Alle-Kiski Valley high school basketball playoff preview capsules for Feb. 20, 2024

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Monday, February 19, 2024 | 5:30 PM


WPIAL basketball playoffs

Girls

Class 5A

First round

9-Plum (13-9) at 8-North Hills (13-8)

Tuesday, 7 p.m., North Hills Middle School

Winner plays: Winner of 16-Penn Hills (12-11) and 1-Oakland Catholic (22-0)

Section finish: Plum 2nd, Section 1; North Hills T-1st, Section 2

Players to watch: Megan Marston, Plum; Gianna Sturdivant, North Hills

Layup lines: Plum fell just short of its first section title with a runner-up finish to No. 7 seed Indiana. Plum is fronted by three senior starters including Marston, a Case Western Reserve commit and 1,000-point scorer who averaged 17.8 points during the regular season. Senior Pascale Olczak, an Allegheny commit, is a rebounding and shot-blocking threat. Plum is hoping to bounce back after losing four of five to end the regular season. The Mustangs are in the playoffs for the second straight season. … North Hills finished tied with Armstrong, the fifth seed, for the top spot in Section 2. It is the first section title for the Indians program in 44 years. Sturdivant and fellow senior guard Olivia Waters earned Section 2 first-team all-star honors. North Hills won its final four games of the regular season, all in section, after a loss to Armstrong on Jan. 22. The Indians beat the River Hawks in a high-scoring overtime contest a week before Christmas. North Hills averaged 50.8 points in the regular season.

Class 4A

First round

11-Belle Vernon (10-12) at 6-Knoch (12-9)

7 p.m. Tuesday

Winner plays: At 3-Elizabeth Forward (20-2) on Friday (time TBD)

Section finish: Belle Vernon 4th, Section 3; Knoch T-4th, Section 1

Players to watch: Kenzi Seliga, Belle Vernon; Naturelle Ewing, Knoch

Layup lines: Belle Vernon is trying to remain positive momentum after losing 3 of its last 4 games. The Leopards only average 35.2 points but yield just 39. Their highest total in a loss is 41. Key players include Seliga, Caroline Lee and Saylor Lee, who has multiple double-doubles. … Knoch picked up momentum with six wins in its last eight games, including a victory over Greensburg Salem and an overtime loss to a good 3A team in Neshannock. Adah Fuller, Ewing and Liv Foster are key scorers. The Lady Knights allow 35 points a game.

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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