A-K Valley high school basketball playoff preview capsules for Feb. 28, 2024

Tuesday, February 27, 2024 | 3:20 PM

WPIAL basketball playoffs


Class 5A

Fifth-place game

11-Bethel Park (13-12) at 8-Fox Chapel (14-11)

8 p.m. Wednesday

Winner plays: The winner of the District 8-9-10 subregional March 9, in PIAA first round (site/time TBD)

Loser plays: District 3 runner-up March 9, in PIAA first round (site/time TBD)

Coaches: Dante Calabria, Bethel Park; Zach Skrinjar, Fox Chapel

Players to watch: Nick Brown, Bethel Park; Will Siegel, Fox Chapel

Layup lines: Bethel Park advanced to the fifth-place game after beating Gateway, 55-53, in the first round of consolations. Nick Brown had 21 points. The Black Hawks fell to Shaler, 35-26, in the WPIAL quarterfinals. Bethel Park finished third in Section 1 and has almost identical averages, scoring 59.8 pgg, while allowing 59.5. The Black Hawks lost three games to end the regular season. …. Will Siegel and Jefferson Moorefield-Brown had 17 points each as Fox Chapel beat Kiski Area, 62-55, in the first round of consolations. The Foxes bounced back after a 63-50 loss to top-seeded Moon in the quarterfinals. Fox Chapel finished strong and has won five of its past seven games.

Seventh-place game

12-Kiski Area (15-9) at 7-Gateway (17-8)

7 p.m. Wednesday

Winner plays: District 3 champion March 9, in PIAA first round (site/time TBD)

Coaches: Corey Smith, Kiski Area; Alvis Rogers, Gateway

Players to watch: Noah Thimons, Kiski Area; Alec Dunsmore, Gateway

Layup lines: Kiski Area is coming off a 62-55 loss to Gateway, where Noah Thimons had 16 points, and Isaiah Gonzalez added 14. The Cavaliers average 58.0 points per game. …. Gateway swept Kiski Area in Section 3 this season, winning 64-57 and 37-36 in overtime. Alec Dunsmore had 15 points for Gateway in a 55-53 loss to Bethel Park in the first round of consolations. The losing team’s season will come to a close as the top seven WPIAL teams advance to the PIAA tournament in Class 5A.


Class A

Third-place game

4-Riverview (16-7) vs. 2-Aquinas Academy (16-7)

6 p.m. Wednesday at Shaler

Winner plays: District 6 runner-up March 9, in PIAA first round (site/time TBD)

Loser plays: District 6 champion March 9, in PIAA first round (site/time TBD)

Coaches: Jill Catanzaro, Riverview; Chris Lebakken, Aquinas Academy

Players to watch: Juliette Brun, Riverview; Tess Duer, Aquinas Academy

Layup lines: Riverview hopes to bounce back from Monday’s 56-13 semifinal loss to Union. The Raiders committed 17 turnovers and weren’t able to get into a groove offensively as the defending WPIAL and PIAA champions took control. Sophomore Isabel Chaparro came off the bench to score five points, and senior Lola Abraham and junior Katerina Tsambis scored four points apiece. The Raiders hope to build momentum for their first trip to states since 2020. … Aquinas Academy, the runner-up to Union in Section 1, was denied a third straight trip to the WPIAL finals with a 65-56 loss to No. 3 St. Joseph on Monday. The Crusaders weren’t able to overcome the combination of Spartans senior Julie Spinelli and junior Gia Richter who combined for 50 of their team’s 65 points. Aquinas had won 10 straight against St. Joseph, including their regular-season contest in overtime. Sophomore Ellie Junker led Aquinas with 15 points. Fellow sophomore Tess Duer added 13. Starting junior forward Violet Johnson has been battling injury but played against St. Joseph. … Riverview and Aquinas Academy played at the season-opening Aquinas Tournament in early December, and the Crusaders won 63-34.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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