More PIAA playoff factoids as the 2nd round continues Wednesday

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 | 10:56 PM

Everybody wants a second chance.

The PIAA basketball playoffs are a second chance at winning a championship for teams that did not win their respective district.

On Wednesday, the Upper St. Clair boys get the ultimate second chance: a rematch against WPIAL Class 6A champion Butler, which knocked the Panthers out of the district playoffs, in a PIAA second-round game at North Allegheny.

USC led Butler by five points with less than 1 minute left in their semifinals game when Golden Tornado senior Ethan Morton took over. He hit two free throws after a controversial blocking foul, then on Butler’s next possession, made a conventional 3-point play to tie the score and send it into overtime.

The Golden Tornado won, 83-78, and continued their run to a first WPIAL boys basketball crown in nearly 30 years.

“It should be a great game,” Upper St. Clair coach Danny Holzer said. “It’s a battle between two really good teams with a chance to advance to the state quarterfinals. It will be a great challenge for us, but we are excited about the opportunity.”

Morton, a Purdue recruit, was hobbled in the second half and overtime of Butler’s PIAA first-round win over Central Dauphin. He is expected to play.

Boys second-round factoids

• WPIAL Class 6A runner-up Mt. Lebanon heads to Chambersburg to play District 1 runner-up Cheltenham, which has only reached the state quarterfinals twice. They did it in 1994 and in 1968, when they reached the state title game, only to lose to Laurel Highlands, 63-56. That game was the only other time Cheltenham has played a WPIAL team.

• Defending PIAA Class 3A champion Lincoln Park has a short but rich history of success in the state playoffs. Its opponent in the second round does not. The Leopards face District 9 champion Brookville at Armstrong. Brookville beat Neshannock in the first round, improving its all-time state playoff record to 2-17. Its only other PIAA victory was in the first round of the 1997 playoffs against Seton LaSalle.

• Also at Armstrong, South Allegheny faces District 6 champion Richland. The Rams, the state runner-up two years ago, beat Seton LaSalle in the second round last season before losing to Lincoln Park in the quarterfinals. The Gladiators first-round win over Franklin was their first state playoff win.

• WPIAL Class 3A champion North Catholic faces a stiff challenge in Aliquippa at North Hills. The Trojans beat the Quips in the 2019 WPIAL semifinals, 61-49. However, Aliquippa has twice knocked off North Catholic in the PIAA postseason, winning in both the 1989 and 2009 quarterfinals.

• Two WPIAL teams that did not win their respective sections and lost in the district quarterfinals meet at Peters Township. Beaver Falls is 60-25 all-time in the PIAA postseason, and Carlynton sits at 13-7 after both teams picked up opening-round victories.

• WPIAL Class 2A champion Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is trying to reach the state quarterfinals for the fourth straight year after winning second round games over Bishop McCort in 2017, Coudersport in 2018 and Lakeview last season. The Chargers face District 6 runner-up Portage at Greensburg Salem. The Mustangs first-round win over Cambridge Springs was only the second in school history and first since 2015.

• WPIAL Class 2A runner-up Sto-Rox will play District 10 champion Lakeview at New Castle. Sto-Rox won its first PIAA game in nine years in the opening round over West Branch. Lakeview is 3-5 against WPIAL teams in the PIAA playoffs. This is the second meeting between the Vikings and Sailors in the state playoffs with Sto-Rox winning big, 67-31 in 2002.

Girls second-round factoids

*History can be made when Chartiers Valley plays District 6 runner-up Hollidaysburg in a Class 5A second-round game. The Colts have won 56 games in a row, which ties North Catholic for the longest girls basketball winning streak in WPIAL history. This is the Colts 29th all-time PIAA girls basketball playoff game but only the second against a District 6 opponent. CV lost to Altoona in 2004.

• WPIAL Class 5A runner-up Trinity travels to Chambersburg to face District 1 runner-up Great Valley. The Patriots are 23-4, and the Hillers are 20-5. Trinity reached the state championship game three years ago.

• Two teams that lost in the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals collide at Peters Township when Thomas Jefferson plays Woodland Hills. This is the first meeting between the two this year, but the team opened the 2018-2019 season with the Jaguars cruising to a 74-40 win.

• It’s a rematch of the 2019 WPIAL Class 4A championship game when North Catholic faces Central Valley at North Hills. The Trojans trailed the Warriors by four points at halftime but put the game away with a 17-0 run to start the third quarter. North Catholic won, 75-57 with Tess Myers leading the Trojans with 26 points.

• WPIAL Class 4A runner-up Southmoreland will face District 3 champion Lancaster Catholic at Bedford. The Crusaders have won three straight against WPIAL teams in the state playoffs. The 2017 state champions beat Quaker Valley and Central Valley last season and then opened up these state playoffs with a 23-point win over Indiana.

• WPIAL champion Rochester is the only District 7 team left in Class A. The Rams will take on District 5 runner-up Tussey Mountain at Indiana. The Titans lost to Vincentian Academy last season in the PIAA playoffs.

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