A-K Valley basketball playoff capsules: Games for Thursday, March 4, 2021

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 4:33 PM

Here’s a look at Thursday’s WPIAL basketball playoff games involving A-K Valley teams:


First round

Class 4A

11-Burrell (9-9) at 6-Central Valley (10-5)

6 p.m. Thursday

Coaches: Mike Fantuzzo, Burrell; Brandon Ambrose, Central Valley

Winner plays: Winner of 19-Beaver (2-16) at 3-Montour (12-7), 6 p.m. Monday

About Burrell: After winning just one game last season, the Bucs finished with a .500 record this regular season. Brandon Coury leads the Bucs with 21.9 points per game. They’ve won five of their past seven leading into the playoffs.

About Central Valley: The Warriors have lost their past three games. They have earned signature wins over Lincoln Park and Blackhawk. They’ve averaged 54.1 points per game.

7-Elizabeth Forward (8-4) at 10-Deer Lakes (9-3)

6 p.m. Thursday

Coaches: Terence Parham, Deer Lakes; Matt Loftis, Elizabeth Forward

Winner plays: Winner of 15-Knoch (7-9) at 2-Lincoln Park (14-5), 6 p.m. Monday

About Deer Lakes: The Lancers missed five games because of covid protocols at the end of the season and played their first game since Feb. 12 last Thursday, defeating Freeport, 59-40. They won their past three games and are averaging 59 points. Deer Lakes coach Terence Parham is two wins away from the 200th win of his coaching career.

About Elizabeth Forward: Before their loss to No. 1 Belle Vernon on Feb. 20, the Warriors haven’t lost since Jan. 20. They won five straight games from Jan. 27 to Feb. 19. They are averaging 54.6 points.

17-Freeport (6-8) at 1-Belle Vernon (11-1)

6 p.m. Thursday

Coaches: Wayne Greiser, Freeport; Joe Salvino, Belle Vernon

Winner plays: Winner of 9-Ambridge (4-9) at 8-South Park (8-5), 6 p.m. Monday

About Freeport: Cole Charlton hit a pair of free throws to push the Yellowjackets ahead of Blackhawk, 65-64, in their preliminary round playoff matchup. Charlton leads Freeport with 13.3 points per game. It was their first playoff victory since 2010.

About Belle Vernon: The Leopards are looking for their second-straight trip to the WPIAL championship. They haven’t lost since their first game, a 65-59 loss to Thomas Jefferson. They are averaging 71.1 points.

15-Knoch (7-9) at 2-Lincoln Park (14-5)

6 p.m. Thursday

Coaches: Alan Bauman, Knoch; Mike Bariski, Lincoln Park

Winner plays: Winner of 10-Deer Lakes (9-3) vs. 7-Elizabeth Forward (8-4), 6 p.m. Monday

About Knoch: After missing time because of covid protocols, the Knights have hit their stride, winning their past two games and three of their last five. Their 75-point outing in their preliminary-round win over Yough was their second-highest of the season. Ryan Lang leads the Knights at 24.9 points per game.

About Lincoln Park: Since losing to Central Valley on Jan. 27, Lincoln Park has won 11 of its past 12 games. The only loss came on the second leg of a back-to-back with Quaker Valley. The Leopards are looking for their sixth straight trip to the WPIAL championship.

Class 3A

14-Apollo-Ridge (10-5) at 3-Shady Side Academy (13-2)

6 p.m. Thursday at Fox Chapel

Coaches: Greg Fox, Apollo-Ridge; David Vadnais, Shady Side Academy

Winner plays: Winner of 11-Ellwood City (10-4) at 6-Avonworth (12-4), 6 p.m. Monday

About Apollo-Ridge: The Vikings are averaging 57.5 points and are led by two 1,000-point scorers in seniors Jake Fello and Klay Fitzroy. They’ve won four of their past six games, with their two losses coming against Springdale and South Allegheny. Monday’s win over Beth-Center was their first playoff victory since 2014.

About Shady Side Academy: The Bulldogs only lost twice and both came against elite teams — Class 3A No. 1 South Allegheny and Class 6A No. 2 Fox Chapel. They only have three seniors on their roster and have started two juniors, two freshmen and a sophomore at times. They’ve won seven of their past eight games.


First round

Class 5A

9-Penn Hills (10-7) at 8-Fox Chapel (11-7)

8 p.m. Thursday

About Fox Chapel: Fox Chapel is one of four teams from Section 2 set to play in the first round Thursday joining Mars, Hampton and Armstrong. Plum defeated Lincoln Park to advance to the first round, but it forfeited out of the tournament Tuesday because of covid issues. The Foxes had no problems with No. 25 Ringgold on Monday as seniors Domenica Delaney (15), Ellie Schwartzman (14) and Marissa Ritter (10) and sophomore Elsie Smith (11) scored in double figures in the 69-25 win. Fox Chapel faces Penn Hills for the first time since the 2017-18 season when both were members of Section 2 in Class 6A. The Foxes lost both by a combined seven points.

About Penn Hills: Penn Hills and Fox Chapel were scheduled to play Feb. 15, but the game was canceled. Penn Hills got 14 points from Hannah Pugliese and 10 more from Jasmyn Golden as it cruised past Uniontown, 56-19, in a preliminary game Monday. They bounced back from a tough loss to Mt. Lebanon in the regular-season finale. Golden leads the Indians in scoring at 16 points a game. Penn Hills scored key wins over Class 6A No. 4 Mt. Lebanon (15-3) and Class 4A No. 2 Quaker Valley (13-4) during the regular season.

Class A

10-Riverview (6-6) at 7-Bishop Canevin (6-6)

6 p.m. Thursday

Coaches: Keith Stitt, Riverview; Jim Kaczorowski, Bishop Canevin

Winner plays: 2-West Greene (16-3), 6 p.m. Monday

About Riverview: The game is a rematch of a 66-41 victory by Bishop Canevin in last year’s WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals. The Raiders are in the WPIAL playoffs for the fourth year in a row. Senior Eleni Wyrick leads the team in scoring. Riverview scores 27.8 points a game and gives up 30.3. A win over Springdale to close the regular season snapped a three-game losing skid.

About Bishop Canevin: Bishop Canevin closed the regular season in similar fashion to Riverview as a victory over Sto-Rox in the finale halted a three-game losing streak. The Crusaders finished third in Section 1 behind No. 1 Rochester (12-3) and No. 3 Eden Christian (10-6). Bishop Canevin went on to claim the WPIAL Class 2A championship last year before falling in the PIAA first round to Bishop McCort.

9-St. Joseph (6-13) at 8-Avella (9-9)

6 p.m. Thursday

Coaches: Dennis Jones, St. Joseph; Mike Drazich, Avella

Winner plays: 1-Rochester (12-3), 6 p.m. Monday

About St. Joseph: St. Joseph will take part in the WPIAL playoffs for the second year in a row after a one-year hiatus. The Spartans enter the postseason hoping to snap a four-game losing skid. It finished third in Section 3 behind No. 4 Aquinas Academy and No. 5 Clairton. Senior Ally Swierczewski, junior Trinity Lockwood-Morris and freshman Julie Spinelli are three leading scorers.

About Avella: Avella has suffered five straight setbacks. The Eagles finished third in Section 2 behind No. 2 West Greene (16-3) and No. 6 Monessen (9-11). Avella made it to the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals last year before falling to eventual runner-up West Greene. It also took part in the PIAA tournament. Sophomore guard/forward Katie Dryer averages nearly 17 points.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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