Who draws the No. 1 seed: Central Catholic, Mt. Lebanon or Woodland Hills?

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Monday, February 12, 2018 | 3:33 AM


The WPIAL basketball steering committee, a 15-person panel chaired by Hampton athletic director Bill Cardone, will gather Monday to seed playoff brackets.

The committee members will discuss all six classifications at length in an hours-long process. Their work won’t be revealed until the WPIAL holds its annual pairing meeting Tuesday night in Green Tree.

To foreshadow what those brackets might look like, Tribune-Review writer Chris Harlan and Triblive High School Sports Network broadcaster Don Rebel set out to create consensus brackets of their own. After a longer-than-expected debate over who should be No. 1 in Class 6A boys, they abandoned that idea.

Instead, here are two unique views on how the WPIAL boys basketball playoff brackets should be seeded.

Class 6A

Don Rebel’s bracket

1 Central Catholic (13-8) – BYE

2 Mount Lebanon (19-3) – BYE

3 Woodland Hills (19-3) – BYE

4 Pine-Richland (17-5) – BYE

5 Fox Chapel (17-4) vs. 12 Upper St. Clair (11-11)

6 Penn Hills (19-3) vs. 11 Bethel Park (12-9)

7 Butler (17-4) vs. 10 Latrobe (14-7)

8 Canon-McMillan (19-2) vs. 9 Seneca Valley (14-8)

Rebel: Wow! One of the toughest brackets I’ve worked on in years because all of these teams have a legit shot to win it all. In the end, my feeling that Section 1 from top to bottom was a tad better than Section 3 from top to bottom fueled my pick of Central Catholic at No. 1 and Pine-Richland at No. 4. You can’t ignore the fact the defending champion Rams are just now playing with their full squad.

There may be a lot of complaining in this bracket, but the bottom line is you have to beat three very good teams to win gold. This bracket starting with the quarterfinals will be tremendous to watch.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

1 Woodland Hills (19-3) – BYE

2 Mt. Lebanon (19-3) – BYE

3 Central Catholic (13-8) – BYE

4 Pine-Richland (17-5) – BYE

5 Fox Chapel (17-4) vs. 12 Upper St. Clair (11-11)

6 Penn Hills (19-3) vs. 11 Bethel Park (12-9)

7 Butler (17-4) vs. 10 Latrobe (14-7)

8 Canon-McMillan (19-2) vs. 9 Seneca Valley (14-8)

Harlan: This is the toughest bracket this year. The WPIAL basketball committee could make a convincing argument to award the top seed to any of the three section champions: Central Catholic, Mt. Lebanon or Woodland Hills. In some order, they should be seeded 1, 2 and 3. All three will earn a bye. My pick is the Wolverines, who reached the WPIAL semifinals last season and fought their way to the top of a very tough Section 3.

As a two-time defending WPIAL champion, Pine-Richland is the second-place team that deserves the fourth bye. Eighth seems awfully low for a two-loss Canon-McMillan team that was ranked No. 1 not long ago, but this 6A field is just that deep.

Class 5A

Don Rebel’s bracket

1 Mars (17-4) – BYE

2 Franklin Regional (18-4) – BYE

3 Highlands (16-4) – BYE

4 McKeesport (14-7) vs. 13 Armstrong (8-13)

5 Trinity (17-4) vs. 12 Greensburg-Salem (11-10)

6 Moon (17-5) vs. 11 Albert Gallatin (12-10)

7 Laurel Highlands (13-8) vs. 10 Hampton (10-12)

8 Gateway (11-10) vs. 9 West Allegheny (10-11)

Rebel: Big non-section victory for Franklin Regional over McKeesport last week. First off, kudos to both teams for playing the game since there have been teams that have bailed out of scheduled late non-section games for fear they may play that team in the playoffs.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

1 Mars (17-4) – BYE

2 Highlands (16-4) – BYE

3 Franklin Regional (18-4) – BYE

4 McKeesport (14-7) vs. 13 Armstrong (8-13)

5 Trinity (17-4) vs. 12 Greensburg-Salem (11-10)

6 Moon (17-5) vs. 11 Albert Gallatin (12-10)

7 West Allegheny (10-11) vs. 10 Gateway (11-10)

8 Laurel Highlands (13-8) vs. 9 Hampton (10-12)

Harlan: Mars is the clear No. 1 in a bracket that’s more straightforward than 6A. Highlands and Franklin Regional tied for the Section 3 title after they split their two-game section series. Highlands won the most recent matchup 87-68 on Jan. 23. That was my tiebreaker there, despite FR’s win over McKeesport.

One debate will be where to seed Moon? The defending champion split with Mars and West Allegheny, defeated Franklin Regional by four and lost to Trinity by one. Sixth seems right.

Class 4A

Don Rebel’s bracket

1 Quaker Valley (20-0) – BYE

2 New Castle (16-4) – BYE

3 Belle Vernon (17-5) – BYE

4 Indiana (17-4) – BYE

5 Central Valley (14-6) vs. 12 Deer Lakes (11-9)

6 Ambridge (12-9) vs. 11 South Park (12-9)

7 South Fayette (14-7) vs. 10 Freeport (15-5)

8 Valley (12-4) vs. 9 Uniontown (13-8)

Rebel: Section 2 earned the top four seeds a year ago (New Castle, Quaker Valley, Beaver Falls, Central Valley), but while that section is still very competitive, it has not earned that rare and unique consideration this season.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

1 Quaker Valley (20-0) – BYE

2 New Castle (16-4) – BYE

3 Indiana (17-4) – BYE

4 Belle Vernon (17-5) – BYE

5 Central Valley (14-6) vs. 12 Deer Lakes (11-9)

6 Ambridge (12-9) vs. 11 South Park (12-9)

7 Valley (12-4) vs. 10 Uniontown (13-8)

8 South Fayette (14-7) vs. 9 Freeport (15-5)

Harlan: Not too much different in our 4A brackets other than flipping Section 1 champion Indiana and Section 3 champion Belle Vernon. However, with Quaker Valley still undefeated, that switch could improve one team’s odds of reaching the finals.

