Freeport girls draw 4th seed in Class 4A, will play Quaker Valley in opening round

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 | 10:48 PM

Let the games begin.

Eight Alle-Kiski Valley girls basketball teams discovered the who, where and when of their WPIAL-playoff fortunes Tuesday evening at the DoubleTree in Green Tree.

“This time of year is great,” Freeport coach Fred Soilis said. “WPIAL basketball is going on, and it goes right into the NCAA tournament. Our girls should be excited. We’re going to take care of the challenge at hand and come out swinging.”

Freeport (18-4), the runner-up to Class 4A top seed North Catholic in Section 1, is the highest-seeded A-K Valley girls squad with a No. 4 spot in the 4A bracket. The Yellowjackets will take on Quaker Valley on Monday at North Allegheny.

“We’re proud of the accomplishments we achieved so far, and now the focus is on Quaker Valley,” Soilis said. “Hopefully, we can do what we’ve been doing.”

The Yellowjackets’ lone losses this season have come to North Catholic (2), Class 6A Fox Chapel and Class A No. 1 West Greene. They capped their regular season Monday with a 41-39 victory over rival Deer Lakes (16-6).

Greensburg Salem, Knoch and Apollo-Ridge each finished 7-7 in Section 1-4A play, and head-to-head tiebreakers were used to determine that all three squads had earned berths.

Apollo-Ridge is the No. 11 seed and will face No. 6 Southmoreland (17-5), the runner-up in Section 3, Monday at Norwin.

“That’s who we expected to get,” Vikings coach Jim Callipare said. “We’re excited. They are a very good team. We’re up for the challenge. We have a few extra days. We don’t play until Monday. It gives us the weekend to prepare.”

Knoch (9-13) is seeded 12th and will face Section 3 champion Elizabeth Forward (15-7) in the first round Monday at Mt. Lebanon. The Knights punched their ticket on the final day of section play when Freeport defeated Apollo-Ridge.

“We’re glad to be in, first of all,” Knights coach Chris Andreassi said. “It’s Valentine’s week, and we owe the girls at Freeport a dozen roses.

“I’ve seen Elizabeth Forward on tape from watching other teams. They are a solid team, a very veteran group. It’s going to be a formidable task for us. But we’ll get ready and go at it.”

Deer Lakes (16-6) owns the No. 7 seed in the Class 3A bracket and will take on No. 10 Seton-La Salle (11-10) next Wednesday just a few miles up the road at Fox Chapel.

The Rebels won five of their final seven section games to wrap up third place in Section 2.

“Going into (the pairings announcement), this is what I predicted and what the newspapers predicted,” Deer Lakes coach Dave Petruska said. “I’ve already started my breakdown on them. I am very excited to see what my team can do against them.”

Plum (11-11) is hoping to end a WPIAL-playoff victory drought dating back to the early 2000s. The Mustangs are the No. 11 seed in the 5A bracket and will meet No. 6 Thomas Jefferson (16-6) next Tuesday at North Allegheny.

The Jaguars, the runner-up to top seed Chartiers Valley in Section 1, advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals and the PIAA second round last year.

“(Thomas Jefferson) is a well-coached team. They’re experienced from last year going pretty deep (in the playoffs),” Plum coach Steve Elsier said. “It’s a good matchup for us in the first round.”

There are only eight teams in the 6A bracket, and Fox Chapel (15-7), the fourth team from Section 1, has drawn No. 1 Peters Township (22-0). The teams will play their quarterfinal game Feb. 22 at a site to be determined.

The Foxes, back in the playoffs after a two-year hiatus, used a 4-1 stretch in the second half of section play to secure their spot in the postseason.

In Class 2A, Riverview (9-12), which finished in a three-way tie with Winchester Thurston and Ellis for third place in Section 2, is the No. 11 seed and will face No. 6 South Side (14-8) on Friday at Hampton.

“We’re playing a little better over the last couple of weeks, but they still have a lot of room to improve,” Riverview coach Keith Stitt said. “We’ll give it our best and see what happens. It’s always exciting for the kids.”

In Class A, Leechburg, which lost all five starters from last year’s team, punched its ticket to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. The Blue Devils (7-12), the fourth-place team from Section 3, drew the No. 12 seed and will battle No. 5 Vincentian (10-11) on Tuesday at Hampton.

The WPIAL championship games will be from Feb. 28 to March 2 at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center.

Five WPIAL teams from 6A and 5A will qualify for the PIAA tournament, as will seven teams in 4A and six teams in 3A, 2A and A.

Placement in the PIAA brackets will be determined by the follow-the-leader format.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at [email protected] or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.

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