A-K Valley WPIAL basketball playoff capsules: Games for March 2, 2023

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Wednesday, March 1, 2023 | 11:01 AM


WPIAL basketball playoffs

Girls

Class 4A

Third-place consolation

6-Highlands (16-8) at 4-Quaker Valley (16-8)

7 p.m. Thursday at Quaker Valley High School, Leetsdale

Winner plays: District 10 runner-up in PIAA first round March 11 (site/time TBD)

Loser plays: District 5/District 6 champion in PIAA first round March 11 (site/time TBD)

Players to watch: Jocelyn Bielek, Highlands; Maria Helkowski, Quaker Valley

Layup lines: Despite its loss to section rival North Catholic on Tuesday, Highlands already had clinched its first trip to the PIAA playoffs. The Golden Rams trailed the Trojanettes by just four at halftime and by six midway through the third quarter before North Catholic pulled away for a 63-45 victory. Junior Katelyn Myers hit four 3-pointers and finished with a team-best 14 points. Fellow junior Kalleigh Nerone added 13 points in the loss. Highlands averages 51 points and is giving up 44.5. … Quaker Valley was not able to solve No. 1 Blackhawk on Tuesday in a 51-40 loss after two setbacks to their section rivals during the regular season. Helkowski, a senior guard, led the Quakers with 15 points, and 6-foot-3 freshman guard/forward Oumou Thiero added 10. The Quakers went into last year’s PIAA Class 4A playoffs as the fifth-place team from the WPIAL. They fell to District 10 champion Villa Maria in the first round. QV, the 2021 WPIAL Class 4A runner-up, was denied a trip to states that year as the PIAA took only the WPIAL champion under its altered covid logistics format.

Class 4A

Fifth-place consolation

7-Beaver (15-9) at 5-Knoch (16-9)

7 p.m. Thursday at Knoch High School, Jefferson Township

Winner plays: District 8/District 9 champion in PIAA first round March 11 (site/time TBD)

Loser plays: District 10 champion in PIAA first round March 11 (site/time TBD)

Players to watch: Nina Shaw, Knoch; Chloe List, Beaver

Layup lines: Beaver and Knoch meet for the first time since the 2021 Class 4A semifinals when the Bobcats topped the Knights, 40-22. Beaver went on to defeat Quaker Valley for the WPIAL title and clinch a spot in the PIAA playoffs. Knoch’s season ended in the semifinals as only the WPIAL champion advanced to states under the PIAA’s covid logistics format at the time. This year, the top six teams make the state playoffs in Class 4A. … Knoch punched it’s ticket to this year’s fifth-place consolation and also the PIAA tournament with a dominant 66-44 victory over Belle Vernon in the consolation semifinals Monday. Senior Hattie McGraw led the way with 15 points, juniors CeCe Kosecki and Naturelle Ewing tallied 12 apiece, and Shaw, a senior, scored 11. Knoch hit 13 3-pointers. … Beaver upset No. 3 Elizabeth Forward, 57-52, on Monday. List, a 6-foot junior forward, scored 20 points to lead the Bobcats. Sophomore guard Emerson Connelly added 15, and senior guard/forward Constantina Krzeczowski contributed 13. Beaver is second in scoring defense in Class 4A at 33.7 allowed a game. Blackhawk is first (32.9).

NCSAA basketball championships

Boys

Opening round

Cheswick Christian (18-6) vs. Calvary Baptist Academy, W.Va. (22-5)

3 p.m. Thursday at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, Ohio

Loser plays: Loser of Arthur Christian (Ill.)/Tri-State Christian (Md.) at 9 a.m. Friday

Winner plays: Winner of Arthur Christian (Ill.)/Tri-State Christian (Md.) at noon Friday

Players to watch: Grant Rochkind, Cheswick Christian; Stevie Hicks, Calvary Baptist

Layup lines: Cheswick Christian is coming off a 73-60 loss to Harvest Baptist in the SWCAC championship game. Rochkind averages 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Chargers. He was joined on the SWCAC all-conference first team by junior Sean Louis and freshman Joseph Rosio. Seniors Vincent Gibbs and Ayden Phillips were third-team selections. … Calvary Baptist is led by seniors Stevie Hicks (25.3 ppg) and Isaiah Bosley (18.4 ppg). Hicks also averages 7.2 rebounds per game. The Patriots have won six straight games. Calvary Baptist is located in Hurricane, W.Va.

Bill Hartlep is the TribLive sports editor. A Pittsburgh native and Point Park graduate, he joined the Trib in 2004, covering high school sports. He held various editing roles before assuming his current position in 2019. He can be reached at bhartlep@triblive.com.

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