South Fayette and Freeport also met in the first round last season.

Class 3A

Don Rebel’s bracket

1 Lincoln Park (14-6) vs. 16 Brownsville (7-14)/Carlynton (10-11) winner

2 Seton LaSalle (15-5) vs. 15 South Side Beaver (9-11)

3 Aliquippa (15-6) vs. 14 Brentwood (8-12)

4 Washington (17-4) vs. 13 South Allegheny (11-10)

5 Burrell (10-11) vs. 12 Riverside (12-8)

6 Shady Side Academy (12-8) vs. 11 Avonworth (11-10)

7 East Allegheny (11-9) vs. 10 Ellwood City (13-8)

8 Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (10-11) vs. 9 Burgettstown (15-6)

Rebel: Section 3 has tri-champions, which I seed Burrell (3-1), Shady Side Academy (2-2) and East Allegheny (1-3) with head-to-head records in parenthesis. Should CWNC be seeded in front of the tri-champs?

Chris Harlan’s bracket

1 Lincoln Park (14-6) vs. 16 Carylnton (7-14)/Brownsville (10-11) winner

2 Seton LaSalle (15-5) vs. 15 South Side Beaver (9-11)

3 Washington (17-4) vs. 14 Brentwood (8-12)

4 Aliquippa (15-6) vs. 13 South Allegheny (11-10)

5 Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (10-11) vs. 12 Riverside (12-8)

6 Burrell (10-11) vs. 11 Avonworth (11-10)

7 Shady Side Academy (12-8) vs. 10 Burgettstown (15-6)

8 East Allegheny (11-9) vs. 9 Ellwood City (13-8)

Harlan: Class 3A has four sections rather than three, so there are no byes here.

I put two second-place teams (Aliquippa and CWNC ) ahead of the tri-champions from Section 3. CWNC owns an ugly overall record because the defending WPIAL champion scheduled aggressively.

Class 2A

Don Rebel’s bracket

1 Sewickley Academy (18-4) – BYE

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

3 Jeannette (17-3) – BYE

4 Chartiers-Houston (16-5) – BYE

5 Serra Catholic (17-4) vs. 12 Frazier (8-12)

6 Shenango (14-7) vs. 11 Fort Cherry (9-12)

7 Leechburg (13-6) vs. 10 Neshannock (8-14)

8 California (13-7) vs. 9 Springdale (11-8)

Rebel: One of the biggest questions in this bracket is does Section 1 runner-up Serra Catholic earn the fourth seed and a first-round bye? Eagles are very good, but I lean toward Section 2 champ Chartiers-Houston.

Chris Harlan bracket

1 Sewickley Academy (18-4) – BYE

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

3 Jeannette (17-3) – BYE

4 Serra Catholic (17-4) – BYE

5 Chartiers-Houston (16-5) vs. 12 Neshannock (8-14)

6 Shenango (14-7) vs. 11 Frazier (8-12)

7 Leechburg (13-6) vs. 10 Fort Cherry (9-12)

8 California (13-7) vs. 9 Springdale (11-8)

Harlan: Serra Catholic faced a tougher section schedule than Chartiers-Houston, so I give the edge to the Eagles. Serra lost twice in section, both to Jeannette and by a total of five points. The first was a one-point loss in double overtime.

Sewickley Academy and OLSH tied for their section title, but the top seed surely goes to the defending WPIAL and PIAA champion.

Class A

Don Rebel’s bracket

1 Monessen (14-7) – BYE

2 Vincentian Academy (15-7) – BYE

3 Union (14-5) – BYE

4 Clairton (16-5) – BYE

5 Propel Andrew Street (15-5) vs. 12 Geibel Catholic (7-15)

6 Eden Christian Academy (15-4) vs. 11 West Greene (8-14)

7 Imani Christian (11-9) vs. 10 Holy Family Academy (13-8)

8 Cornell (16-6) vs. 9 Winchester Thurston (8-10)

Rebel: Another classification with tri-champs in Section 3 with Propel, Eden and Imani all splitting head-to-head, but Propel Andrew Street beat both teams down the stretch. However no byes for the trio with the top two teams in Section 1 (Vincentian and Union) and Section 2 (Monessen and Clairton) earning their slot into the quarterfinals.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

1 Vincentian Academy (15-7) – BYE

2 Monessen (14-7) – BYE

3 Union (14-5) – BYE

4 Clairton (16-5) – BYE

5 Cornell (16-6) vs. 12 Winchester Thurston (8-10)

6 Propel Andrew Street (15-5) vs. 11 Geibel Catholic (7-15)

7 Eden Christian (15-4) vs. 10 West Greene (8-14)

8 Imani Christian (11-9) vs. 9 Holy Family Academy (13-8)

Harlan: I’d guess that the WPIAL committee puts Monessen and Clairton on opposite sides of the bracket, so they won’t meet unless they’re in the finals at Petersen Events Center. The two rivals were involved in a brawl last week that saw fans leave the stands and join the fight on the court. Best to keep them apart for now.

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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