A-K Valley lookahead for Week of Feb. 4, 2019
By: Doug Gulasy
Sunday, February 3, 2019 | 6:42 PM
Girls basketball: The Section 1-4A playoff race is muddied, with Apollo-Ridge (14-5, 6-5) and Knoch (8-10, 6-5) holding on to the last two spots and Greensburg Salem (10-9, 6-5) right behind. Apollo-Ridge visits Highlands (2-16, 0-12), Knoch visits Freeport (14-3, 6-5) and Greensburg Salem hosts Indiana (7-13, 5-7).
Leechburg (5-11, 2-6) can clinch a WPIAL playoff berth for the fourth consecutive season as the Blue Devils visit St. Joseph (1-17, 1-7) in a Section 3-A game.
A pair of playoff-bound Section 1-6A teams face off, with placement in the standings and postseason seeding on the line, as Fox Chapel (13-5, 8-4) hosts Seneca Valley (13-6, 7-5). The Foxes lost the first meeting, 50-41.
Boys basketball: After suffering its first Section 1-4A loss of the season to Highlands, Knoch looks to bounce back — and force a tie atop the section with Highlands — against Derry. The Knights (13-5, 7-1) beat Derry, 85-43, last month.
Hockey: First-place Burrell (17-0) hosts Knoch in a Division II game. The Bucs beat the Knights, 7-1, earlier this season. Knoch (5-11) is holding on to the final playoff spot.
Boys basketball: Deer Lakes will try to continue its unbeaten Section 3-3A season as the Lancers (13-4, 9-0) host rival Valley. The Lancers already have clinched at least a share of the section title. Valley (6-9), which has clinched a playoff spot, lost last month to Deer Lakes but was missing two starters.
Knoch and Freeport close the Section 1-4A regular season at Freeport Area Middle School. Freeport (10-7, 4-4), which clinched a WPIAL playoff berth last week, looks to avenge an 82-59 loss to the Knights from last month. If Knoch wins Monday, another win Tuesday gives the Knights at least a tie for first in the section.
Red-hot Highlands can clinch at least a tie for the Section 1-4A championship with a win over Derry. The Golden Rams (13-5, 8-1) have won seven of their past eight games and beat Derry, 75-49, last month.
The Section 1-2A race remains in flux. Apollo-Ridge (11-8, 7-4), tied for third place in the section, can clinch a playoff berth with a win over Winchester Thurston (13-5, 8-3), which is tied for first place. Springdale (9-8, 5-6) will try to stay alive against the other first-place team: Summit Academy (9-5, 8-3).
The Section 3-A race also remains unclear. First-place St. Joseph (14-5, 7-2) plays Trinity Christian (3-11, 0-9), and Leechburg (11-8, 7-3), a half-game behind, hosts Clairton (7-7, 5-4).
Girls basketball: Plum held a half-game edge on Armstrong for the final playoff spot in Section 2-5A, and the Mustangs (9-10, 5-5) will try to hold on as Kiski Area (4-14, 0-10) visits. Plum won the first meeting against the Cavaliers, 39-34.
Boys basketball: Depending on Tuesday’s results, the Section 1-2A game between host Springdale and Apollo-Ridge could determine the section’s final playoff entrant.
Girls basketball: It’s an intriguing nonsection game between playoff qualifiers as Freeport visits Fox Chapel. Freeport is averaging more than 60 points per game, and Fox Chapel is limiting opponents to 38.8.
Wrestling: The PIAA championships begin in Hershey. Burrell, coming off its 13th consecutive WPIAL Class AA title, will face the winner of Monday’s match between District 3 runner-up Newport and District 4 third-place team Danville. Kiski Area, which won its third consecutive WPIAL Class AAA championship, will take on the winner of Monday’s match between District 1 third-place team Owen J. Roberts and District 3 third-place team Cumberland Valley.
Girls basketball: Apollo-Ridge will try to secure its Section 1-4A playoff spot as the Vikings host Greensburg Salem. The Golden Lions won the first meeting, 49-38.
Plum, seeking a Section 2-5A playoff berth, visits one of the top teams in the classification: rival Gateway (16-3, 10-1), which beat the Mustangs, 55-33, last month.
Playoff-bound Deer Lakes (14-4, 9-3) hosts No. 1 Shady Side Academy (15-1, 11-0). Shady Side won the first meeting, 55-36.
Riverview began the week one win shy of a WPIAL playoff clinching. The Raiders (7-10, 5-5) close the Section 2-2A schedule at rival Springdale (0-16, 0-9).
Wrestling: The PIAA wrestling championships continue in Hershey.
Boys basketball: Leechburg and St. Joseph meet in the Section 3-A finale, with the regular-season title potentially on the line. Leechburg beat the Spartans, 59-46, in the teams’ first meeting.
Rivals Burrell and Valley meet in the Section 3-3A finale. The Bucs (5-12, 4-6) began the week on the periphery of the playoff race, in fifth place needing to win out and get some help. Wins over Steel Valley on Tuesday and rival Valley — already bound for the playoffs — could get Burrell there. Valley, meanwhile, attempts to close the section season on a high note after a 49-42 loss to Burrell in their first meeting.
Another of the Alle-Kiski Valley’s top rivalries takes place as Riverview (6-11, 4-7) visits Springdale.
Girls basketball: Freeport visits Apollo-Ridge in the teams’ Section 1-4A finale. Freeport won the first meeting, 34-28.
Fox Chapel visits one of the top teams in Class 6A: Norwin, which knocked off No. 1 North Allegheny last week. Norwin won the first meeting, 63-39.
Wrestling: State team champions will be crowned. Burrell is seeking its second PIAA title, with the other coming in 2008. Kiski Area, which has been runner-up twice — including last year — is looking for its first.
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at email@example.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.