Westmoreland County high school basketball playoff preview capsules for March 8, 2024

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Thursday, March 7, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Boys

Class 5A

First round

Warwick (17-8) at Franklin Regional (23-3)

5 p.m. Friday

District seeds: Warwick 3-6; Franklin Regional 7-2

Winner plays: Winner of 3-7 Muhlenberg (15-9)/4-1 Selinsgrove (17-7) on Tuesday in second round (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Carter Horst, Warwick; Colin Masten, Franklin Regional

Layup lines: Warwick returns to the state playoffs after finishing sixth in District 3. The Warriors lost to Exeter Township in the fifth-place seeding game 67-59. Caleb Johnson scored 17 points, Ya’Majesty Washington added 14 and Horst had 12. Chris Christensen was named the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 2 Coach of the Year. Horst and Johnson were first-team all-stars in the section. Warwick lost in the first round last year to Radnor, 70-59. … Franklin Regional has not been to the PIAA playoffs since 2019. The Panthers have not won a state playoff game since 2017. The WPIAL runners-up had a 10-point lead in the second half against Moon but fell 53-48 in the WPIAL final. Cam Rowell, an athletic senior guard, reached 1,000 career points in the loss. The Panthers, who average 62.5 points, have won 12 of their last 13 games.

Class A

First round

Monessen (20-5) at Elk County Catholic (23-2)

7 p.m. Friday

District seeds: Monessen 7-5; Elk County Catholic 9-1

Winner plays: Winner of 5-2 Turkeyfoot Valley (19-6)/7-3 Union (15-11) on Tuesday in second round (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Lorenzo Gardner, Monessen; Will Wortman, ECC

Layup lines: Monessen rallied after a WPIAL quarterfinal loss to Union to win two consolation-round games to finish fifth. The Greyhounds missed the state playoffs last year. Gardner, one of the top scorers in program history, had 31 points in a 62-47 win over Carlynton in the fifth-place game. … Elk County Catholic won its third straight District 9 title, defeating Clarion, 75-54, in the title game. Wortman rang up a game-high 24 to lead four double-figure scorers. ECC advanced to the second round of the state bracket last year. The Crusaders last won a PIAA title in boys basketball in 2006. … This game will be the nightcap of a doubleheader, with the Monessen girls playing ECC at 5:30 p.m.

Girls

Class 6A

William Penn (16-10) at Norwin (21-3)

6 p.m. Friday

District seeds: William Penn 3-7; Norwin 7-1

Winner plays: Winner of 7-4 Chartiers Valley (16-8)/6-1 Altoona (20-4) on Tuesday in second round (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: A’Shyia Smith, William Penn; Lauren Palangio, Norwin

Layup lines: William Penn upset Central York before falling to Wilson in the District 3 tournament. The Bearcats topped Ephrata in the seventh-place game to make the state tournament. Smith had 12 points in a 33-27 win in the seeding game. Ciarra Gibbs is another talented player. The 5-foot-11 power forward is going to Albright. … Norwin won its third WPIAL title and first in eight years with a 56-41 victory over rival North Allegheny in the finals. Palangio had 12 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks in the win. Ava Christopher, a sophomore guard, had 16 points to lead the Knights in the championship game. Norwin made the state semifinals last season, falling to Cedar Cliff.

Class 2A

Bellwood-Antis (15-10) at Greensburg Central Catholic (20-6)

7 p.m. Friday

District seeds: Bellwood-Antis 6-4; GCC 7-1

Winner plays: Winner of 10-3 West Middlesex (19-5)/9-2 Moniteau (18-6) on Tuesday in second round (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Lilly Gerwert, Bellwood-Antis; Mya Morgan, GCC

Layup lines: Bellwood-Antis, which starts four underclassmen, was defeated by Bishop McCort, 61-49, in the D-6 third-place game. Jenna Nortin had 13 points in the loss. Gerwert, a 6-foot sophomore, leads the Blue Devils with 13.9 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. She grabbed 14 rebounds in the last game. Leigha Clapper (8.6 ppg) and Chloe Hammond (8.3) are additional scoring threats. Bellwood-Antis reached the state semifinals two years ago, falling to Neshannock. … GCC continued to impress in the postseason, dispatching Serra Catholic, 62-39, as sophomore Erica Gribble scored a game-high 28 points, 14 in the fourth quarter. It was GCC’s sixth WPIAL championship and first since 2007. Senior Avery Davis added 14 points, and sophomore Abby Dlugos pulled down 14 rebounds. The Centurions made the PIAA semifinals last year.

Class A

Monessen (20-6) at Elk County Catholic (17-2)

5:30 p.m. Friday

District seeds: Monessen 7-5; Elk County Catholic 9-1

Winner plays: Winner of 7-3 Aquinas Academy (17-7)/6-2 Williamsburg (24-3) on Wednesday in second round (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: My’Asia Majors, Monessen; Syd Alexander, ECC

Layup lines: Monessen is back in the PIAA bracket after falling in the first round last year at Otto-Eldred, 57-30. The Greyhounds, who have the nucleus back from that team, finished fifth in the WPIAL after falling to Riverview in the quarterfinals and then winning twice — at home — in the consolation tournament. Majors scored 14, and Madison Johnson added 10 in a 44-41 win over Bishop Canevin in the fifth-place game. The Greyhounds have not won a state playoff game since 2011. … ECC, an impressive defensive team, defeated Ridgway in the District 9 title game 42-20. Alexander had 17 points in the win. She and Lucy Klauwuhn are 1,000-point scorers for the Crusaders, who are 9-0 at home this season. ECC made the second round last year and lost to Union, 39-35. … The Monessen and ECC boys teams will play their first-round state game at 7.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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