A-K Valley high school sports look-ahead: Week of Jan. 21, 2019
Sunday, January 20, 2019 | 8:45 PM
Girls basketball : Apollo-Ridge will get a second chance to slow down Class 4A No. 1 North Catholic in a Section 1-4A game. The Vikings (10-4, 4-4) have the second-best defense in the section, allowing 36.5 points per game, but the defending WPIAL champion Trojans (12-1, 8-0) scored 76 in the teams’ first meeting.
Kiski Area (4-10, 0-7) still is seeking its first Section 2-5A victory, but the Cavaliers (4-10, 0-7) had a close call in their previous meeting this season with Armstrong. They’ll host the River Hawks (8-6, 4-3), who are fourth in the section standings, for a rematch of that 44-38 loss.
Knoch (7-7, 5-3) is hanging on to a playoff spot in Section 1-4A, and the Knights can do damage to one of the teams chasing them in a game at Indiana (5-11, 3-5). The first game came down to the wire, with Knoch winning 39-34.
Hockey : Division 2-leading Burrell (14-0) hit double figures in goals in its first meeting of the season with Bishop Canevin, and the high-scoring Bucs will see what they can do this time as the Crusaders visit.
Boys basketball : The top two teams in Section 3-6A go at it as Fox Chapel hosts No. 1 Latrobe. The first game came down to the wire, with Latrobe (12-2, 5-0) claiming a 66-62 victory. Fox Chapel (9-5, 4-1), coming off a double-overtime loss to Penn Hills, looks for revenge.
The Section 1-2A race keeps getting tighter, with Apollo-Ridge, Riverview and Springdale tied for the fourth and final playoff spot. At least one of those teams will get a leg up as Apollo-Ridge (8-8, 4-4) hosts Riverview (6-8, 4-4). A-R claimed a 64-61 victory in their first matchup. Springdale looks to snap a three-game losing streak as the Dynamos (8-6, 4-4) host second-place Sto-Rox (8-6, 6-2).
It’s been a difficult season for Plum (2-12, 2-6) and Kiski Area (3-12, 2-6) in Section 3-5A, but the local rivals will look for a positive result as they meet up for the second time this season at Plum. Kiski Area won the first time 54-49.
Girls basketball : Plum had a statement nonsection win its last time out against ranked Class A opponent Greensburg Central Catholic. Now the Mustangs (7-7, 3-3) will seek a similar statement in Section 2-5A as Franklin Regional and star Cali Konek visit. FR (9-4, 5-2) took the first meeting, 61-49.
Burrell posted an exhilarating win over Greensburg Salem (7-7, 3-5) in their first Section 1-4A matchup of the season, and although hampered by injury, the Bucs (4-9, 2-6) will look for another in the rematch. The game features a pair of top scorers in Burrell’s Kaylen Sharrow and Greensburg Salem’s Megan Kallock.
Deer Lakes (10-3) and Knoch no longer share a section, but both teams begin the week chasing playoff spots in their new homes and they’ll meet up for a nonsection game.
Wrestling : Class AA No. 1 Burrell is aiming for its 16th consecutive section championship as the Bucs (5-2) host the Section 3-AA team tournament. Burrell will take on Elizabeth Forward (4-1) in the semifinals, with Valley (7-2) facing Derry (9-2) in the other semifinal. Winners advance to the championship. Adding intrigue to the tournament, Burrell beat Derry for the WPIAL title last season.
Class AAA No. 1 Kiski Area is hosting maybe the most loaded section tournament: Section 1-AAA. The two-time defending WPIAL champion Cavaliers (9-0) will wrestle Greensburg Salem (6-2) in one semifinal; the other features Hempfield (11-1) against Norwin (8-2).
Highlands (7-8) can advance to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2011. All the Golden Rams need is a home win over Southmoreland (7-2) in the Section 3-AA fifth-place match.
Girls basketball : Deer Lakes (10-3, 6-2) and Carlynton began the week tied for second in Section 3-3A, making their Thursday matchup at Deer Lakes significant. Carlynton (11-2, 6-2) claimed a 56-44 win over the Lancers earlier this season.
Fox Chapel (10-4, 5-3) holds a playoff spot in Section 1-6A, but the Foxes face a major challenge as they visit Class 6A No. 1 North Allegheny. The Tigers (15-0, 8-0) pulled away late for a 57-41 win over Fox Chapel earlier this season.
Apollo-Ridge earned a six-point win over Indiana in the teams’ first meeting, giving the Vikings a one-game edge on the Indians in the Section 1-4A standings coming into the week. A-R can put some distance between the teams if it can get another win in the rematch.
Hockey : The first meeting of the season between Freeport and Deer Lakes was a classic, with Slade Ohl’s power-play goal in overtime giving Freeport (5-7) a 7-6 win. The Lancers (1-11-0-1) will look for revenge in a rematch at Belmont Complex.
Boys basketball : Highlands (9-4, 4-1) and Freeport meet for the second time this season in Section 1-4A, this time in Freeport’s “Hive.” The Yellowjackets (8-4, 3-2) will try their best to slow the high-flying Golden Rams, particularly Luke Cochran and Johnny Crise. Those juniors both scored 20-plus points in Highlands’ 85-68 win over Freeport earlier this season.
The first Section 3-3A meeting between Valley (4-8, 4-3) and Shady Side Academy (6-9, 4-3) was a classic, with Valley securing a two-point win in the final seconds. They meet up again at Valley for a pivotal game: The teams make up two-thirds of a three-way tie for second place.
Swimming/diving : The Westmoreland County Coaches Association diving championships take place at Derry.
Wrestling : Burrell travels to Bedford for an individual tournament, getting one more competition in before the WPIAL team playoffs begin.
Boys basketball : The Alle-Kiski Valley’s hottest team faces one of the top teams in the WPIAL as Knoch (11-3) visits Quaker Valley (10-2) for a nonsection game between Class 4A championship contenders. Knoch began the week on a nine-game winning streak.
Swimming/diving : It’s the swimmers’ turn to take part in the Westmoreland County Coaches Association championships; Burrell and Kiski Area swimmers will compete.
Highlands and Valley will compete in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Hall of Fame Classic. The quintupleheader of boys basketball will begin at noon at Montour as Valley takes on Vincentian (7-6). Highlands will play the last game of the day against Class 3A No. 1 Lincoln Park, with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at [email protected] or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.