Westmoreland high school basketball playoff preview capsules for Feb. 20, 2024

By:
Monday, February 19, 2024 | 5:28 PM


WPIAL basketball playoffs

Boys

Class 2A

First round

15-Frazier (11-11) at 2-Greensburg Central Catholic (20-2)

7 p.m. Tuesday

Winner plays: Winner of 10-Eden Christian (11-10)/7-Shenango (12-10) on Friday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Section finish: Frazier 4th, Section 4; GCC 1st Section 3

Players to watch: Dailan McManus, Frazier; Tyree Turner, GCC

Layup lines: Frazier is the only 2A playoff team with a .500 record. The Commodores won games by scoring 87 and 36 points, adjusting to opposing styles. They lost by 26 to 4A Southmoreland. McManus averages 16.9 points. Brock Alekson is a 6-10 senior forward. Commodores coach Zach Keefer is the brother of Hempfield football coach Nick Keefer. … A pair of 1,000-point scorers, Turner and Franco Alvarez, lead GCC, which rolled through section play and takes an 11-game winning streak into the tournament. The Centurions’ losses are to 5A teams Franklin Regional and Penn Hills. GCC has won 17 in a row a home.

11-Sewickley Academy (12-9) at 6-Jeannette (14-7)

7 p.m. Tuesday

Winner plays: Winner of 14-Clairton (10-12)/3-Northgate (16-5) on Friday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Section finish: Sewickley Academy 4th, Section 1; Jeannette 2nd, Section 3

Players to watch: Nolan Donnelly, Sewickley Academy; Kymone Brown, Jeannette

Layup lines: Sewickley Academy is playing for their late coach, Win Palmer, who died in the fall. Palmer was a respected figure in WPIAL basketball circles. Jim Dudas took over the team as coach. The Panthers have a 47-46 loss to Serra Catholic, which plays in Jeannette’s section. … Jeannette made the playoffs for the 22nd straight year and 14th in a row under coach Adrian Batts. A young lineup of guards is beginning to blossom, led by Brown. Also watch Jayce Powell and Markus McGowan.

Girls

Class 5A

First round

13-Penn-Trafford (14-8) at 4-Lincoln Park (19-2)

7 p.m. Tuesday

Winner plays: Winner of 12-Latrobe (11-11)/5-Armstrong (18-4) on Friday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Section finish: Penn-Trafford T-3rd, Section 3; Lincoln Park T-1st, Section 4

Players to watch: Olivia Pepple, Penn-Trafford; Maddie Syka, Lincoln Park

Layup lines: Penn-Trafford hit a late skid, dropping three in a row to close out section play, with losses to Oakland Catholic, McKeesport and Latrobe. The Lady Warriors rely on their guards, led by Pepple (15 ppg). Lauren Marton has produced a number of double-doubles. … Syka leads Lincoln Park with an 18.8-point average, and J’La Kizart averages 16.9. Lincoln Park is scoring 61 a game and allowing 41. This will be its fifth straight game at home, where it has one loss all season.

12-Latrobe (11-11) at 5-Armstrong (17-4)

7 p.m. Tuesday

Winner plays: Winner of 13-Penn-Trafford (14-8)/4-Lincoln Park (19-2) on Friday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Section finish: Latrobe T-3rd, Section 3; Armstrong T-1st Section 2

Players to watch: Elle Snyder, Latrobe; Emma Paul, Armstrong

Layup lines: First-year coach Mackenzie Livingston guided Latrobe to the postseason with four wins in the last five games. A 58-39 win over Penn-Trafford was the clincher. Snyder is a 1,000-point scorer who committed to Division I Evansville (Ind.). Also watch guards Belle Blossey and Carley Berk. … Armstrong is 13-0 since the calendar flipped to 2024. That includes a 61-52 win over 6A Seneca Valley. Paul averages 21.1 points for the River Hawks.

Class 4A

First round

9-Hopewell (10-11) at 8-Greensburg Salem (15-7)

7 p.m. Tuesday

Winner plays: At 1-Blackhawk (20-2) on Friday (time TBD)

Section finish: Hopewell 3rd, Section 2; Greensburg Salem 3rd, Section 1

Players to watch: Caylee Sundy, Hopewell; Kaitlyn Mankins, Greensburg Salem

Layup lines: Hopewell pulled even at 11-11 and 5-5 in section. The team keeps a lot of games low scoring: It averaged 38.5 points and allowed 36.5. Sundy averages about 14 points for the Lady Vikings. … Greensburg Salem has one of the top defensive scoring averages in the playoffs at 33.6 ppg. The Golden Lions, though, were swept by the top two teams in their section in North Catholic and Highlands. Mankins, Ashlan Price and Regan Kerr are team leaders with playoff experience. Coach Rock Klimchock reached his 400th career win this season, most of them coming with the Jeannette boys.

11-Belle Vernon (10-12) at 6-Knoch (12-9)

7 p.m. Tuesday

Winner plays: At 3-Elizabeth Forward (20-2) on Friday (time TBD)

Section finish: Belle Vernon 4th, Section 3; Knoch T-4th, Section 1

Players to watch: Kenzi Seliga, Belle Vernon; Naturelle Ewing, Knoch

Layup lines: Belle Vernon is trying to remain positive momentum after losing 3 of its last 4 games. The Leopards only average 35.2 points but yield just 39. Their highest total in a loss is 41. Key players include Seliga, Caroline Lee and Saylor Lee, who has multiple double-doubles. … Knoch picked up momentum with six wins in its last eight games, including a victory over Greensburg Salem and an overtime loss to a good 3A team in Neshannock. Adah Fuller, Ewing and Liv Foster are key scorers. The Lady Knights allow 35 points a game.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

More Basketball

Hampton basketball readies for rare coaching search
Hall of fame basketball coach Joe Lafko steps down at Hampton
Corey Dotchin steps down as Highlands boys basketball coach
PIAA taking bids to host basketball championships
Basketball coach Rob Niederberger, who lifted Shaler from last place to WPIAL contender, resigns