Trib HSSN 2022-23 WPIAL Class 2A girls basketball preseason breakdown

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Thursday, December 1, 2022 | 6:01 AM


Last year’s WPIAL finalists Neshannock and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart have moved up to Class 3A, leaving Class 2A open for new contenders.

One of those contenders will be Freedom, a WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A finalist last year that bumped down via PIAA realignment.

Here is a rundown of players to watch, top 5 teams and other notables in WPIAL 2A girls basketball this season.

Preseason Player of the Year

Shaye Bailey, Freedom

5-5, junior, guard

16.4 ppg last season

Players to watch

Erica Gribble, Greensburg C.C.

5-8, fr., guard

Mya Morgan, Greensburg C.C.

5-9, jr., guard, 13.6 ppg

Kylee Rubin, Shenango

5-10, sr., forward, 14.0 ppg

Iyanna Wade, Clairton

5-3, so., guard, 23.0 ppg

Sophia Zalar, Carmichaels

5-8, sr., guard, 19.0 ppg

Preseason Top 5

1. Freedom (22-6 last season)

A WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A runner-up last season, Freedom returns a talented lineup to help adjust to a new classification of opponents. That group includes junior guard Shaye Bailey, who was a first-team all-state selection after averaging 16.4 points last season. Fellow all-state pick Renae Mohrbacher is now playing soccer at Robert Morris, but Freedom returns her sister, senior Julia Mohrbacher, a three-year starter who averaged 12 rebounds per game last year.

2. Greensburg Central Catholic (18-5)

The Centurions were WPIAL quarterfinalists a year ago after winning the Section 4 title. They return a talented all-section guard in junior Mya Morgan (13.6 ppg) and will get a boost from freshman guard Erica Gribble, who already has Division I offers from St. Joseph’s and Buffalo. Norwin transfer Avery Davis will add to the backcourt.

3. Serra Catholic (21-3)

Serra Catholic was a section champion last season and reached the WPIAL semifinals before falling to Neshannock. The Eagles then advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. Senior guard Chloe Pordash graduated, but Serra Catholic does return junior guards Cate Clark and Caitlin Cooley, center Rylee Allebach and junior guard/forward Bri Battles, among others.

4. Burgettstown (18-5)

Burgettstown started 11-0 and won a section title a year ago before advancing to the WPIAL quarterfinals and the PIAA playoffs. Back are a pair of all-section honorees in senior guard Jill Frazier (12.0 ppg) and junior forward Kaitlyn Nease (12.0 ppg).

5. Shenango (16-10)

Shenango finished third in Section 1 last season behind Neshannock and OLSH, who both moved up to Class 3A. Freedom has since joined the challenging Section 1 group. The Wildcats, who reached the PIAA tournament a year ago, will rely on senior all-section forward Kylee Rubin, who averaged 14.0 points per game last season.

Notable

• Freedom, Brentwood, Steel Valley, Bentworth and Washington dropped down, and Rochester and Clairton moved up a classification to give Class 2A 27 teams.

There was a lot of inter-sectional movement as well. Former Section 2 rivals Beth-Center, California, Carmichaels and Frazier moved over to Section 4 and will compete with Bentworth, Chartiers-Houston and Washington.

Section 3 will feature familiar foes Greensburg Central Catholic, Springdale, Ellis School and Winchester Thurston, as well as Clairton, Steel Valley and Serra Catholic.

Former Section 3 opponents Burgettstown, Carlynton and Fort Cherry will join Section 2 with Brentwood and holdovers Northgate and Sto-Rox.

Fort Cherry (15-7) was runner-up to Burgettstown in Section 3 and returns five players who started last season, including junior all-section guard Raney Staub (14.7), along with guards Zalayah Edwards, Ava Menzies and Olivia Kemp and forward Katey Blickenderfer.

• Brentwood (9-12) was a playoff team in Class 3A last season and returns senior guard Brianna Folino, junior forward Mia March and sophomore forward Paige Boehm.

• Clairton (15-4) was a runner-up in Section 3-A last season and should make some noise in Class 2A behind sophomore all-section guard Iyanna Wade (23.0 ppg).

Chartiers-Houston (11-11) will rely on a deep group of freshmen and sophomores who won 23 straight middle school games and had back-to-back undefeated seasons. Senior point guard Kaydan Buckingham will lead the Bucs in an all-new Section 4.

Winchester Thurston (12-9) was a playoff team last season and returns junior all-section guard Sky Still (8.4 ppg). The Bears will miss Nadia Moore, who averaged 25.1 ppg last year and was third-team all-state. She is playing her senior year at a school in Canada.

Alignment

Section 1: Aliquippa, Freedom, New Brighton, Rochester, Sewickley Academy, Shenango, South Side

Section 2: Brentwood, Burgettstown, Carlynton, Fort Cherry, Northgate, Sto-Rox

Section 3: Clairton, Ellis School, Greensburg C.C., Serra Catholic, Springdale, Steel Valley, Winchester Thurston

Section 4: Bentworth, Beth-Center, California, Carmichaels, Chartiers-Houston, Frazier, Washington

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

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