What to watch for in WPIAL sports for Feb. 23, 2022: Basketball quarterfinals begin

Wednesday, February 23, 2022 | 11:57 AM

One round is in the books, now it’s time to move on to Round 2 on the Path to the Pete.

The first of three straight basketball quarterfinals nights shines a spotlight on boys 4A, boys A, girls 6A and girls 3A.

In boys 4A, they have met several times, but usually on the grandest stage with district gold up for grabs.

A quarterfinals matchup between Lincoln Park (16-6) and North Catholic (18-3) feels way too early for these two heavyweights to clash.

The feeling is legit as the Leopards and Trojans have met in three straight WPIAL title games.

In 2017, North Catholic edged Lincoln Park, 56-51, to win the WPIAL Class 3A championship.

Three years later, the Trojans and Leopards met again in the 3A finals and, once again, North Catholic was victorious, 65-56, in the 2020 title game at Pitt.

Then last year, the tables turned as Lincoln Park was crowned 4A champion, beating North Catholic, 66-57, in the finals played at North Allegheny.

Wednesday’s game is an 8 p.m. tip at North Catholic.

Another title game rematch

Last year, the Rochester boys basketball team nearly pulled off an amazing feat, going from worst to first.

In 2020, the Rams finished dead last in Class A with a record of 0-21.

In 2021, Rochester won Section 1, picked up three district playoff wins and reached the finals against Bishop Canevin.

The clock struck midnight on the Rams’ Cinderella season though, as the Crusaders took home Class A gold with a 42-27 victory.

Bishop Canevin (17-4) is the top seed this season and received a first-round bye, while Rochester (9-11) beat Aquinas Academy in the 8-9 game, 72-61.

They play at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bishop Canevin on Trib HSSN.

Playoff openers

Seven of the eight teams playing in the WPIAL Class 6A girls basketball quarterfinals are cutting the ribbon on their postseason.

Only nine teams qualified for the 6A girls playoffs, thus the first round consisted of one game and seven byes.

The only team with postseason experience this winter is Peters Township. After beating Butler in the first round, the Indians travel to top-seeded Mt. Lebanon on Wednesday.

The Blue Devils won the first two meetings between the Section 2 rivals by 14 points each.

One other quarterfinals matchup is a third meeting between section foes as well.

Defending champion North Allegheny hosts Seneca Valley.

The Tigers beat the Raiders twice, by 16 points at home and only by five points in their most recent meeting at Seneca Valley.

Section 1-3A shining

Half of the eight teams left in the WPIAL Class 3A girls basketball playoffs are from Section 1.

This comes a year after all four semifinalists were from Section 1, with Mohawk beating North Catholic in the 3A finals.

Section 1 won’t be able to own the final four again this season, since two teams clash in the quarterfinals when North Catholic hosts Laurel. The Trojans swept the Spartans in their two regular season meetings by a combined 36 points.

The other 3A quarterfinals battle between section foes has Waynesburg Central visiting South Park.

The two teams were co-champs in Section 2 after splitting their two games. The Eagles won by 21 points at home in December while the Raiders won 58-53 on their home floor last month.

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