Key WPIAL basketball section finales make for an exciting Friday on hardwood

Thursday, February 6, 2020 | 11:51 PM

It has been the most dominant section in its class for a decade, so there is no surprise that nothing has been settled coming down to the final night of section play in Section 2-4A.

This section produced four champions in a six-year span from 2011-2016 when these teams were in Class AAA before the six-class expansion.

Since the expansion in 2017, the section has produced both the champion and runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Of course, in all three years, it was New Castle defeating Quaker Valley in the 4A title game.

This season, one game separates the four playoff bound teams and a fifth team still has a chance to crash the postseason party.

Quaker Valley and Blackhawk are tied for the lead with 8-3 records, a half-game ahead of 7-3 Ambridge and one game in front of 7-4 New Castle.

The Quakers conclude their section schedule Friday with a big home game against the Bridgers, while the Cougars visit Beaver.

Central Valley (6-5) looked like its playoff hoped were dashed a few weeks ago, but a late surge has the Warriors still alive as they host Beaver on Friday.

If CV wins and New Castle loses or Ambridge loses twice, the Warriors are in.

Things may not be settled until Saturday when New Castle hosts Ambridge in the final section game of the WPIAL boys basketball season.

Section up for grabs

While most of the section championships have been decided, the only other head-to-head game besides Section 2-4A is in Section 2-2A.

Jeannette is 10-1 and has clinched at least a share of the section championship as it prepares to visit Serra Catholic (9-2) on Friday.

A Jayhawks win gives them the outright section title while an Eagles victory makes the two teams co-champs heading into the 2A postseason.

Sophomore Anton Good scored 24 points as Jeannette used a big second quarter to pull away from Serra Catholic, 75-47, in the first meeting Jan. 14.

Girls crown up for grabs

While the focus will be on WPIAL boys basketball Friday, one girls showdown will decide a section championship.

Gateway and Plum are tied for first place in Section 2-5A with 9-2 records as they meet Friday at Plum.

The Mustangs won a defensive battle in the first meeting at Gateway, 41-27, holding the host Gators to single-digit points in each quarter.

Junior Kennedie Montue had a game-high 14 points for Plum, while senior Lexi Jackson led Gateway with 13.

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