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

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Monday, July 25, 2022 | 10:22 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 girls basketball season:

2021-22 WPIAL champions

Class 6A: Mt. Lebanon

Class 5A: South Fayette

Class 4A: Blackhawk

Class 3A: North Catholic

Class 2A: Neshannock

Class A: Bishop Canevin

Notable changes

• The girls basketball teams at North Catholic and Neshannock celebrated WPIAL championships last season. If they are to repeat next winter, they will do so in a higher classification.

After winning the Class 3A title, North Catholic moved up to 4A for the next two-year cycle.

The Trojanettes won the 4A title four straight years (2017-20) before dropping down to 3A for the past two years.

Neshannock won the past two WPIAL Class 2A championships and has moved up to 3A.

• Class 6A will be a bit smaller for this cycle, dropping from 15 teams to 13. North Hills, Shaler and Penn-Trafford dropped to 5A. Chartiers Valley, the WPIAL 5A runner up last year and WPIAL 5A champion in 2017, ’19, ’20 and ’21, moved up to 6A and will join Section 2. To balance the sections, Hempfield moved over to the six-team Section 1.

• In Class 5A, Sections 1 and 4 will have a different look. Section 1 will be made up of teams from the East Suburbs and beyond, including Franklin Regional, Gateway, Penn Hills and Woodland Hills, who moved over from Section 4, along with Section 2 transfers Indiana, Kiski Area and Plum.

Section 4 will include Section 1 transfers Lincoln Park, Moon, West Allegheny and defending champion South Fayette, along with Trinity and Montour, which moved up from 4A.

New Castle also moved up from 4A and will join Section 2.

• In addition to North Catholic moving up, Class 4A gained four teams that dropped down a class — Greensburg Salem, Laurel Highlands, Uniontown and Ringgold.

• Class 3A grew from 21 to 24 teams for this cycle, as Burrell, Deer Lakes, Ligonier Valley and Mt. Pleasant dropped down a class and will join Section 3. Yough also dropped down and will be part of a new-look Section 4 with Section 2 transfers Brownsville, Charleroi, McGuffey, South Park and Waynesburg Central.

Neshannock, OLSH, Seton LaSalle and Apollo-Ridge also moved up from 2A.

• Freedom, Brentwood, Steel Valley, Bentworth and Washington dropped down, and Rochester and Clairton moved up a classification to give Class 2A 27 teams.

There was lots of inter-sectional movement as well. Former Section 2 rivals Beth-Center, California, Carmichaels and Frazier moved over to Section 4 and will compete with Bentworth, Chartiers-Houston and Washington.

Section 3 will feature familiar foes Greensburg Central Catholic, Springdale, Ellis School and Winchester Thurston, as well as Clairton, Steel Valley and Serra Catholic.

Former Section 3 opponents Burgettstown, Carlynton and Fort Cherry will join Section 2 with Brentwood and holdovers Northgate and Sto-Rox.

• In Class A, Jeannette dropped down from 2A and will join Section 3 with Hillel Academy, Leechburg, Riverview and St. Joseph. Aquinas Academy moved from Section 3 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.

Coming and going

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

Past champions

• North Catholic added to its WPIAL leading number of WPIAL titles last season, claiming its 21st championship and fifth in the past six years.

• The Trojanettes are trailed by Vincentian Academy (11), Mt. Alvernia (8), Blackhawk (8), Penn Hills (8), Geibel (7), Seton LaSalle (7), Avonworth (6), Bishop Canevin (6), Oakland Catholic (6), Upper St. Clair (6), Baldwin (5), Greensburg Central Catholic (5) and North Allegheny (5).

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 (13 teams)

Section 1: Butler, Hempfield, North Allegheny, Norwin, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley

Section 2: Baldwin, Bethel Park, Canon-McMillan, Chartiers Valley, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Township, Upper St. Clair

Class 5A (27 teams)

Section 1: Franklin Regional, Gateway, Indiana, Kiski Area, Penn Hills, Plum, Woodland Hills

Section 2: Armstrong, Fox Chapel, Hampton, Mars, New Castle, North Hills, Shaler

Section 3: Albert Gallatin, Connellsville, Latrobe, McKeesport, Oakland Catholic, Penn-Trafford, Thomas Jefferson

Section 4: Lincoln Park, Montour, Moon, South Fayette, Trinity, West Allegheny

Class 4A (20 teams)

Section 1: Derry, Freeport, Greensburg Salem, Highlands, Knoch, North Catholic, Valley

Section 2: Ambridge, Beaver, Blackhawk, Central Valley, Hopewell, Quaker Valley

Section 3: Belle Vernon, Elizabeth Forward, Laurel Highlands, Southmoreland, Uniontown, Ringgold, West Mifflin

Class 3A (24 teams)

Section 1: Beaver Falls, Ellwood City, Laurel, Mohawk, Neshannock, Riverside

Section 2: Avonworth, East Allegheny, Keystone Oaks, OLSH, Seton LaSalle, South Allegheny

Section 3: Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, Deer Lakes, Ligonier Valley, Mt. Pleasant, Shady Side Academy

Section 4: Brownsville, Charleroi, McGuffey, South Park, Waynesburg Central, Yough

Class 2A (27 teams)

Section 1: Aliquippa, Freedom, New Brighton, Rochester, Sewickley Academy, Shenango, South Side

Section 2: Brentwood, Burgettstown, Carlynton, Fort Cherry, Northgate, Sto-Rox

Section 3: Clairton, Ellis School, Greensburg C.C., Serra Catholic, Springdale, Steel Valley, Winchester Thurston

Section 4: Bentworth, Beth-Center, California, Carmichaels, Chartiers-Houston, Frazier, Washington

Class A (16 teams)

Section 1: Aquinas Academy, Bishop Canevin, Cornell, Eden Christian, Union

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

Section 3: Hillel Academy, Jeannette, Leechburg, Riverview, St. Joseph

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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