A-K Valley basketball playoff capsules: Games for Tuesday, March 2, 2021

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Monday, March 1, 2021 | 4:15 PM


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

Boys

First round

Class 6A

15-Bethel Park (8-9) at 2-Fox Chapel (18-2)

6 p.m. Tuesday

Coaches: Josh Bears; Bethel Park; Zach Skrinjar, Fox Chapel

Winner plays: Winner of 10-Central Catholic (12-9) at 7-North Allegheny (15-6), 6 p.m. Friday

About Bethel Park: The Black Hawks could be one of the hottest teams entering the WPIAL tournament as they won seven of their final nine games. They started the season losing eight of their first nine. They averaged 52.2 points this season but scored 57 or more in their final four.

About Fox Chapel: The winners of 16 straight, the Foxes are red hot entering the WPIAL playoffs as the No. 2 seed for the second straight year. Junior guard Eli Yofan leads the way, scoring 22 points per game, and each starter averages at least eight. Junior JP Dockey averages 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game.

Class A

11-Mapletown (4-8) at 6-Leechburg (7-4)

6 p.m. Tuesday

Coaches: Chad Stevenson, Mapletown; Damian Davies, Leechburg

Winner plays: Winner of 14-Propel Montour (3-11) at 3-Eden Christian Academy (10-1), 6 p.m. Friday

About Mapletown: After starting 3-0, the Maples won just one of their final nine games. Landon Stevenson leads the Maples with 16 points per game. Their 43.1 points per game is the fourth-lowest in WPIAL Class A.

About Leechburg: The Blue Devils are averaging 71.4 points per game, which is second highest in WPIAL Class A. Dylan Cook leads Leechburg in scoring with 19.8 points per game, and junior forward Eli Rich is also averaging 15.6. The Blue Devils have topped 70 points in seven of their 11 games and scored a season-high 92 against St. Joseph on Jan. 19.

Girls

First round

Class 4A

16-Burrell (9-9) at 1-Beaver (16-0)

6 p.m. Tuesday

Coaches: Joel Ceraso, Burrell; Greg Huston, Beaver

Winner plays: Winner of 8-Elizabeth Forward (7-5) at 9-Central Valley (8-11), 6 p.m. Friday

About Burrell: The Bucs advanced into the first round after No. 17 Ambridge forfeited Saturday’s scheduled preliminary matchup. Burrell won six of its final eight regular-season games. It is averaging 42.6 points while surrendering 41.9. The Bucs, led by the scoring of juniors Allison Fisher and Hope Clark and freshman Kate Myers, are a part of the WPIAL playoffs after a three-year hiatus.

About Beaver: A WPIAL Class 3A finalist last year, the Bobcats moved up and went through the regular season undefeated. Beaver survived a test against No. 5 Blackhawk on Feb. 22 before winning 34-32. It was the closest game for the team this year. The Bobcats have outscored opponents by 29.2 points. Junior guard/forward Payton List (16.4 ppg.) and senior point guard Emma Pavelek (15.9), a Navy recruit, have paced the Beaver offense. The Feb. 23 win over Ambridge was the 200th for Huston (200-82) at the helm of the Bobcats, who are seeking their first WPIAL title.

14-Deer Lakes (6-6) at 3-Southmoreland (14-4),

6 p.m. Tuesday

Coaches: Dave Petruska, Deer Lakes; Amber Cernuto, Southmoreland

Winner plays: Winner of 11-Mt. Pleasant (10-7) at 6-Freeport (9-2), 6 p.m. Friday

About Deer Lakes: The Lancers returned to action last week after a two-week covid pause. Junior guard Reese Hasley leads the team in scoring at 16 points a game. She tallied 19 in 52-47 loss to Freeport last Thursday. Deer Lakes leads the Alle-Kiski Valley in consecutive playoff appearances with seven. The Lancers are looking to snap a mini two-game playoff losing streak.

About Southmoreland: The Scotties made the WPIAL Class 4A championship game last year, falling to North Catholic, 61-44, before making it to the PIAA quarterfinals. Before losses to 5A powers South Fayette and Latrobe in two of final three regular-season games, Southmoreland had won nine in a row. Sophomore guard Olivia Cernuto and junior forward Grace Spadaro pace the Scotties offensive attack.

