Breaking down changes to the 2022-23, 2023-24 WPIAL boys basketball alignment

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Tuesday, July 19, 2022 | 10:48 AM


The WPIAL released new section alignments for the next two-year cycle in all sports, and changes will be implemented starting this fall.

This summer, the Tribune-Review will break down changes for each of the WPIAL sports.

Here’s a look at the upcoming WPIAL boys basketball season:

2021-22 WPIAL championships

Class 6A: Fox Chapel

Class 5A: Laurel Highlands

Class 4A: Quaker Valley

Class 3A: Shady Side Academy

Class 2A: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Class A: Bishop Canevin

Notable changes

• Four of the six returning WPIAL champion boys basketball teams will be in new classes in the new two-year cycle.

Fox Chapel (6A champ) dropped down to 5A, Laurel Highlands (5A champ) dropped down to 4A, OLSH (2A champ) moved up to 3A, and Bishop Canevin (A champ) moved up to 2A. Quaker Valley stayed in 4A and Shady Side Academy remained in 3A.

• Class 4A had a notable increase of teams, jumping from three sections and 22 teams to four sections with 25 teams. Most notably, Lincoln Park and North Catholic, who have played in the WPIAL finals in four of the past six seasons, will share Section 2. Montour and Quaker Valley, who met in the WPIAL finals last year, moved from Section 2 to 4 with Avonworth, East Allegheny and South Allegheny, who all moved up from 3A, and West Mifflin, which dropped down from 5A.

Also in 4A, Section 1 will have a new look, as Greensburg Salem dropped down two classes from 6A, and Hampton, Highlands and Indiana all came down from 5A to join holdovers Freeport and Knoch.

In addition, Albert Gallatin and WPIAL 5A champion Laurel Highlands dropped down a class to join Section 3.

• Class 6A shrunk from three sections and 17 teams to two sections with six teams each. New Castle, a WPIAL 5A finalist last year, moved up to join Section 1. Hempfield and Norwin moved into Section 2 from the defunct Section 3.

• Class 5A gained five teams that dropped down from 6A — Bethel Park and Peters Township in Section 1, WPIAL champion Fox Chapel in Section 2, Penn-Trafford in Section 3, and 6A runner-up North Hills in Section 4.

Section 2-5A will be all new as Armstrong, Plum and Shaler came over from Section 4, and Penn Hills and Woodland Hills moved from Section 3.

Chartiers Valley, Moon, South Fayette and West Allegheny moved from Section 2 to Section 4-5A with North Hills and holdover Mars.

• New to Class 3A this winter will be Keystone Oaks and South Park in Section 2; Burrell, Deer Lakes and Derry in Section 3; and Mt. Pleasant and Yough in Section 4. All dropped down from 4A.

Section 2 will be all new as WPIAL 2A champion OLSH and Sto-Rox moved up from 2A, Steel Valley joined from Section 3, and Brentwood slid over from Section 4. Holdover Seton LaSalle also welcomed nearby Keystone Oaks and South Park.

• Class 2A changes are highlighted by Aliquippa and Laurel dropping down to join Section 1, and Beth-Center dropping into Section 4.

Section 2 will have four teams that moved up from Class A in WPIAL champion Bishop Canevin, Eden Christian, Propel Montour and Nazareth Prep.

Leechburg moved up to Section 3 and will be joined by nearby rivals Riverview and Springdale, who moved over from Section 1.

Burgettstown, Chartiers-Houston and Fort Cherry all transferred from Section 2 to 4.

• Five teams dropped down to Class A — Carlynton, California, Jefferson-Morgan, Monessen and Summit Academy (from 3A). Also, Avella moved over from Section 2 to 1.

Status quo

WPIAL board members considered splitting public and private school basketball teams into separate sections, but ultimately decided to revisit that idea for the next two-year cycle.

In and out

• Propel Andrew Street will not have a WPIAL schedule this season. They will be replaced in Section 3-A by Hillel Academy.

Past champions

• New Castle holds the designation as the WPIAL’s leader in WPIAL championships with 14. The Red Hurricanes have won four titles in the past six years.

Farrell (13), Aliquippa (12), Duquesne (12) and Beaver Falls (10) round out the top five for WPIAL championships.

Key dates

Nov. 18: First practice date

Nov. 25: First scrimmage date

Dec. 2: First play date

Dec. 15-16: First section dates

Feb. 13: WPIAL pairings meeting

March 2-4: WPIAL championships

March 23-25: PIAA championships

2022-23, 2023-24 alignment

Class 6A (12 teams)

Section 1: Butler, Central Catholic, New Castle, North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley

Section 2: Baldwin, Canon-McMillan, Hempfield, Mt. Lebanon, Norwin, Upper St. Clair

Class 5A (24 teams)

Section 1: Bethel Park, Connellsville, Peters Township, Ringgold, Thomas Jefferson, Trinity

Section 2: Armstrong, Fox Chapel, Penn Hills, Plum, Shaler, Woodland Hills

Section 3: Franklin Regional, Gateway, Kiski Area, Latrobe, McKeesport, Penn-Trafford

Section 4: Chartiers Valley, Mars, Moon, North Hills, South Fayette, West Allegheny

Class 4A (25 teams)

Section 1: Freeport, Greensburg Salem, Hampton, Highlands, Indiana, Knoch

Section 2: Ambridge, Beaver, Blackhawk, Central Valley, Hopewell, Lincoln Park, North Catholic

Section 3: Albert Gallatin, Belle Vernon, Elizabeth Forward, Laurel Highlands, Southmoreland, Uniontown

Section 4: Avonworth, East Allegheny, Montour, Quaker Valley, South Allegheny, West Mifflin

Class 3A (28 teams)

Section 1: Beaver Falls, Ellwood City, Freedom, Mohawk, Neshannock, New Brighton, Riverside

Section 2: Brentwood, Keystone Oaks, Seton LaSalle, South Park, Steel Valley, Sto-Rox, OLSH

Section 3: Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, Deer Lakes, Derry, Ligonier Valley, Shady Side Academy, Valley

Section 4: Brownsville, Charleroi, McGuffey, Mt. Pleasant, Washington, Waynesburg, Yough

Class 2A (26 teams)

Section 1: Aliquippa, Laurel, Northgate, Sewickley Academy, Shenango, South Side

Section 2: Bishop Canevin, Eden Christian, Nazareth Prep, Propel Braddock Hills, Propel Montour, Winchester Thurston

Section 3: Clairton, Greensburg C.C., Jeannette, Leechburg, Riverview, Serra Catholic, Springdale

Section 4: Bentworth, Beth-Center, Burgettstown, Carmichaels, Chartiers-Houston, Fort Cherry, Frazier

Class A (18 teams)

Section 1: Avella, Carlynton, Cornell, Rochester, Union, Western Beaver

Section 2: California, Geibel, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, Monessen, West Greene

Section 3: Aquinas Academy, Hillel Academy, Imani Christian, Neighborhood Academy, St. Joseph, Summit Academy

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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