Scholastic Notebook – 02/03/2012
Friday, February 3, 2012 | 5:02 PM
When the WPIAL announces playoff brackets at a meeting every February, the league also hands out plaques to section champions. For the first time ever, Bentworth might double team the WPIAL for the championship plaques.
Things have been good for Bentworth basketball this season. Twice as good, actually.
Bentworth is one of the feel-good stories of WPIAL basketball this season. There is a very good chance the Bentworth boys and girls teams will win section titles. That has never happened before. In fact, it’s rare when either the boys or girls teams win a section title.
The Bentworth boys have had successful teams before, making it to a WPIAL title game in 1979 and 1987. But the boys have won only four section championships in school history. The last one came in 2010. The last one before that was 1988.
Bentworth’s boys are 15-2 this season and in first place in Class A Section 3 with a 7-0 record. The Bearcats have a two-game lead in the section with three to play. So it seems rather certain they will win the section title.
The Bentworth girls, meanwhile, are in first place in Class AA Section 4 with an 8-2 record (16-3 overall). Washington is 8-3 while Beth-Center and Charleroi are both 7-3. Bentworth has two section games remaining – against Brownsville and Charleroi. Brownsville has a 2-15 section record, so it seems the Bentworth girls will at least win a share of the section title. The only girls section title in school history came in 1991.
It’s Been a While
Another WPIAL girls basketball team that is enjoying one of its best seasons in a long time is Quaker Valley. The Quakers have clinched at least a tie for a section title. The last time Quaker Valley won a girls section title was 1981.
The Upper St. Clair boys basketball team has been in the WPIAL playoffs 10 consecutive years, the longest current streak in Class AAAA. But the Panthers look like they might miss the postseason for the first time since 2001.
The top four teams in sections make the playoffs and ties for a playoff spot are broken by head-to-head competition. Peters Township is in fourth place with a 5-6 record and Upper St. Clair is 4-7. However, Peters Township beat Upper St. Clair twice this season. So, Upper St. Clair would have to finish ahead of Peters Township in the standings to make the playoffs.
Both Peters Township and Upper St. Clair have three games left. If Peters Township wins just one of its final three, Upper St. Clair would have to win all three of its games against Canon-McMillan, Moon and Mount Lebanon.
Bethel Park opened its new gymnasium Tuesday night with a sweep. The boys and girls teams both beat Upper St. Clair.
Bethel Park’s new gym just might be one of the nicest in the WPIAL. Bleachers go all the way around the gym, including the end zones. Capacity is 2,450. A four-sided scoreboard hangs from the ceiling.
Top Players Out
Two of the leading scores in WPIAL basketball – one boy and one girl – are done for the season because of knee injuries.
Riverview’s Corey Bickert is fourth in the WPIAL in scoring at 24 points a game, but he is done because of a torn ACL suffered in mid-January in a game against Springdale.
Bickert is one of only two players in Riverview history to score 1,000 points.
Meanwhile, the New Castle girls basketball team’s hopes for playoff success took a big blow recently when Kaylynn Waters was lost for the season with a knee injury. She sustained a torn ACL in a game against Vincentian. Waters was the third-leading scorer in the WPIAL.
This is the second year in a row a knee injury has shelved Waters. She played only four games last year because of a knee injury.
The Seton-LaSalle girls team is one of three undefeated teams in WPIAL girls basketball this season. The others are Vincentian and Oakland Catholic. But Seton-LaSalle hasn’t lost to a WPIAL team in a while. The Rebels have won 38 games in a row against WPIAL teams, dating back to last season.
The WPIAL team wrestling semifinals are Friday night and the championships Saturday at Chartiers Valley. Both days mat action can be heard here on MSA Sports. Two teams are favored to give repeat championship performances.
Burrell has won five Class AA championships in a row and the Bucs meet Chartiers-Houston tonight at Ringgold at 6 p.m. Also at Ringgold tonight, Jefferson-Morgan wrestles Bentworth. The championship is tomorrow at Chartiers Valley, 4:30 p.m.
In Class AAA, Canon-McMillan is hoping to win its third championship in a row. The Big Macs take on Greensburg Salem Friday night at Ringgold, 7:30 p.m. In the other Class AAA semifinal on Friday at Ringgold, Connellsville takes on North Allegheny. The Class AAA final is Saturday at Chartiers Valley, 6:30 p.m.
Only three teams in the history of WPIAL wrestling have won three championships in a row. As stated previously, Burrell has won five in a row. North Allegheny won three from 1986-88 and Washington won three from 1981-83.
Football Coaching News
* And now for something completely different: There won’t be a Garry coaching Fort Cherry’s football team next season.
Tim Garry has resigned as Fort Cherry’s coach after nine seasons. His father, Jim, was Fort Cherry’s coach for the first 43 years of the school’s existence before resigning. Tim took over for his father. Tim Garry guided Fort Cherry to the WPIAL playoffs the past six seasons and his record was 49-41.
* John Franco guided Tyrone High School to the PIAA Class AA championship game this past season, but he will be Altoona’s coach next season. Franco was hired at Altoona Monday night. This is Franco’s second go-round with Altoona. He also coached Altoona from 1986-93 when he had a 40-45-2 record. He was at Tyrone for 18 seasons and had a 190-37 record.
* John Peterman is the new coach at Penn Hills. He takes over for Ron Graham, who resigned after four seasons. Peterman also is Penn Hills’ athletic director and a Penn Hills graduate who competed in football and wrestling.
More Basketball• Winning never gets old for Chartiers Valley girls basketball
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• Sam Salih resigns as Greensburg Central Catholic girls basketball coach
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• As memory of stinging end fades, Bishop Canevin boys savor championship season