Trib HSSN 2020-21 WPIAL Class 2A girls basketball preseason breakdown

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Thursday, December 10, 2020 | 12:08 AM


Getting to the WPIAL girls basketball finals will take more dedication and focus than ever this season.

Teams will have to navigate an invisible opponent in covid-19 that could test them more than a section rival.

But the reward of a WPIAL championship will drive girls basketball teams across Western Pennsylvania, much like it did for last year’s victors: North Allegheny (Class 6A), Chartiers Valley (5A), North Catholic (4A), Mohawk (3A), Bishop Canevin (2A) and Rochester (A).

Here is a rundown of players to watch, team rankings and other notable facts for Class 2A girls basketball. Check out a breakdown of each class this week on the TribLive High School Sports Network. Click here to see Class 6A, Class 5A, Class 4A and Class 3A.

WPIAL Class 2A

Preseason Player of the Year

Nadia Moore

Winchester Thurston

5-10, So., guard

21.2 ppg

Players to watch

Kamryn Lightcap

Sewickley Academy

5-7, Sr., G, 14.4 ppg

Nicole Pawlowski

Serra Catholic

5-7, Sr., G, 6.0 ppg

Maya Roberts

Winchester Thurston

5-8, Jr., G, 18.1 ppg

Emily Schuck

OLSH

5-9, Jr., G/F

Alicia Young

Sto-Rox

6-0, Jr., G, 19.0 ppg

Preseason Top 5

1. Serra Catholic (17-5 last season)

With Bishop Canevin dropping to Class A, Laurel moving up to Class 3A and Ellis School opting out of winter sports, Serra Catholic is the only school to reach last season’s WPIAL semifinals still in the Class 2A field. The Eagles will have to replace leading scorer and rebounder Rayna Andrews, but they’ve got three returning starters in the backcourt — Nicole Pawlowski, Grace Navarro and Chloe Pordash — who will play tough defense and won’t get rattled.

2. Winchester Thurston (15-9)

The Bears have one of the WPIAL’s highest-scoring backcourt duos in Nadia Moore and Maya Roberts, and they’re just getting started. Moore was a top-10 scorer in the WPIAL as a freshman last year, averaging more than 21 points per game, and Roberts was right behind her at 18 ppg. Add 5-foot-11 senior Nya Nicholson, and Winchester Thurston will be difficult to defend.

3. OLSH (19-3)

Who knows how far OLSH would have gone in the WPIAL playoffs last season had it not run into Ellis School sharpshooter Natalie Jasper’s record 20-of-21 performance from the free-throw line in a three-OT quarterfinal? Junior Emily Schuck, last year’s leading scorer and rebounder, will lead the way. Grace Bradley, a 5-6 senior, and Katie Hoff, a 5-11 junior, also are returning starters for a deep and talented team.

4. Sewickley Academy (14-12)

Moving up from Class A could be difficult for Sewickley Academy, but it’s hard to imagine a lineup better equipped for such a challenge. The Panthers return all five starters, including dangerous shooter Kamryn Lightcap and crafty 5-10 scorer Bre Warner. On top of that, Quigley Catholic leading scorer Haley Drutarosky transferred in when her old school closed.

5. Greensburg Central Catholic (14-8)

The Centurions got a sneak preview of what their 2020-21 lineup might look like late last season when 6-foot former Southmoreland standout Bailey Kuhns navigated transfer-rule regulations and played a couple of games. She was a difference maker, averaging 18 points. With three other starters returning, Greensburg Central Catholic is tall, talented and a potential contender after bumping up from Class A.

Notable

• Before Ellis School opted out of the season because of coronavirus safety concerns, Jasper made her commitment to Georgetown. Ellis was the only WPIAL school still alive in the Class 2A bracket when last year’s state playoffs were halted before the quarterfinals.

• OLSH and Sewickley Academy look like the favorites in Section 1, but there will be no shortage of contenders in what is likely the classification’s deepest section. Neshannock returns leading scorer Neleh Nogay, drops down from Class 3A and could make noise. South Side, Shenango and Aliquippa are dangerous teams.

• The wild card in Section 2 could be Seton LaSalle. The Rebels lost some top performers to graduation, but they’re dropping from Class 3A after a 15-9 season and bring back senior point guard Emma Walsh and juniors Mackenzie Canavan and Ava Dursi.

• A competitive battle looks to be brewing at the top of Section 3. Burgettstown went 10-2 in section last year, Carlynton was a section champ in Class 3A and Chartiers-Houston brings back Dominique Mortimer and Zamierah Edwards.

• Apollo-Ridge is an X-factor in Section 4. The Vikings are dropping all the way from Class 4A and have WPIAL championship coach Ray Bartha back on the bench.

2020-21 Alignment

Section 1: Aliquippa, Neshannock New Brighton, OLSH, Sewickley Academy, Shenango, South Side

Section 2: Beth-Center, California, Carmichaels, Frazier, Serra Catholic, Seton LaSalle

Section 3: Burgettstown, Carlynton, Chartiers-Houston, Fort Cherry, Northgate, Sto-Rox

Section 4: Apollo-Ridge, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Springdale, Winchester Thurston

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review Assistant Sports Editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at jbombulie@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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