Westmoreland basketball playoff capsules: Games of Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019
Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 6:30 PM
WPIAL Class 6A
No. 2 Latrobe (18-2) vs. No. 7 Canon-McMillan (15-8)
3 p.m. Saturday at Norwin
Winner plays: Winner of No. 3 Mt. Lebanon (19-3)/No. 6 Fox Chapel (16-7) on Wednesday in semifinals
Coaches: Brad Wetzel, Latrobe; Rick Bell, Canon-McMillan
Points scored/allowed: Latrobe, 71.4/60.9; Canon-McMillan, 61.5/55.9
Players to watch: Bryce Butler, Sr., G-F, Latrobe; Drew Engel, Sr., G, Canon-McMillan
About Latrobe: The high-scoring Wildcats return to action for the first time since Feb. 8 when they defeated Hempfield in the Section 3 finale. Butler and senior guard Reed Fenton are college recruits and 1,000-point career scorers. Butler, a West Liberty commit, averages 22.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists. Fenton (Lehigh) averages 19.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4 assists. Latrobe beat Canon-McMillan, 72-70, in the second game of the season.
About Canon-McMillan: Engel led all scorers with 21 points, and senior Ethan Beachy had 14 for the Big Macs in a first-round win over No. 10 North Allegheny, 61-59, in overtime. Canon-McMillan held the Tigers scoreless for a four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter to force overtime, then sealed it with free throws in the extra period. Bell has more than 400 coaching wins between Canon-McMillan and Peters Township.
District 6 Class 3A
No. 1 Ligonier Valley (20-2) vs. No. 9 Central Cambria (9-13)
7 p.m. Saturday at Ligonier Valley
Winner plays: Winner of No. 4 West Shamokin (16-5)/No. 5 Bellwood Antis (15-7) on Tuesday in semifinals
Coaches: John Berger, Ligonier Valley; Adam Stephan, Central Cambria
Players to watch: Marrek Paola, Sr., F, Ligonier Valley; Tanner Melnyk, Sr., G/F, Central Cambria
Last District 6 playoff appearance: Ligonier Valley, 2018 (won championship, 58-54, over Richland); Central Cambria, 2018 (lost to Richland, 65-53, in semifinals)
About Ligonier Valley: The Rams have four starters back from last season’s team that won the school’s first District 6 boys basketball championship and recently won its second consecutive Heritage Conference title. At 6-foot-6, Paola is a double-double threat every game and is complemented by the dynamic backcourt of Michael Marinchak, Matthew Marinchak and Aaron Tutino.
About Central Cambria: Central Cambria advanced to the quarterfinals with a 70-59 win at No.8 Mt. Union in a play-in game Tuesday night. The Red Devils have three players — Melnyk (12.9 ppg), Ben Young (12.3) and Nickolas Knopp (10.6) — who average in double figures.
No. 5 Franklin Regional (17-6) vs. No. 4 Penn Hills (15-6)
1:30 p.m. Saturday at Norwin
Winner plays: Winner of No. 1 Chartiers Valley (22-0) vs. No. 9 Trinity (12-11)
Coaches: Anthony Kobus, Franklin Regional; Robert Cash, Penn Hills
Points scored/allowed: Franklin Regional, 51.0/42.0; Penn Hills, 51.2/37.6
Players to watch: Cali Konek, Sr., G, Franklin Regional; Adia Brisker, Sr., G, Penn Hills
About Franklin Regional: The Panthers used a 16-0 run in the second half to rip past South Fayette in the first round, 46-35. Alex Reitz (11), Konek (10) and Noelle Boyd (10) scored in double figures in the Panthers’ first playoff win since 2013. The Panthers and Indians are two of the top defensive teams in Class 5A, both allowing fewer than 43 points a game.
About Penn Hills: The Indians, who had a first-round bye, have navigated injuries to key players Diamond-Jay Whittington and Longwood commit Tayonna Robertson. Brisker is a Niagara recruit who averages about 15 points. Ariana Dunson is another key scorer for the Indians, who were upset twice by Westmoreland teams: Latrobe and Penn-Trafford.
—Bill Beckner Jr.