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

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Thursday, February 16, 2023 | 11:10 AM


WPIAL basketball playoffs

Boys

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 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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