What to watch for in WPIAL sports for Jan. 16, 2023: Beaver heads to Blackhawk for 1st-place battle

Sunday, January 15, 2023 | 9:54 PM

One of the best rivalries in WPIAL girls basketball headlines the start of another busy week of high school hoops in District 7.

Beaver visits Blackhawk in a midseason battle for first place in Section 2-4A. The two powers are a combined 21-3 through the middle of January.

Undefeated Blackhawk (12-0) is in first place in the section with a 4-0 record. Beaver (10-3) is 3-1 in the section and winner of two in a row after suffering its only section loss Jan. 5 to Quaker Valley.

The matchup features two of the top scoring juniors in the district: The Bobcats’ Chloe List averages 15.7 points per game, and the Cougars’ Alena Fusetti has a 16.1 points per game average.

This is also a showdown between the two most recent WPIAL Class 4A champions. Beaver won it all in 2021, and Blackhawk earned gold in 2022.

More 4A frays for first

Not only is first place up for grabs in Section 2-4A, but there are similar showdowns Monday in Section 1 and Section 3 of Class 4A.

In Section 1, North Catholic (10-3) heads to Saxonburg to take on Knoch (8-4). The Trojans are 5-0 and have a one-game lead over the Knights (4-1). Highlands is tied for second place with Knoch at 4-1.

This is also a matchup of two finalists from last year’s WPIAL championships. North Catholic beat Freedom, 48-43, to win the 3A championship, and Knoch lost to Blackhawk in the 4A finals, 55-35.

In 52 years of WPIAL girls basketball, the Trojans have captured 21 district titles.

In Section 3-4A, Elizabeth Forward (10-4) nears the midway point of section play with a half-game lead over Belle Vernon and a one-game advantage over West Mifflin (6-6).

On Monday, the front-running Warriors host the Titans.

EF is alone in first place at 5-0, and West Mifflin is 4-1.

These are the two highest-scoring teams in the section.

Fights for first in 2A and A

There are two more girls basketball sections where sole possession or a share of first place is at stake Monday.

In Section 3-2A, Greensburg Central Catholic (12-2) hosts Winchester Thurston (6-5). The Centurions are in first place with a 5-0 record, and the Bears are 3-1 in section play. Serra Catholic is in between the two with a 4-1 section mark.

In Section 3-A, the only two teams without a section loss meet when St. Joseph (9-2) visits Riverview (7-6). The Spartans are 2-0 in the section, a half-game behind the Raiders, who are 3-0 in the section.

St. Joe’s and Riverview have the best team defenses in Class A. The Spartans are allowing 35.4 points per game, and the Raiders have given up an average of 35.5 points per game.

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