Five things to watch in the WPIAL girls basketball quarterfinals

Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 8:46 AM

It took five playing days and nearly a week’s time, but the opening round of the 2019 WPIAL girls basketball playoffs is in the books. Now, it’s down to the Elite Eight in each classification with not only berths in the district semifinals up for grabs, but state playoff berths, as well. Here are five things to watch for the 24 games that make up the quarterfinals on the Path to the Pete. 1. Remember us? While the other five classifications cut the red tape on their postseason play in the first round, the eight-team playoff field in Class 6A had to sit around and wait to get a taste of playoff action. Finally, all eight teams hit the court Friday. Top-seeded Peters Township will face Fox Chapel at Mt. Lebanon. Two-time defending champion North Allegheny takes on Upper St. Clair at West Allegheny. Norwin, the 2015 and 2016 WPIAL champion, goes up against Mt. Lebanon at Fox Chapel. And, 2013 district winner Bethel Park battles Seneca Valley at North Allegheny. All four games tip off at 6:30 p.m. Friday. 2. Rust or rest Outside of 6A, 16 district girls basketball teams were spectators for the first round after earning byes into the quarterfinals. So now the question is will these teams be rested for their playoff debut or will they be rusty after two weeks off? How many days will it have been since their last game when these teams tip off? Chartiers Valley — 12 days Oakland Catholic — 12 days Gateway — 12 days Penn Hills — 12 days North Catholic — 10 days Central Valley — 10 days Blackhawk — 10 days Neshannock — 12 days South Park — 12 days Shady Side Academy — 12 days Bishop Canevin — 12 days Brentwood — 15 days West Greene — 15 days Rochester — 11 days Greensburg Central Catholic — 11 days Clairton — 18 days 3. Road to Hershey Every team that wins in the quarterfinals clinches a berth in the PIAA playoffs. However, some teams that lose in Round 2 also will participate in the PIAA postseason … eventually. Once again this season, the WPIAL will play follow the winner in order to determine the postseason representatives in the state playoffs. The number of teams that will qualify from each class are: 6A – 5 teams 5A – 5 teams 4A – 7 teams 3A – 6 teams 2A – 6 teams A – 6 teams In Class 6A and 5A, the four semifinalists and the team that loses to the champion in the quarterfinals qualify. In Class 3A, 2A and A, the four semifinalists and the two teams that lost to the finalists in the quarterfinals qualify. In Class 4A, the four semifinalists, the two teams that lost to the finalists in the quarterfinals and the team that lost to the team in the quarterfinals that lost to the team in the semifinals of the eventual champion advances. 4. Section rematches Three of the second-round contests will mark the third meeting of the year between section rivals. In Class 5A, top-seeded Chartiers Valley takes on Trinity. On their way to a perfect regular season, the Colts beat the Hillers twice by margins of 26 and 12 points. In Class 2A, No. 2 Brentwood will face Winchester Thurston. The Spartans swept the Bears in their two section games by a margin of 17 and 23 points. Also in Class 2A, Laurel and South Side collide for a third time with the Spartans looking for a third victory, having won by margins of 3 and 28 points. 5. Scoring drought You have to score the basketball to win, but some of the top scorers in WPIAL girls basketball during the regular season are not around in the quarterfinals. Only four of the top 10 scorers are still alive in search of a district championship to cap off their great seasons. Makenna Marisa of Peters Township, Gillian Piccolino of Keystone Oaks, Jenna Clark of Thomas Jefferson and Taylor Kirschner of Quigley Catholic carry their scoring touch into Round 2, as all four are averaging over 20 points per game. Maybe defense does win championships.

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