2024 WPIAL Class 3A girls basketball championship breakdown: Avonworth vs. Shady Side Academy

Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 6:02 PM

WPIAL Class 3A girls basketball championship

No. 1 Avonworth vs. No. 2 Shady Side Academy

3 p.m. Friday at Petersen Events Center

On the air: Audio broadcast: Trib HSSN; Video livestream: NFHS Network

WPIAL titles: Avonworth 7 (2023, ‘05, 1992-94, ‘79, ‘76), Shady Side Academy 0

Avonworth (22-1)

Coach: Nick Dizon

Projected starting lineup

No., Name, Ht., Cl., Pos.

2, Eden Schleis, 5-4, sr., G

20, Anna Bradley, 5-8, jr., G/F

21, Greta O’Brien, 5-8, jr., G

22, Rebecca Goetz, 6-0, sr., F

34, Emma Obersteiner, 5-9, jr., G/F

How they got here: Defeated No. 16 Apollo-Ridge, 64-13, in the first round; No. 8 Keystone Oaks, 69-45, in the quarterfinals; and No. 4 Neshannock, 72-51, in the semifinals.

Notable: Avonworth returns to the WPIAL championship game in search of an eighth title. Last season, the Lopes beat Shady Side Academy in the semifinals before topping Laurel in the championship game. Eden Schleis and Rebecca Goetz also started in last season’s WPIAL final. Greta O’Brien had 22 points in the semifinal victory, and Goetz, Fiona Mahan and Emma Obersteiner also were in double figures. Goetz and O’Brien have each surpassed 1,000 career points. Avonworth captured the Section 2 title at 10-0 and has outscored opponents 55.5-33 on average. The Lopes’ lone loss was to Armstrong in December. They have won 16 straight since.

Shady Side Academy (23-2)

Coach: Jonna Burke

Projected starting lineup

No., Name, Ht., Cl., Pos.

15, Cassie Sauer, 6-2, so., F

20, Maggie Spell, 5-10, so., G

21, Leah Buford, 5-11, fr., F

22, Sydney Birchard, 5-9, sr., G

23, Karis Thomas, 5-6, so., G

How they got here: Defeated No. 15 Mohawk, 53-42, in the first round; No. 7 OLSH, 37-36, in the quarterfinals; and No. 3 Beaver Falls, 41-26, in the semifinals.

Notable: Shady Side Academy will play for its first WPIAL title after a strong regular season and playoff run. The Bulldogs won Section 3 at 10-0 and outscored opponents 56.8-33.9 on average. Sophomore standouts Maggie Spell (19.7 ppg), Karis Thomas (16.4) and Cassie Sauer have fronted the scoring for the Bulldogs. Spell had 17 points against Beaver Falls, while Thomas and Sauer added 11. Spell surpassed 1,000 career points this season. Shady Side Academy has won 17 games in a row since a loss to Seneca Valley in December.

Bill Hartlep is the TribLive sports editor. A Pittsburgh native and Point Park graduate, he joined the Trib in 2004, covering high school sports. He held various editing roles before assuming his current position in 2019. He can be reached at bhartlep@triblive.com.

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