Alle-Kiski Valley PIAA basketball capsules: Games for March 8-9, 2019
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 | 1:30 AM
Fox Chapel (16-8) vs. Kennedy Catholic (22-3)
7 p.m. Saturday at Farrell HS
Winner plays: Wilson (22-5) or Pine-Richland (21-3) on Wednesday in the second round
Coaches: Zach Skrinjar, Fox Chapel; Rick Mancino, Kennedy Catholic
Players to watch: Ryan Kerr, Fox Chapel (sr., G); Oscar Tshiebwe, Kennedy Catholic (sr., C)
How they got here: Fox Chapel, WPIAL fifth place (lost to Mt. Lebanon, 56-40, in quarterfinals); Kennedy Catholic, District 10 champion (beat Erie, 86-66, in finals, and Allderdice, 68-55, in PIAA subregional)
About Fox Chapel: The Foxes are appearing in the state playoffs for the second consecutive season. They lost 54-52 to Penn Hills in the first round in 2018 but made it back this season even after losing their top three scorers to graduation or transfer. Kerr and junior Sam Brown missed all of last season but returned strong, joining junior sharpshooter Arnold Vento, junior guard Will Livingston and freshman point guard Eli Yofan for a formidable core. After starting 4-4, Fox Chapel won 12 of its final 16 contests. The Foxes’ last game was Feb. 23.
About Kennedy Catholic: The Golden Eagles won the PIAA Class A championship each of the past three seasons before making the largest jump in classification possible this season. It hasn’t mattered much for the powerhouse, who boast three Division I players in the 6-foot-10 Tshiebwe (West Virginia), 6-5 guard Maceo Austin (Duquesne) and 6-8 forward Mattia Acunzo (Toledo). All three have more than 1,000 career points. The Golden Eagles have won 17 consecutive games.
Deer Lakes (16-7) vs. Brookville (16-8)
6 p.m. Saturday at Clearfield HS
Winner plays: North Catholic (21-5) or Forest Hills (16-9) on Wednesday in the second round
Coaches: Terence Parham, Deer Lakes; Dalton Park, Brookville
Players to watch: Brad Perrotte, Deer Lakes (sr., G); Aaron Park, Brookville (jr., F)
How they got here: Deer Lakes, WPIAL sixth place (lost to North Catholic, 75-65, in quarterfinals); Brookville, District 9 champion (beat Moniteau, 54-35, in final, and Everett, 48-44, in PIAA subregional)
About Deer Lakes: The Lancers find themselves in the PIAA playoffs for the second time in school history and the first time since 1985. It’s been a season of ending droughts for Deer Lakes, which also won an outright section championship for the first time since 1992 and a WPIAL playoff game for the first time since ‘85. Perrotte, a two-year starter, averages a team-high 19 points for the Lancers.
About Brookville: The Raiders rallied from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat District 5 champion Everett in the state subregional to qualify for the PIAA tournament. Their state postseason record stands at 1-16, with the lone win coming in 1997 against Seton LaSalle. They lost in the first round in 2010, ‘11, ‘12 and ‘14. A defensive team, Brookville limited opponents to 47 points per game. The 6-2 Park was the only Raider to average double figures in scoring with 11.7 points and 7.9 rebounds.
Highlands (17-8) vs. Huntingdon (24-0)
8 p.m. Friday at Hollidaysburg HS
Winner plays: Hickory (24-1) or Ambridge (15-9) on Tuesday in the second round
Coaches: Tyler Stoczynski, Highlands; Nick Payne, Huntingdon
Players to watch: Johnny Crise, Highlands (jr., F); Nick Rigby, Huntingdon (sr., F)
How they got here: Highlands, WPIAL third place (lost 68-62 to New Castle in semifinals); Huntingdon, District 6 champion (beat Central, 40-27)
About Highlands: The Golden Rams are appearing in the PIAA tournament for the second consecutive season and third time in four years. They made the quarterfinals at the Class 5A level last season, falling to Mars. The 6-7 Crise posted a double-double in each of Highlands’ three WPIAL playoff games and averages 16.9 points, second behind Luke Cochran (19.3).
About Huntingdon: The Bearcats won their second consecutive District 6 championship by beating Central for the third time this season. Like Highlands, Huntingdon made it to the PIAA quarterfinals last season before losing to Quaker Valley. Rigby led Huntingdon in scoring, averaging 23.4 points and 6.9 rebounds, and scored in double figures each game. Junior Jackson Ritchey, a 6-5 forward, added 15 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. The Bearcats beat 22 of 24 opponents by double digits.
Leechburg (13-10) vs. Elk County Catholic (26-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Saint Mary’s HS
Winner plays: Vincentian (16-8) or St. Joseph’s Academy (19-5) on Tuesday in the second round
Coaches: Corey Smith, Leechburg; Aaron Straub, Elk County Catholic
Players to watch: Jake Blumer, Leechburg (jr., F); Carter Lindemuth, Elk County Catholic (jr., G)
How they got here: Leechburg, WPIAL sixth place (lost to Vincentian, 58-49, in quarterfinals); Elk County Catholic, District 9 champion (beat North Clarion, 52-43, in finals)
About Leechburg: The Blue Devils are in the PIAA playoffs for a second consecutive season. They lost 77-54 to District 10 runner-up Cambridge Springs in the 2018 first round while playing in Class 2A. Leechburg last played Feb. 21. The Blue Devils almost took down WPIAL top seed Vincentian, rallying from a 17-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth before running out of gas.
About Elk County Catholic: The Crusaders won the PIAA title in 2006, a run that began with a first-round victory over Leechburg. A 10-2 run to open the fourth quarter, sparked by six straight points by point guard Lindemuth, helped ECC win their 25th District 9 title. ECC advanced to the PIAA second round last season.
Fox Chapel (15-8) vs. Cumberland Valley (22-4)
5 p.m. Friday at Red Land HS
Winner plays: Abington (22-4) or Parkland (16-11) on Tuesday in the second round
Coaches: Jennifer O’Shea, Fox Chapel; William Wolf, Cumberland Valley
Players to watch: Megan Friday, Fox Chapel (sr., F); Julie Jekot, Cumberland Valley (so., G/F)
How they got here: Fox Chapel, WPIAL fifth place (lost to Peters Township, 57-23, in quarterfinals); Cumberland Valley, District 3 champion (beat Dallastown, 33-27, in finals)
About Fox Chapel: The Foxes scored two points apiece in the first and fourth quarters against undefeated Peters Township, scoring a season low in points. They’re making their first appearance in the PIAA tournament since 2014, when future Duke player Erin Mathias led the team to the quarterfinals. Fox Chapel allowed 42.1 points per game this season and held Peters Township well below its 70-point average. This is the Foxes’ first game since Feb. 22 and just their second since Feb. 11.
About Cumberland Valley: The Eagles won the District 3 championship for the first time since 2016 when they won the PIAA Class AAAA title. That completed a state three-peat for the team. Although Cumberland Valley averages just 48.3 points, its stingy defense allows 37.3 and held eight points to 30 points or fewer. The Eagles played three games against WPIAL opponents, beating Penn-Trafford, 51-28, and Plum, 49-30, and losing to Mt. Lebanon, 50-44, in overtime.
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
More High School Basketball• Gateway’s Lexi Jackson looks forward to career at Kent State
• Westmoreland notebook: Belle Vernon freshman’s research project catches eye of WNBA
• PIAA tightens competitive balance formula for football, basketball transfers
• Belle Vernon freshman Viva Kreis gets behind-the-scenes look at WNBA
• Burrell grad Fantuzzo returns to coach basketball at alma mater