Westmoreland County basketball playoff preview capsules: Games of Feb. 22, 2020

Friday, February 21, 2020 | 4:54 PM

WPIAL basketball playoff preview


Class 4A


No. 6 Belle Vernon (17-6) vs. No. 3 Quaker Valley (17-5)

2:30 p.m. Saturday at Plum

Winner plays: No. 2 Knoch (19-3) or No. 7 New Castle (16-7) Wednesday in semifinals

Coaches: Joe Salvino, Belle Vernon; Mike Mastroianni, Quaker Valley

Points scored/allowed: Belle Vernon 70.3 ppg/61.7; Quaker Valley 72.5/58.7

Players to watch: Devin Whitlock, Belle Vernon (So., G); Adou Thiero, Quaker Valley (So., G)

About Belle Vernon: The Leopards are a win away from their second semifinal trip in three years. Whitlock, a Monessen transfer and one of the WPIAL’s promising young players, had 21 points, and senior Mitchell Poulot added 15 in a 65-44 victory over Derry in the first round Wednesday at Fox Chapel. Senior guard Cam Nusser injured his left ankle early in the game and could miss time, leaving a substantial void in the backcourt. The frontcourt trio of Jared Hartman, Poulot and Thomas Hepple will be needed to combat the Quakers’ size. The Leopards were supposed to play Quaker Valley last year around the midseason-point, but the game was postponed.

About Quaker Valley: The high-scoring and fast-paced Quakers shared the Section 2 title with Blackhawk; each team had three losses. Quaker Valley has been off since Feb. 10 due to a first-round bye, but it has won six straight games, averaging 79.8 points during that stretch. The Quakers reached the WPIAL title game last year but lost to New Castle, 60-54. Thiero is a complete player and will match up well with Whitlock. He averages 17.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals. Another sophomore, Markus Frank, averages 17.1 points and 6.7 rebounds, and senior guard K.C. Johns score 16 a game, plus 5.2 assists. Senior 6-foot-5 forward Jonathan Weir grabs 9.8 rebounds.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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