Trib HSSN 2020-21 WPIAL Class 3A girls basketball preseason breakdown

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Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | 3:29 PM


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 a 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 3A girls basketball. Check out a breakdown of each class this week on the TribLive High School Sports Network. Click here to see Class 6A, 5A and 4A.

WPIAL Class 3A

Preseason Player of the Year

Nadia Lape

Mohawk

5-5, senior, guard

19.4 ppg

Players to watch

Regan Atkins

Laurel

5-9, So., G, 12.6 ppg

Dacia Lewandowski

North Catholic

5-11, So., PG, 1.5 ppg

Clara Paige Miller

Waynesburg

5-9, Jr., F, 17.0 ppg

Nyla Rozier

Shady Side Academy

5-11, Sr., G, 19.8 ppg

Emma Seto

Brownsville

5-8, Jr., F, 15.7 ppg

Preseason Top 5

1. North Catholic (26-1 last season)

Gone are 1,000-point scorers and first-team all-state selections Tess Myers (Duquesne) and Kylee Lewandowski (Richmond), but North Catholic remains a favorite to make a WPIAL title run. The Trojanettes won the past four Class 4A championships and have dropped to 3A where their enrollment is slotted. They lost nine players to graduation. Sophomore guard Dacia Lewandowski, who has scholarship offers from Akron, Marshall and Toledo, was a regular contributor and returns for the Trojanettes. Sophomores Tori Drevna and Anna Waskiewicz and freshmen Alayna Rocco and Ava Walker also should step into the lineup. Mel Cortez and all-section guard Tara Lucot (16.1 ppg) also transferred in from Vincentian Academy, which closed after last school year.

2. Mohawk (24-3)

Senior all-section guard Nadia Lape (18.1 ppg) helped guide Mohawk to the WPIAL Class 3A title a year ago and contributed 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Senior Paige Julian also returns. She was the team’s leading rebounder a year ago and scored 33 points in the WPIAL semifinals against Carlynton. The team will miss third-team all-state guard Karly McCutcheon (17.2 ppg), who graduated.

3. Avonworth (18-8)

Avonworth finished third in Section 1 behind WPIAL finalists Mohawk and Beaver but reached the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA playoffs. Junior forward Maggie Goetz is among the returning Lopes, along with senior guards Grace O’Brien and Harris Robinson. Avonworth will miss Kat Goetz (17.2 ppg), who graduated.

4. South Park (14-9)

The Eagles won the Section 2 title last year, but the No. 4-seeded Eagles were upset by Avonworth in the WPIAL quarterfinals. South Park graduated two starters, including leading scorer Danielle DeProspro (15.0 ppg) and guard Taylor Glowa. Juniors Kierra Moelber and Nora Ozimek and sophomores Elliot Oliphate and Maddie Graham had double-digit performances late in the season.

5. Laurel (17-9)

Laurel reached the Class 2A final last season and lost to Bishop Canevin. The Spartans then were bumped up a class by PIAA enrollment realignment. Sophomore all-section guard Regan Atkins (12.6 ppg) returns to the young roster that features one junior, seven sophomores and three freshmen.

Notable

• Class 3A features 21 teams in three sections, up from 24 teams last season. New to the classification are North Catholic, Laurel, Bentworth, Brentwood and Keystone Oaks.

• Beaver, Deer Lakes, Derry and Valley moved up to Class 4A. Beth-Center, Carlynton, Neshannock and Seton LaSalle dropped to Class 2A.

• Senior Nyla Rozier, a St. Francis (Pa.) recruit, returns to lead Shady Side Academy after averaging 19.8 points in an all-section campaign. SSA won five of its first six games but struggled late in the season, dropping nine of its final 10.

• Behind all-section junior forward Emma Seto, Brownsville finished fourth in Section 2 last season but fell in the first round of the playoffs.

• Junior forward Clara Paige Miller is among four returning starters for Waynesburg, which finished 7-15 last year. She averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds and earned all-section honors.

2020-21 Alignment

Section 1: Beaver Falls, Ellwood City, Freedom, Laurel, Mohawk, North Catholic, Riverside

Section 2: Bentworth, Brownsville, Charleroi, McGuffey, South Park, Washington, Waynesburg

Section 3: Avonworth, Brentwood, East Allegheny, Keystone Oaks, Shady Side Academy, South Allegheny, Steel Valley

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.

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