First round of PIAA basketball playoffs continues Saturday

Friday, March 6, 2020 | 11:54 PM

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

Two area boys basketball teams that were on opposite sides of the emotional hoops scale only 10 days ago meet Saturday in the opening round of the PIAA Class 6A boys basketball playoffs.

City League runner-up Allderdice was trailing Altoona, 49-48, in a PIAA subregional game with time running down.

Senior Blake Haber hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer as the Dragons kept their season alive in dramatic fashion.

That same night, Upper St. Clair led Butler by five points with less than one minute left in regulation when Purdue recruit Ethan Morton took over with two free throws and a conventional three-point play to force overtime.

The Golden Tornado won 83-78, ending the Panthers’ hopes of their first district crown in 15 years.

Allderdice and Upper St. Clair square off at Fox Chapel at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The Panthers beat the Dragons in the second game of the season, 74-61, on Dec. 7.

Super girls

Since the PIAA expanded to six classifications four years ago, WPIAL teams have had their ups and downs in the first round of the state basketball playoffs.

However, no classification can touch the dominance girls Class 5A has had in Round 1.

In the three previous seasons, WPIAL girls teams from 5A have gone an incredible 14-2 in the first round.

What is even more amazing is that the two losses came when district teams went head-to-head. Trinity lost to Gateway in 2018 and then fell to Thomas Jefferson in the opening round last season.

The success by the WPIAL in 5A girls hasn’t stopped after opening weekend.

The district has sent three straight teams to Hershey to play in the finals with Mars in 2018 and Chartiers Valley in 2019 winning state championships.

The fab five 5A teams in action on Saturday are Chartiers Valley taking on District 10 Warren, Thomas Jefferson against District 6 Portage, Woodland Hills battling District 10 Grove City and Trinity once again facing a WPIAL team when they square off against Penn Hills.

Classic matchup

Two of the best boys basketball programs in Western Pa. collide Saturday afternoon in a Class 3A first-round game when Aliquippa faces Sharon at Farrell at 4 p.m.

The two successful programs have combined for 116 state basketball victories and seven PIAA championships.

The Quips are the No. 4 team out of the WPIAL after losing to Lincoln Park in the semifinals while the Tigers are the District 10 runner-up after falling to Fairview in the finals.

Both teams are 16-9.

Surprisingly, the two teams have played in a combined 161 PIAA tournament contests and this marks the first ever meeting between the two programs in the state playoffs.

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