Girls basketball returns to section play as part of 3 things to watch Thursday in WPIAL athletics

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018 | 4:57 PM


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Section play resumes for the first time in 2018 for most WPIAL girls basketball teams Thursday. One of the better matchups is a Royal Blue battle of top 5 teams in Section 2-2A.

Both Leechburg and Vincentian Academy are not only tied for first place with Brentwood with 3-0 section records, but the Blue Devils and Royals also have identical 7-1 overall marks, with Leechburg having won its last five and Vincentian Academy winners of six in a row.

The Royals cruised to convincing wins in both matchups a year ago by scores of 74-41 and 76-41. Those two wins were part of a perfect 14-0 section record for Vincentian Academy last season while Leechburg finished in third place.

The first of two meetings between the two can be heard on the TribLIVE High School Sports Network at 7:30 p.m.

Headed poolside

While Southwestern Pennsylvania continues to be locked in a frigid weather pattern, with temps near or at single digits for the second week in a row, an indoor swimming pool brings some much needed warm thoughts.

Most of the WPIAL boys and girls swimming teams will begin section competition Thursday. There is always some urgency to these meets since district swim teams have only six or seven section events total.

These teams are looking to successfully repeat as section champions from last year:

BOYS — Hempfield (Section 1-3A), North Allegheny (Section 2-3A), Franklin Regional (Section 3-3A), Peters Township (Section 4-3A), West Allegheny (Section 5-3A), Carlynton (Section 1-2A), Quaker Valley (Section 2-2A), Northgate (Section 3-2A), Derry (Section 4-2A), Elizabeth Forward (Section 5-2A).

GIRLS — Penn-Trafford (Section 1-3A), North Allegheny (Section 2-3A), Fox Chapel (Section 3-3A), Upper St. Clair (Section 4-3A), West Allegheny (Section 5-3A), Carlynton (Section 1-2A), Quaker Valley (Section 2-2A), Shady Side Academy (Section 3-2A), Indiana (Section 4-2A), Elizabeth Forward (Section 5-2A).

Busy night on ice

The holiday break ends for 28 PIHL hockey teams Thursday. The 14 games are highlighted by a Class 3A battle of South Hills rivals and a couple of Class 2A contests with teams looking to play a little leap frog.

Mt. Lebanon and Bethel Park square off for the second and final time this regular season with both teams bringing 5-5-1-0 records into the game. The Blue Devils beat the Black Hawks, 4-1, on Oct. 9. That was part of an 0-5 start for Bethel Park, which has won five games with an overtime loss in its last six outings.

Meanwhile in 2A's North/West Division, Mars (12 points) looks to jump over Hampton (13 points) for third place when the Fighting Planets host the Talbots, while the same scenario exists in a fight for second place in the South/East Division where Upper St. Clair (13 points) hosts Latrobe (14 points).

Don Rebel is a TribLIVE High School Sports Network broadcaster and staff writer. Reach him at [email protected].

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