Scholastic Notebook – 02/07/2014

Friday, February 7, 2014 | 2:42 PM

Mars High School was built in 1918. So you could say it took almost 100 years for Mars to win a basketball section title outright.

Now, Mars is on the verge of winning two sections in two years.

Mars plays at Knoch Friday night in a big WPIAL Class AAA Section 1 game. Mars leads the section with a 10-1 record and is guaranteed at least a share of the section championship. Knoch is 9-2 in section and Indiana 9-2.

But a Mars victory will give the Planets the section title outright. The first time they won a section title outright was last year and the Planets also made it to the WPIAL semifinals for the first time in school history.

Mars had won one other section title in school history. It came in 1987, but the Planets tied for the section title that year.

The Mars-Knoch game figures to be close. It is a rivalry game and Mars won the first meeting by only 40-38.

It’s Been a While

The Brownsville boys team has clinched the Class AA Section 5 championship. The last time Brownsville won a section title was 1999. On top of that, this is only the fifth section in the long history of the school.

The first came in 1931, the second in 1963 and the third in 1986.

Brownsville has made quite the turnaround. In two consecutive seasons from 2008-10, the Falcons had 3-19 records.

“Who Needs One?”

If you wanted to see the second showdown of the season between Hampton and New Castle Friday night, and don’t have a ticket, then forget it. The game at New Castle is sold out. The crowd is expected to be about 2,500. But you can hear the game ONLY here on the MSA Sports Network.

New Castle has 600 season-ticket holders and the school gave Hampton 350 tickets. New Castle also sold some tickets to its students. Then last night, New Castle sold tickets to the general public. New Castle athletic director Sam Flora said the school sold in excess of 1,000 tickets in about two hours.

New Castle and Hampton have met in two WPIAL title games the past two years and New Castle will be trying to finish the regular season undefeated for the third year in a row. The Red Hurricanes have a 64-game regular-season winning streak.

Quips’ Turnaround

The Aliquippa boys basketball team finished below .500 the past three seasons. That is unheard of in Aliquippa.

But the Quips have rebounded under first-year Nick Lackovich and actually have a shot to win a section title for the first time since 2007.

Aliquippa plays host to Beaver Falls tonight in a battle for the WPIAL Class AA Section 2 championship. This is the final section game and both teams are tied with 11-2 records.

Aliquippa was used to winning section titles on a regular basis. The Quips won 11 in a row from 1997-2007. And Aliquippa has 35 section titles overall, which is the fourth-most in WPIAL history.

Net-Cutting Time

Have you ever heard of cutting down the nets after an early February game? At California High, they felt Tuesday’s win was worthy of it.

The California girls team defeated Mapletown, 58-16, on Tuesday to clinch at least a tie for the section championship. The last time California won a section title was the 1981-82 season. In fact, that is the only time California has ever won a section title.

Some players from that 81-82 team were on hand for Tuesday’s game. The win clinched at least a tie for a section title. California can win the section title outright by beating Avella Friday night. Avella has a 7-1 section record.

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