Three more teams forced to pull out of WPIAL basketball tournament

Monday, March 1, 2021 | 2:46 PM

Springdale and Avella boys and Shenango girls have been forced to pull out of WPIAL basketball playoffs.

Because of covid-related protocols, Springdale, the fourth seed in Class 2A, was forced to forfeit its first-round game with No. 13 Winchester Thurston, which was set to be played Wednesday.

Springdale coach Aaron Epps said the Dynamos had four players test positive for covid, and their gym was shut down from last Wednesday to Sunday, forcing them to cancel games with Mars and Deer Lakes last Thursday and Friday.

“The health and safety of the players is of the utmost importance,” Epps said.

Class A No. 9 Avella had to forfeit its first-round game against No. 8 St. Joseph. The teams were set to play Tuesday at St. Joseph. The Spartans will now move on to face top-seeded Bishop Canevin at 6 p.m. Friday.

Class 2A No. 7 Shenango forfeited its first-round matchup with No. 10 Carlynton that was scheduled for Tuesday. Carlynton will meet No. 2 Serra Catholic or No. 18 South Side in Friday’s quarterfinals. Shenango (14-6, 6-5) finished in fourth place in Section 1-2A.

Led by senior Demitri Fritch, one of the WPIAL’s top scorers at 22.9 points per game, the Dynamos went 12-7 this season and played a difficult schedule that included games against No. 1-seeded Our Lady of the Sacred Heart twice, North Catholic, South Allegheny and Highlands. Each team earned a top five seed in its respective classification.

Epps said it was a hard message to deliver to his players as they were looking to avenge their quarterfinal loss to Winchester Thurston last season and make a deep run into the playoffs.

“I’m kind of letting them grieve a little, but I’ve talked to a couple of them,” Epps said. “The seniors, for sure, I feel bad for them. It’d be different if we were a bad team, but we were a team that had a shot and that’s what stinks. If we weren’t any good, it’d be different, but those kids might not get that opportunity, and who knows if we’ll ever be as good as this team.”

Springdale and Avella join Propel Braddock Hills (2A boys), New Castle (4A girls) and Ambridge (4A girls) as teams that had to pull out of the basketball playoffs since the brackets were announced last Tuesday.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .

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