Alle-Kiski Valley PIAA basketball playoff preview: Games of Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Monday, March 7, 2022 | 6:16 PM
Winner plays: Winner of 7-1 Laurel Highlands (25-0)/3-9 Elizabethtown (16-10) on Friday in the second round (site and time TBD)
Layup lines: Brashear’s postseason run began with an upset victory over Obama in the City League semifinals. The Bulls then lost to Allderdice in the championship game. Brashear is 1-1 so far in the PIAA playoffs with a win over District 10’s General McLane in a regional semifinal. The Bulls still are alive in the state playoffs despite a one-point loss to District 9’s DuBois in a regional title game last Friday. Against McLane, Brashear led by double digits in the first quarter and kept the pace throughout the game. Three players led the way in double figures, fronted by Titus Gillett with 26 points and Kameron Cheatom with 17. Rasheed Saunders added 10 points for the Bulls. Brashear will take part in the PIAA playoffs for the first time since 2008 when it lost a play-in game at Franklin Regional, 88-76 … Highlands returns to action after losing to undefeated WPIAL champion Laurel Highlands, 61-44, in the semifinals Feb 28. The Golden Rams were held to their lowest point output in any game this season. The previous low was 51 in a 60-51 loss to Montour at the Montour holiday tournament. Highlands is averaging 69.8 points and has given up 51.1 points a contest. Senior Jimmy Kunst is averaging 21.1 points through 25 games. Also scoring in double digits are Bradyn Foster (12.0) and Carter Leri (10.8). Highlands lost to Trinity in last year’s PIAA first round. The Golden Rams rode the wave in 2020, winning the WPIAL Class 5A title before making it to the second round of states.
7-6 Burrell (14-9) at 10-1 Fairview (23-2), 7 p.m.
Winner plays: Winner of 7-3 Lincoln Park (17-7)/6-2 Central (Martinsburg) (19-6) in PIAA second round Friday (time, site TBD)
Layup lines: Burrell hasn’t played since falling to WPIAL runner-up Montour in the WPIAL quarterfinals Feb. 23. The Bucs qualified for the PIAA playoffs as the sixth seed in District 7 via the WPIAL’s follow-the-leader format. Burrell won three of its final four games in the regular season and then defeated Elizabeth Forward in the first round. Against Montour, Brandon Coury had 20 points, Macky Bennis added 13 and Donovan Callahan scored 11. … Fairview locked up the District 10 title over the weekend with a 61-38 win over Oil City. It was the Tigers’ seventh district championship. After scoring 23 points in the title game, James Sitter surpassed 1,000 career points last week. Jeremy Frazao added 14 points in the win.
7-5 Deer Lakes (16-6) vs. 6-1 Penn Cambria (21-5)
7 p.m., at Central Cambria
Winner plays: Winner of 7-2 Montour (20-5)/10-2 Oil City (16-9) in PIAA second round Friday (time, site TBD)
Layup lines: Deer Lakes will make the trip to Ebensburg on Tuesday after being idle the past 13 days after a 66-34 quarterfinal loss to eventual WPIAL champion Quaker Valley. Because QV won the district title, the Lancers were awarded the WPIAL’s fifth-place seed in the state tournament. Deer Lakes finished the regular season third in Section 1 won won its final four games. The Lancers also beat Blackhawk, 39-37, in the first round when senior Justin Brannagan hit a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left. Senior forward Armend Karpuzzi added 24 points in the win. Brannagan and Lucas Tiglio each had eight points in the quarterfinal loss to QV. … Penn Cambria captured the District 6 title last week with a 52-45 win over Central (Martinsburg). It was the Panthers’ first district title since 2013. Junior forward Garrett Harrold scored 18 points, and senior Kyle Reese and Tyrelle Rolle each had 17 points. Penn Cambria is looking for its first PIAA playoff win since 2003.
7-7 Apollo-Ridge (16-6) at 10-1 West Middlesex (20-3)
Winner plays: Winner of 7-2 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (21-5)/6-3 Bellwood-Antis (21-6) on Friday in the second round (site and time TBD)
Layup lines: West Middlesex is a regular in the PIAA playoffs, having won the Class 2A state title in 2019. Senior standouts Carlie Beatty and Emily Anthony are ones to watch Tuesday. The Reds trailed Maplewood by 16 points in the first half of their District 10 title game Saturday before rallying for the victory 61-50. Beatty led West Middlesex with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Anthony added 19 points, eight assists, and six steals. Anthony (1,180) and Beatty (1,178) are almost identical in career points. The District 10 crown was the sixth in program history … Apollo-Ridge returns to action after having last played Feb. 24 in a quarterfinal loss to eventual WPIAL runner-up Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. The Vikings, with no seniors on the roster, set themselves up for the PIAA playoffs with a gutsy 40-39 win at Fort Cherry three days earlier. Junior Brinley Toland scored 18 points to lead Apollo-Ridge in the victory. The Vikings are averaging 48 points and surrendering 36.5. Apollo-Ridge has been in the postseason 25 times in Ray Bartha’s 36 years as head coach. The Vikings’ last PIAA playoff game was in 2006 when they lost to OLSH, 40-30, at Plum.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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