Westmoreland WPIAL basketball playoff preview capsules for Thursday’s games
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 | 5:33 PM
No. 2 Monessen (13-8) vs. No. 7 Imani Christian (12-9)
7:30 p.m. Thursday at Chartiers-Houston
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Winner plays: Winner of No. 3 Union (15-5)/No. 6 Eden Christian (16-5) on Monday in semifinals.
Coaches: Joe Salvino, Monessen; Anwan Wesley, Imani Christian.
Players to watch: Lyndon Henderson, 6-2, Jr., G, Monessen; Sam Fairley, 6-1, Sr., F, Imani Christian.
Layup lines: This is a rematch of last year's WPIAL championship game, which was won by Monessen, 74-59. That contentious game saw the teams combine for 29 fouls in the first 16 minutes. … Monessen has won five WPIAL titles since 2001. … Henderson has shown a knack for lighting up the scoreboard. He scored 55 points in a 93-54 win over Geibel earlier in the season. The mark broke a school record and is the fourth-highest scoring game by a player from Westmoreland County. … Henderson had 13 points in the finals last year against Imani. … Monessen averages 71.0 points a game. … The Greyhounds have won nine of their last 10 games. … Imani Christian has been a WPIAL program for only six years. … The Saints were Section 3 tri-champions with Propel Andrew Street and Eden Christian. … Fairley is one of the top athletes to come out of Imani. He is productive in the post and as a shot blocker and averages 18 points. … DeShawn Hubbard scores 16 a game for the Saints. … The winner qualifies for the PIAA playoffs.
No. 3 Beaver (16-5) vs. No. 6 Belle Vernon (18-5)
6:30 p.m. Thursday at Canon-McMillan
On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com
Winner plays: No. 2 Blackhawk (18-2)/No. 10 Elizabeth-Forward (15-7)
Coaches: Greg Huston, Beaver; Lisa Fairman, Belle Vernon.
Players to watch: Bella Posset, 5-8, Sr., G, Beaver; Keira Boff, 5-6, Sr., G, Belle Vernon
Layup lines: Belle Vernon won its first playoff game in two years with a 54-45 victory over Knoch on Saturday. Boff had a busy day at the free-throw line against the Knights, converting 18 of 20 shots en route to a game-high 23 points. The Leopards entered the playoffs by going 9-1 in their last 10 games of the regular season. … Beaver earned a share of the Section 2 title with a 59-58 win over Blackhawk in the final game of the regular season. The Bobcats, who received a bye to the quarterfinals, are on a seven-game winning streak. Posset is one of the top scorers in the WPIAL, averaging 20 points.
No. 4 Greensburg Central Catholic (12-10) vs. No. 5 Serra Catholic (15-7)
6:30 p.m. Thursday at Fox Chapel
On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com
Winner plays: Winner of No. 1 Vincentian (20-1) and No. 9 California (15-7) on Monday in semifinals.
Coaches: Joe Eisaman, Greensburg CC; Bill Cleary, Serra Catholic.
Players to watch: Anna Eisaman, 5-7, Jr., G, Greensburg CC; Gigi Mele-Madigan, 5-6, Jr., G, Serra Catholic.
Layup lines: Greensburg Central Catholic is seeking a return to the semifinals for the third consecutive season. The Centurions were tripped up last year in the semis by Vincentian, the team it could face with a win Thursday. … GCC and Serra split the Section 3 title and a pair of section games, with each winning at home. … GCC barely allows more points than it scores (43.9 to 43.0). … Anna Eisaman has taken on an increased scoring role, and junior guard Bella Skatell is one of the team's top perimeter threats. Senior guard Olivia Stawovy is another key player with postseason experience. … Serra lost three of its final five regular-season games but bounced back with a 53-52 win over No. 12 seed Riverview in the first round. Mele-Madigan hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the win. Mele-Madigan (11.1 ppg) and senior Rylan German (10.7 ppg) scored 16 each in the win. Serra trailed by 10 early in the fourth quarter. … The loser must hope the winner wins the WPIAL title so it can be pulled into the PIAA tournament via the WPIAL's follow-the-winner format.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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