Bowling teams turn attention to WPIBL championship tournaments

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Monday, February 10, 2020 | 11:59 AM


The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Bowling League regular season has concluded, and the top individual bowlers and teams are shifting their focus to championship opportunities at the local, regional and state levels.

The WPIBL boys and girls team championships take center stage this week. Eighteen boys and eighteen girls teams — the top two from each section — will meet for league supremacy, and for some of them, it also means the opportunity to punch their tickets to the Western Regional the first weekend in March.

The Franklin Regional boys, led by the exploits of senior Alex Smith, will be gunning for their third WPIBL team title in a row Wednesday at Nesbit’s Lanes in Plum. The Panthers upended returning qualifier North Allegheny in last year’s finals.

The Burrell girls, paced by sophomore Lydia Flanagan and senior Ashley Smith, hope to make it two in a row after topping the field in 2019. Attempting to prevent that repeat Thursday at Princess Lanes in Whitehall is a group of squads which includes last year’s runner up, Butler.

The Butler girls are one of 14 boys and girls teams to win a section championship with an undefeated record.

The boys’ field will include Hempfield (10-0) and Latrobe (8-2) from the Southeast section, Butler (10-0) and North Allegheny (8-2) from the North, Penn Hills (10-0) and Plum (8-2) from the East, Blackhawk (10-0) and Beaver Falls (7-3) from the Northwest, Norwin (10-0) and McKeesport (8-2) from the Center, Moon (10-0) and Avonworth (8-2) from the West, Montour (10-0) and Carlynton (8-2) from the Southwest, Central Catholic (10-0) and Steel Valley (7-3) from the South, and Franklin Regional (9-1) and Freeport (7-3) from the Northeast.

The girls’ qualifiers to the WPIBL team finals are Greensburg Salem (10-0) and Hempfield (8-2) from the Southeast, Butler (10-0) and Shaler (8-2) from the North, Penn Hills (8-2) and Burrell (8-2) from the East, Blackhawk (8-2) and New Castle (7-3) from the Northwest, McKeesport (10-0) and Norwin (7-3) from the Center, Moon (10-0) and North Hills (6-4) from the West, Montour (10-0) and OLSH (6-4) from the Southwest, Elizabeth Forward (10-0) and Thomas Jefferson (7-3) from the South, and Franklin Regional (9-1) and Freeport (9-1) from the Northeast.

In the girls East section, Penn Hills, Burrell and Plum finished in a three-way tie at 8-2.

Since each team went 2-2 against the other two, a tiebreaker — match points — was used to determine the two teams to move on to the WPIBL tournament. Penn Hills finished with 16, Burrell 14 and Plum 12, so the Mustangs were eliminated.

Another tiebreaker then was used — head-to-head match points between Penn Hills and Burrell — to determine who would earn the top spot from the section and who would be No. 2.

Penn Hills won that tiebreaker.

The top team in each boys and girls section from the regular season automatically qualifies for the regional tournament slated for March 7. The top seven finishers from the nine No. 2 teams at each WPIBL tournament also earn regional berths.

The Franklin Regional and Freeport girls needed a tiebreaker to determine the automatic regional qualifier from the Northeast. Regular-season team points were used, and Franklin Regional won that with 63 points to Freeport’s 61.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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