What to watch for in WPIAL sports for Feb. 27, 2023: Section rematches on tap in semifinals
Sunday, February 26, 2023 | 10:14 PM
The two WPIAL Class 6A girls basketball Final Four games are between rivals who earlier battled for section supremacy. Now, they meet for a spot in the district championship game.
Top-seeded Upper St. Clair shoots for a third victory over defending champion Mt. Lebanon, while it will be the rubber game of the series between second-seeded North Allegheny and No. 3 Norwin in the 6A semifinals Monday.
The Section 2 champion USC Panthers swept the Blue Devils this season, winning by 18 points at home and eight points on the road.
Upper St. Clair (20-2) will face Mt. Lebanon (17-6) at neighboring Bethel Park at 6 p.m.
The Knights won at home by 21 points Jan. 3 while the Tigers captured the rematch by seven points Jan. 26.
These two programs have had the golden touch in the district’s highest classification. Norwin and NA have combined for six WPIAL crowns in the last eight years.
Almost a private party
Three of the final four remaining teams in the WPIAL Class A girls basketball playoffs are private schools.
There was a time when a private school won the district Class A championship 12 years in a row from 2007-18.
Bishop Canevin beat Aquinas twice this year by 12 points and by 11 points.
Chase for gold
Highlands has the nickname the Golden Rams and won its most recent WPIAL title in 2020. Before that, the Rams hadn’t lifted a WPIAL trophy since beating Blackhawk by two points to win the 1995 Class 3A title.
Since expansion to six classifications six years ago, the Leopards have won three WPIAL championships.
The two teams that collide in the other semifinal at Norwin at 8 p.m. also have multiple gold trophies since 2017.
All charged up
It is possible to overlook a four-time defending champion?
Perhaps the WPIAL basketball steering committee did just that in seeding the Class 3A boys hoops postseason tournament when Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was seeded No. 6.
OLSH has won the last four 2A titles but moved up in class this season.
While the dominance hasn’t been there, the success for the Chargers has not faded away.
Now, OLSH (18-5) takes on No. 2 Neshannock (18-5) at North Allegheny at 8 p.m.
The Lancers have a pair of double-digit wins over Ellwood City and Mohawk in this postseason while after cruising past McGuffey, the Ironmen needed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by senior Makhai Valentine to edge Seton LaSalle, 56-54.
Monday’s consolation games
The WPIAL has returned to play-back games, allowing teams to earn a spot and seed for the PIAA basketball playoffs.
The third batch of consolation games takes place Monday for quarterfinals losers in boys 2A, girls 5A and girls 4A.
Penguins Cup playoffs openers
While a handful of teams will close of the regular season this week, some teams in Class A are dropping the puck on the postseason Monday.
The PIHL will begin the Penguins Cup Class A playoffs this week with two first-round games Monday and two more Tuesday.
The winner will face top-seeded Fox Chapel in the quarterfinals on March 9.
The other game Monday has West Allegheny (11-7-2) squaring off with Norwin (15-4-1) at the Palmer Imaging Arena in Delmont at 8 p.m.
The winner of the Indians vs. Knights game will take on McDowell in the quarterfinals on March 7.
Tags: Aquinas Academy, Beaver, Belle Vernon, Bishop Canevin, Clairton, Deer Lakes, Eden Christian, Elizabeth Forward, Hampton, Highlands, Indiana, Knoch, Laurel Highlands, Lincoln Park, Mars, Mt. lebanon, Neshannock, North Allegheny, North Catholic, Norwin, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Penn-Trafford, Quaker Valley, Serra Catholic, Shenango, St. Joseph, Steel Valley, Trinity, Union, Upper St. Clair, West Allegheny
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