Section, holiday basketball near and far make for busy Thursday

Wednesday, December 18, 2019 | 11:24 PM

One of the best girls basketball rivalries in the WPIAL continues Thursday when perennial powers Mt. Lebanon and Bethel Park square off.

Both the host Black Hawks and the Blue Devils are ranked in the Trib HSSN top five with Bethel Park top ranked and Mt. Lebanon at No. 5.

The teams have combined for four district championships in the last 10 years with the Blue Devils winning WPIAL titles in 2009, 2010 and 2012 while Bethel Park won gold in 2013.

Bethel Park has won the last five meetings between the teams with the last Mt. Lebanon victory coming in early January of 2017.

You can watch the game here on Trib HSSN starting at 7:30 p.m.

Unbeaten vs. Champ

Not even two weeks into the 2019-20 season, there are only 10 WPIAL girls basketball teams that remain perfect.

One of those teams is Freedom. The Bulldogs won only six games a year ago, but they are already 5-0 this season and tied for first in the very tough Section 1-3A.

Their biggest test to date comes Thursday when they host Neshannock.

The defending WPIAL champion Lancers have struggled a bit early on as they enter the contest 1-1 in section play and 2-3 overall.

A year ago, Neshannock comfortably beat Freedom twice by margins of 44 and 33 points.

Sunshine on my shoulder makes me hoopy

A handful of WPIAL boys basketball teams are getting into the holiday spirit with a trip south to the sunshine state for tournament basketball starting Thursday.

Mars is in Coral Springs, Fla., for the Kruel Classic where they open up against Monarch H.S. of Florida.

Latrobe, Penn-Trafford, Uniontown, Waynesburg Central and McGuffey are playing in the KSA Classic Tournament in Orlando, Fla.

In fact, Waynesburg Central and McGuffey open up against each other Thursday morning.

Defending girls basketball 5A champion Chartiers Valley is also in Orlando where the Colts will face Thomas Edison, Va., on Thursday.

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