Westmoreland high school basketball notebook: Teams take to scoreboard watching

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Thursday, February 28, 2019 | 6:31 PM


The waiting game commenced for a number of Westmoreland basketball teams after they lost in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

The WPIAL uses a follow-the-leader format for entry into the PIAA playoffs, so opponents who defeated local teams held state-playoff fates in their hands.

Southmoreland’s girls will remain in limbo until Friday night, when they’ll have a rooting interest in one particular game at Petersen Events Center. The Scotties need Central Valley to win the WPIAL Class 4A title against North Catholic to get into the state bracket.

The top seven WPIAL teams in that class go to states. Southmoreland lost to Blackhawk in the quarterfinals, and Blackhawk lost to Central Valley in the semis.

Central Valley pulled McKeesport, its quarterfinal opponent, into the state bracket by reaching the finals. Now the Warriors could extend a hand to the upstart Scotties. A win Friday, and Southmoreland would become the seventh-place team.

Southmoreland never has played in the PIAA postseason.

“We were really hoping Blackhawk would’ve won so we would have a definite idea of what is going on,” Scotties coach Brian Pritts said. “It has been a little weird. We had a shoot-around (Tuesday) and a very light workout (Wednesday) just to keep the ball in our hands a bit.”

Another example is the Franklin Regional boys. The Panthers lost to Moon in the quarterfinals, but since Moon advanced to the finals and the WPIAL sends six 5A teams to states, the Panthers clinched.

The Greensburg Central Catholic girls had their streak of nine consecutive PIAA playoff appearances stopped when Quigley, which beat them in the Class A quarters, lost in the semifinals. The top six also advance in Class A.

Jeannette’s boys missed out on states for the first time since 2014 when Serra Catholic defeated Sewickley Academy in the Class 2A semifinals.

Latrobe’s boys could have qualified had Canon-McMillan won the WPIAL 6A title, but the Big Macs lost to Mt. Lebanon in the semifinals.

And the Franklin Regional girls needed Penn Hills to win the WPIAL 5A title to qualify. Franklin Regional has not played in the state playoffs since 1979.

Other local teams already in the PIAA postseason are the Monessen boys and Norwin girls.

The Ligonier Valley boys made the PIAA playoffs in 3A.

The state playoffs begin March 8.

Kallock top scorer

Greensburg Salem senior guard Megan Kallock finished as the WPIAL’s regular-season scoring champion with a 24.9 points-per-game average. The Saint Vincent recruit finished her stellar prep career with 1,868 points. The total is second all time at Greensburg Salem behind Danielle Dawson (2,007).

The top Westmoreland boys scorer from the WPIAL was Latrobe senior Bryce Butler, who averaged 22.4 points. That was 12th-best in the WPIAL.

Woodland Hills’ Keandre Bowles led the league at 29.3 ppg.

Overall, Ligonier Valley senior center Marrek Paola had the best scoring average in the county, at 25 ppg.

Richland again

Ligonier Valley’s highlight-filled run in the District 6 2A football playoffs was stopped by Richland in November in the championship game in Altoona. Now, Richland will try to deny the Ligonier Valley basketball team (22-2) a second straight district title.

The teams play for the 3A title again Friday night at Mt. Aloysius. It also is a rematch of last year’s championship won by Ligonier Valley, 58-54, when Michael Marinchak scored 21 points (11 of 13 free throws), and Paola added 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Richland (19-6) has a balanced team with three players averaging in double figures: Collin Instone (17.4), Caleb Burke (14.0) and Joe Hauser (13.0).

Instone will try to counter Paola’s 6-foot-7 size: He is 6-4 and 260 pounds.

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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