A-K Valley basketball playoff preview capsules for games of Feb. 17, 2023

Thursday, February 16, 2023 | 11:10 AM

WPIAL basketball playoffs


Class 5A

First round

14-Kiski Area (11-11) at 3-North Hills (17-5)

8 p.m. Friday at North Hills Middle School, Ross Township

Winner plays: Winner of 6-Thomas Jefferson (15-7)/11-Fox Chapel (13-9), Feb. 22 in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Isaiah Gonzales, Kiski Area; Royce Parham, North Hills

Layup lines: Kiski Area finished third in Section 3 after earning key wins over Franklin Regional and McKeesport down the stretch. The Cavaliers average 60.3 points and allow 58.5. Gonzales averages 17.3 ppg and poured in 25 in a loss to Penn-Trafford last week. Jason Flemm and Noah Thimons also have provided scoring for the Cavaliers. … North Hills entered the season as a favorite in Class 5A after dropping down from 6A, where the Indians were WPIAL runners-up a year ago. The high-scoring Indians, who average 70.8 points per game, rolled to the Section 4 title with an 8-2 record and have won four of their past five games. Parham, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, averages 29.1 points per game for North Hills and carries Division I scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Marquette, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Xavier, VCU, Rutgers, Penn State, TCU, George Mason, Pitt, Duquesne and Robert Morris.

11-Fox Chapel (13-9) at 6-Thomas Jefferson (15-7)

7 p.m. Friday at Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Hills

Winner plays: Winner of 14-Kiski Area (11-11)/3-North Hills (17-5), Feb. 22 in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Jefferson Moorefield-Brown, Fox Chapel; Evan Berger, Thomas Jefferson

Layup lines: Defending WPIAL Class 6A champion Fox Chapel finished tied with Woodland Hills for third in Section 2 at 5-5 and is looking to snap a three-game skid. Key January wins over Woodland Hills, Shaler and Upper St. Clair boosted the Foxes, who average 54.9 points and allow just 49.5. Fox Chapel has a balanced scoring attack behind Moorefield-Brown, a junior guard, and senior guard Kamron Greil. … Thomas Jefferson went 8-2 and finished second in Section 1 behind top-seeded Peters Township. The Jaguars are 11-3 in 2023 and are riding a four-game winning streak. Berger leads the scoring for TJ at 23.6 ppg. He had 28 in a 71-53 win over Bethel Park last week.

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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