A-K Valley basketball playoff preview capsules: Games for Feb. 18, 2020

Monday, February 17, 2020 | 7:30 PM

Tuesday’s games


First round

Class 5A

No. 8 Penn Hills (11-11) vs. No. 9 Plum (14-6)

6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Fox Chapel

Winner plays: No. 1 Chartiers Valley (22-0) on Saturday in the quarterfinals

Coaches: Robert Cash, Penn Hills; Steve Elsier, Plum

Points scored/allowed: Penn Hills 44.6/37.7; Plum: 47.5/42.1

Players to watch: Amoni Blackwell, Penn Hills (jr., G); Mackenzie Lake, Plum (sr., G)

About Penn Hills: The Indians won four straight to close out the regular season, averaging 53.3 points in those contests. Included in that were victories over 5A No. 2 seed Woodland Hills and No. 4 seed Oakland Catholic in Section 3-5A. Blackwell, one of Penn Hills’ top scoring threats, tallied 23 points in the win over Oakland Catholic. The Indians are in the playoffs for the eighth year in a row. They made it to the WPIAL Quad-A title game in 2015, the Quad-A semifinals in 2016 and the 6A semifinals in 2017. Penn Hills won seven straight WPIAL Quad-A titles from 1986 to 1992 and won an eighth crown in 1995.

About Plum: The Mustangs are in the playoffs for the 10th time in the past 11 years. Plum is seeking its first playoff victory since 2002. The Mustangs finished as the Section 2 runner-up to Gateway. They fell to the Gators on a last-second shot in a winner-take-all game for the title Feb. 7. Plum is 11-2 in 2020. Junior forward Kennedie Montue ranks fifth in the WPIAL in scoring at 22.1 points per game. Lake, a Towson softball commit, also has led the Mustangs in scoring in games this season. Plum and Penn Hills, former section foes, will play for the first time since January 2016.

Class A

No. 11 St. Joseph (3-19) vs. No. 6 Sewickley Academy (12-10)

6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Northgate

Winner plays: No. 3 Vincentian Academy on Friday in the quarterfinals

Coaches: Dennis Jones, St. Joseph; Mark Gaither, Sewickley Academy

Points scored/allowed: St. Joseph 28.8/49.9; Sewickley Academy 42.5/40.0

Players to watch: Stella Swanson, St. Joseph (soph., G); Bre Warner (jr., F)

About St. Joseph: The youthful Spartans, with one senior on the roster, return to the WPIAL playoffs after a one-year hiatus. St. Joseph finished 3-7 in Section 3, tied for fourth with Propel Andrew Street. It split with Propel and swept Leechburg to qualify, but it lost two other games in section (Aquinas, Propel) by four points or less. Junior Ally Swierczewski and sophomore Trinity Lockwood-Morris are two of the team’s top scorers this season. Eleven of St. Joseph’s 12 nonsection games were against teams from higher classifications, and of those eleven, seven qualified for the WPIAL playoffs.

About Sewickley Academy: The Panthers are one of the youngest teams in the WPIAL without a senior on their roster. A group of four juniors, including Warner, lead the team with experience from last year’s trip to the PIAA quarterfinals. Sewickley Academy, the third-place team in Section 1 behind top-seeded Rochester and No. 3 Vincentian, is in the WPIAL playoffs for the fourth year in a row. The Panthers also made the WPIAL quarterfinals in 2017 and semifinals in 2018, punching their ticket to states each time. Sewickley Academy won its final four section games to clinch its 2020 postseason trip.

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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