A-K Valley high school basketball playoff preview capsules for Feb. 29, 2024

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 | 4:55 PM

WPIAL basketball playoffs


Class 4A

Fifth-place game

6-Knoch (15-10) at 4-Highlands (17-7)

7 p.m. Thursday

Winner plays: District 8 or 9 champion in PIAA first round March 9 (site/time TBD)

Loser plays: District 10 champion in PIAA first round March 9 (site/time TBD)

Coaches: Shane McGraw, Knoch; Shawn Bennis, Highlands

Players to watch: Tyarah Woody, Highlands; Karlee Buterbaugh, Knoch

Layup lines: Both teams clinched spots in the PIAA playoffs with their fifth-place consolation semifinal victories Monday. Highlands rolled past fellow Section 1 foe and No. 8 seed Greensburg Salem, 62-36, and Knoch stayed alive with a convincing 60-40 victory over No. 7 Central Valley. … The Golden Rams, who also beat Greensburg Salem twice in section play, bounced back Monday from a quarterfinal loss to No. 5 Laurel Highlands behind 20 points from senior Katelyn Myers, 12 from fellow senior Jocelyn Bielak and 11 more from Woody. Woody is the only non-senior starter for Highlands. The Golden Rams finished runner-up in Section 1 to North Catholic on the strength of two victories over Knoch: 56-52, at home Jan. 22 and 38-24 at Knoch on Dec. 18. Highlands will take part in the state playoffs for the second consecutive season. … Knoch punched its ticket to the PIAA tournament for the third straight time. The Knights led Central Valley 25-10 at halftime as they returned to the win column after a 43-31 loss to No. 3 Elizabeth Forward in the quarterfinals. Senior forward Adah Fuller led the Knights with 28 points, and Buterbaugh, a junior forward, added 16. Fuller and Buterbaugh both hit double-digits in scoring for the second time in the playoffs. Fuller had 12 against Elizabeth Forward, and Buterbaugh led the way with 16 in a first-round triumph over Belle Vernon.

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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