12-Highlands (8-12) at 5-Blackhawk (12-5)

6 p.m. Tuesday

Coaches: Courtney Udanis, Highlands; Steve Lodovico, Blackhawk

Winner plays: Winner of 13-Hopewell (4-10) at 4-Knoch (8-1), 6 p.m. Friday

About Highlands: The Golden Rams played a full regular-season schedule with 20 games. Junior Maria Fabregas and freshman Kalleigh Nerone have fronted Highlands’ scoring efforts with several double-digit outputs. The Golden Rams won four of five to cap the regular season. Highlands is back in the WPIAL playoffs after a four-year hiatus.

About Blackhawk: The Cougars made the WPIAL Class 4A semifinals last year and qualified for the PIAA tournament. Blackhawk leads all of Class 4A in scoring at 62.5 points per game. Senior forward Jolie Strati (14.5 ppg.) is one of the team’s top scorers. The Cougars’ only Class 4A losses have come to No. 1 Beaver and No. 2 Quaker Valley in Section 2.

13-Hopewell (4-10) at 4-Knoch (8-1)

6 p.m. Tuesday

Coaches: Jeff Homziak, Hopewell; Chris Andreassi, Knoch

Winner plays: Winner of 12-Highlands (8-12) at 5-Blackhawk (12-5), 6 p.m. Friday

About Hopewell: The Vikings, with just one senior, are in the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2015. Hopewell has scored 31.9 points a game through 14 contests and has surrendered 51.2. The Vikings share the same section with three of the top five seeds in the Class 4A tournament — No. 1 Beaver, No. 2 Quaker Valley and No. 5 Blackhawk.

About Knoch: The Knights returned to action last Thursday after a two-week covid break and upended Class 5A No. 3 Hampton, 50-46, behind 22 points from senior Nevaeh Ewing and 12 more from sophomore Hattie McGraw. Ewing (15.1), junior Madilyn Boyer (10.8) and sophomore Nina Shaw (11.3) each are averaging double figures for scoring. Knoch’s only loss this season was to Class 3A No. Laurel (16-2) on Feb. 6. The Knights made the WPIAL quarterfinals last year before dropping a heartbreaker to Central Valley. Knoch then missed out on a trip to states under the follow-the-leader format.

11-Mt. Pleasant (10-7) at 6-Freeport (9-2)

6 p.m. Tuesday

Coaches: Scott Giacobbi, Mt. Pleasant; Fred Soilis, Freeport

Winner plays: Winner of 14-Deer Lakes (6-6) at 3-Southmoreland (14-4), 6 p.m. Friday

About Mt. Pleasant: The Vikings enter the playoffs winners of six of their final seven regular-season games. Mt. Pleasant is in the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since the 2016-17 season. The Vikings are scoring at a 41.5 points-per-game clip and surrendering 39.6. Sophomore Tiffany Zelmore scored a season-best 35 in a 57-52 win over South Allegheny on Feb. 20 and leads the team at 21 points and nine rebounds a game.

About Freeport: The Yellowjackets are in the WPIAL playoffs for the fifth year in a row. Last year, Freeport lost to eventual WPIAL Class 4A runner-up Southmoreland in the quarterfinal round. The Yellowjackets’ lone losses are to Class 5A Gateway and Class 4A No. 4 seed Knoch. Sophomore Melaina DeZort leads her team in scoring at 15.1 a game. Fellow sophomore Ava Soilis checks in at 10.6.

Class 2A

11-Apollo-Ridge (8-4) at 6-OLSH (12-5)

6 p.m. Tuesday

Coaches: Ray Bartha, Apollo-Ridge; Don Eckerle, OLSH

Winner plays: Winner of 14-Chartiers Houston (10-6) at 3-Winchester Thurston (10-3), 6 p.m. Friday

About Apollo-Ridge: The Vikings won five of their final six games in the regular season started by a close 46-42 triumph over No. 12 Greensburg Central Catholic (8-4). Apollo-Ridge finished tied for second to No. 3 Winchester Thurston in Section 4-2A. Senior Morgan Gamble, the team’s leading scorer, averaged 21.6 points over three games last week. Senior Emily Bonelli, sophomore Brinley Toland and freshman Sophia Yard also have led the team in scoring this year.

About OLSH: The Chargers lost four of six down the stretch in the regular season, but those setbacks came against Class 2A No. 4 Sewickley Academy (11-5), Class 3A No. 1 North Catholic (15-2), Class 6A No. 4 Mt. Lebanon (15-2) and Class 5A No. 2 Chartiers Valley (19-3). OLSH has received balanced scoring from senior guard Grace Bradley, junior guard/forward Emily Schuck and junior guard Kaleigh Constantino at between nine and 10 points a game. The Chargers captured the 2018-19 WPIAL Class 2A title.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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