Westmoreland PIAA basketball preview capsules for March 7, 2020

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Friday, March 6, 2020 | 8:50 PM


Today’s games

Boys

Class 3A first round

Ligonier Valley (23-3) vs. Carlynton (15-9)

1 p.m. at Greater Johnstown

Winner plays: Winner of Fairview (23-2) and Beaver Falls (14-8) on Wednesday in second round

Coaches: John Berger, Ligonier Valley; Mike Kozy, Carlynton

Players to watch: Michael Marinchak, Ligonier Valley; Chauncie Mickens, Carlynton (Sr., G)

About Ligonier Valley: Fresh off a third straight Heritage Conference title — its last, presumably as the Rams get set to join the WPIAL next school year — Ligonier Valley is looking to rebuild momentum after a tough loss. The Rams lost to Richland, 62-45, in the District 6 championship game to snap a 20-game winning streak. Richland also topped Ligonier Valley in last year’s district final. Now, the Rams will try to win their first state playoff game since 1987. They were dumped by Beaver Falls last year in the first round 84-68 at Greater Johnstown. Senior guard Michael Marinchak has more than 1,600 career points.

About Carlynton: After losing to North Catholic in the WPIAL quarterfinals, Carlynton needed the Trojans to win the WPIAL title to get pulled into the PIAA playoffs, and that is what occurred. North Catholic’s 18th straight win reignited the Cougars’ season and gave them fifth place in District 7. Carlynton, the alma mater of former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, has not been to the PIAA postseason since 2007. Mickens (21 ppg) is a 1,000-point career scorer. He had 33 points in a game this season. Senior guards DeQuay Canton and Mark Phillips are other key players for the Cougars, who have posted a winning record for just the second time in 10 years.

Girls

Class 4A first round

Southmoreland (24-1) vs. Huntingdon (13-11)

2 p.m. at Greensburg Salem

Winner plays: Winner of Lancaster Catholic (25-3) and Indiana (14-10) on Wednesday in second round

Coaches: Brian Pritts, Southmoreland; Jeremy Uhrich, Huntingdon

Players to watch: Gracie Spadaro, Southmoreland (So., F); Lexi Troup, Huntingdon (So., G)

About Southmoreland: The WPIAL runner-up Scotties will make their state-playoff debut close to home. A historic season that includes the program’s first section title in 13 years and first WPIAL finals appearance will continue into the PIAA tournament. Spadaro had 13 points, and freshman Olivia Cernuto added 10 in a 61-44 loss to North Catholic in the WPIAL title game, the Scotties’ first defeat since last year’s WPIAL quarterfinals. The defensively strong Scotties produce 15.1 steals and 3.9 blocks per game, components of their 32.8 points allowed per game.

About Huntingdon: The Bearcats reached the District 6 title game but struggled with defensive pressure early and fell to Forest Hills, 83-44. They will have sat for two weeks since that game when they take the floor Saturday. Troup had 12 points in the final but was the only Huntingdon player in double figures. Senior point guard Kynnedy Miller had 16 points in a 50-36 win over Juniata in the district semifinals, a game that saw the Bearcats made 20 of 29 free throws.

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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