Westmoreland WPIAL basketball playoff capsules: Games for Friday, Feb. 23, 2024

Thursday, February 22, 2024 | 4:17 PM

WPIAL basketball playoffs


Class 2A


10-Eden Christian (12-10) vs. 2-Greensburg Central Catholic (21-2)

8 p.m. Friday at Fox Chapel

Winner plays: Winner of 6-Jeannette (14-7)/3-Northgate (17-5) on Tuesday in semifinals (time, site TBD)

Coaches: Aaron Smith, Eden Christian; Christian Hyland, GCC

Players to watch: Nathan Garrett, Eden Christian; Franco Alvarez, GCC

Layup lines: This will be the teams’ third playoff matchup in five years. Garrett lit up the scoreboard for 31 points as the Warriors held back No. 7 Shenango, 67-56, in the opening round. Eden trailed by 10 in the first quarter. Grayson Reichart had 13 points, and Mason Dean added 11 in the win. This will be the Warriors’ fifth straight trip to the quarterfinals. Yes, the coach is that Aaron Smith, who played defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 13 seasons. … GCC rolled into the quarterfinals and is seeking its fourth straight semifinal appearance. Tyree Turner had 18 points, and Franco Alvarez added 11 in a 57-22 victory over Frazier in the first round at GCC. The Centurions have developed a number of role players who can shoot and defend: Liam Gallagher, Sean Walker, Braden Riley, Brady O’Rourke and Ty Rozier. Alvarez scored 33 against Eden last year in a 73-54 win at Fox Chapel. … The winner qualifies for the PIAA playoffs. The loser drops into the play-in tournament for state qualification.

6-Jeannette (14-7) vs. 3-Northgate (17-5)

6 p.m. Friday at Mt. Lebanon

Winner plays: Winner of 10-Eden Christian (12-10) vs. 2-Greensburg Central Catholic (21-2) on Tuesday in semifinals (time, site TBD)

Coaches: Adrian Batts, Jeannette; Cam Williams, Northgate

Players to watch: Jayce Powell, Jeannette; Josh Williams, Northgate

Layup lines: Jeannette is reinstating a relaxed dress code again, but the Jayhawks can’t relax against a fast-paced Flames team. Jeannette avoided an upset in the first round by defeating No. 11 Sewickley Academy, 52-47, at home. Kymone Brown had seven of his team-high 17 points in the third when Jeannette outscored the Panthers, 16-5. Powell added 13 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, and Markus McGowan scored 10. The Jayhawks made the semifinals in 2020-21 and lost to OLSH, 69-41. … Northgate, which plays in the same section as No. 1 seed Aliquippa, averages 66.2 points and put up 101 against Laurel. In a 66-52 first-round win over Clairton, Williams and Ty Daniels scored 15 each, Kaden Kemp had 11 and Desmond Williams 10. The Flames lost to Aliquippa in the WPIAL final last year, 52-40, and reached the second round of the state tournament. Northgate started its run with an 89-65 win over Jeannette in the WPIAL first round. … The winner qualifies for the state playoffs. The loser will play in the consolation bracket.

Class A

Consolation tournament

West Greene (16-8) at Monessen (18-5)

7 p.m. Friday

Winner plays: Winner of Carlynton/Aquinas Academy on Tuesday in fifth-place game (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Rodney Johnson, Monessen; Lane Allison, West Greene

Layup lines: Monessen was upended by No. 5 Union in the quarterfinals, 70-58. The Greyhounds gave up 46 second-half points after taking a 27-24 lead into halftime. Johnson had 19 points, Lorenzo Gardner added 15 and Devontae Robinson chipped in 13. Gardner has 1,617 career points. Last year, Monessen lost to Carlynton in the quarterfinals (62-39), then dropped a 72-62 decision to Aquinas Academy in the consolation first round to miss the PIAA postseason. … West Greene finished second to Monessen in Section 2. The teams split two section matchups, with the Pioneers winning 46-43 at Monessen. West Greene fell to No. 1 Imani Christian, 60-26, in the quarterfinals. Allison averages 18 a game.


Class 4A


8-Greensburg Salem (16-7) at 1-Blackhawk (20-2)

7 p.m. Friday

Winner plays: Winner of 5-Laurel Highlands (19-2)/4-Highlands (16-6) on Tuesday in semifinals (time, site TBD)

Coaches: Rick Klimchock, Greensburg Salem; Greg Huston, Blackhawk

Players to watch: Ashlan Price, Greensburg Salem; Alena Fusetti, Blackhawk

Layup lines: Greensburg Salem picked up the first playoff win in Klimchock’s seven-year tenure as coach, defeating No. 9 Hopewell, 43-20, in the first round. Blessing Gantt scored a team-high 14 points, Kait Mankins added 12 and Price chipped in 10. The Golden Lions took Blackhawk to overtime in the second game of season and lost 40-35. … Blackhawk, which is riding a 14-game winning streak, has not played since Feb. 9 because of a first-round bye. The Lady Cougars’ losses are to 2A power Kennedy Catholic and 5A contender McKeesport. Blackhawk won its eighth WPIAL title in 2022. Huston is in his first year as coach. He replaced Steve Lodovico. … The winner qualifies for the PIAA playoffs. The loser goes into the consolation tournament.

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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