars (17-4) vs. 13 Montour (9-13)

5 West Allegheny (16-5) vs. 12 Connellsville (11-10)

6 Gateway (19-3) vs. 11 Armstrong (15-6)

7 Chartiers Valley (16-6) vs. 10 Ringgold (16-6)

8 Oakland Catholic (13-8) vs. 9 South Fayette (12-7)

Harlan: All four sections had a team reach the WPIAL semifinals last season, a circumstance that could repeat. Seeding Section 4 co-champions Hampton and Mars one spot apart on opposite sides of the bracket seems appropriate. The rivals split their two section games by a combined nine points. But West Allegheny could jump over them if the WPIAL committee decides Section 1 was stronger.

There are four section in 5A, so no byes here.

Class 4A

Don Rebel's bracket

1 Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (18-3) – BYE

2 Blackhawk (17-2) – BYE

3 Beaver (16-5) – BYE

4 Keystone Oaks (17-4) – BYE

5 Central Valley (15-4) vs. 12 Deer Lakes (9-12)

6 Belle Vernon (17-5) vs. 11 Knoch (11-11)

7 Freeport (13-8) vs. 10 Elizabeth Forward (13-7)

8 South Park (13-9) vs. 9 Ambridge (12-10)

Rebel: The co-champs in Section 2 makes a lot of sense with Blackhawk and Beaver having split in the regular season. Central Valley is a strong third team out of that section, but Keystone Oaks earns final bye with second straight Section 3 title.

Chris Harlan's bracket

1 Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (18-3) – BYE

2 Blackhawk (17-2) – BYE

3 Beaver (16-5) – BYE

4 Keystone Oaks (17-4) – BYE

5 Central Valley (15-4) vs. 12 Deer Lakes (9-12)

6 Belle Vernon (17-5) vs. 11 Knoch (11-11)

7 Freeport (13-8) vs. 10 Elizabeth Forward (13-7)

8 South Park (13-9) vs. 9 Ambridge (12-10)

Harlan: After winning 15 in a row to start the season, CWNC has now lost three of its last six. Those losses were to highly ranked Bishop Canevin, Peters Township and Bethel Park, so the team's No. 1 seed isn't in any danger.

Class 3A

Don Rebel's bracket

1 Bishop Canevin (16-4) – BYE

2 East Allegheny (22-0) – BYE

3 Neshannock (18-3) – BYE

4 Mohawk (17-4) – BYE

5 Riverside (13-8) vs. 12 Seton LaSalle (9-13)

6 Charleroi (18-3) vs. 11 Apollo-Ridge (10-11)

7 Avonworth (15-7) vs. 10 South Allegheny (12-8)

8 South Side Beaver (15-6) vs. 9 Laurel (12-10)

Rebel: Mohawk earns a bye in part because of a win over Neshannock in a tough Section 1.

Chris Harlan's bracket

1 Bishop Canevin (16-4) – BYE

2 East Allegheny (22-0) – BYE

3 Neshannock (18-3) – BYE

4 Mohawk (17-4) – BYE

5 Charleroi (18-3) vs. 12 Seton LaSalle (9-13)

6 Avonworth (15-7) vs. 11 Apollo-Ridge (10-11)

7 Riverside (13-8) vs. 10 South Allegheny (12-8)

8 South Side Beaver (15-6) vs. 9 Laurel (12-10)

Harlan: This could be the second year in a row East Allegheny finishes the regular season 22-0 and sees the No. 1 seed awarded to Bishop Canevin, the defending WPIAL champion and PIAA runner-up.

Class 2A

Don Rebel's bracket

1 Vincentian Academy (20-1) – BYE

2 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (19-2) – BYE

3 Chartiers-Houston (16-5) – BYE

4 Serra Catholic (14-6) – BYE

5 Greensburg Central Catholic (12-10) vs. 12 Riverview (11-9)

6 Leechburg (17-4) vs. 11 Fort Cherry (12-9)

7 Washington (14-6) vs. 10 Frazier (13-9)

8 California (13-7) vs. 9 Brentwood (15-6)

Rebel: Section 1 co-champs OLSH and defending champion Chartiers-Houston work nice together in the bottom of the bracket while Section 2 winner Vincentian along with Section 3 co-champs Serra and Greensburg CC fighting on the top half of the bracket.

Chris Harlan's bracket

1 Vincentian Academy (20-1) – BYE

2 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (19-2) – BYE

3 Chartiers-Houston (16-5) – BYE

4 Leechburg (17-4) – BYE

5 Greensburg Central Catholic (12-10) vs. 12 Riverview (11-9)

6 Serra Catholic (14-6) vs. 11 Fort Cherry (12-9)

7 Brentwood (15-6) vs. 10 Frazier (13-9)

8 Washington (14-6) vs. 9 California (13-7)

Harlan: Serra Catholic lost two of its final five section games including a 67-45 loss to Greensburg Central Catholic on Jan. 27. The two finished as co-champions in Section 3, so the WPIAL committee may be reluctant to award one a bye and not the other.

If so, that's Leechburg's gain.

Class A

Don Rebel's bracket

1 Winchester Thurston (16-4) – BYE

2 West Greene (20-1) – BYE

3 Quigley Catholic (13-8) – BYE

4 Sewickley Academy (13-5) – BYE

5 Aquinas Academy (14-5) vs. 12 Mapletown (9-13)

6 St. Joseph (13-9) vs. 11 Cornell (7-14)

7 Avella (12-8) vs. 10 Eden Christian (8-12)

8 Rochester (11-7) vs. 9 Geibel Catholic (9-11)

Rebel: Three section champs as top three seeds is easy. Sewickley Academy earns fourth bye with nonsection victories over both Aquinas Academy and St. Joseph.

Chris Harlan's bracket

1 Winchester Thurston (16-4) – BYE

2 West Greene (20-1) – BYE

3 Quigley Catholic (13-8) – BYE

4 Sewickley Academy (13-5) – BYE

5 Aquinas Academy (14-5) vs. 12 Mapletown (9-13)

6 Rochester (11-7) vs. 11 Eden Christian (8-12)

7 Avella (12-8) vs. 10 Cornell (7-14)

8 St. Joseph (13-9) vs. 9 Geibel Catholic (9-11)

Harlan: There's no debate over No. 1. West Greene's loss was to defending WPIAL champion Winchester Thurston, 58-38, on Jan. 19.

Chris Harlan can be reached at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib. Don Rebel can be reached at drebel@tribweb.com.

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