What to watch for in WPIAL sports for Jan. 4, 2024: Serra Catholic to host GCC for Section 3-2A lead

Wednesday, January 3, 2024 | 4:41 PM

It’s a busy night of WPIAL section girls basketball Thursday.

Back in 2003, both the Greensburg Central Catholic and Serra Catholic girls basketball teams were champions.

GCC defeated Carlynton, 49-40, to win the WPIAL Class 2A championship while Serra rolled past Monessen, 68-54, to win Class A gold.

The Centurions and Eagles have been flying high for the most part in the 21 years since, playing for district titles nearly a dozen times while combining to win three more district crowns.

This season, they are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in Class 2A as they prepare to meet for this first time in 2024 on Thursday in McKeesport.

The top-ranked Centurions are 6-2 and have won four straight games since back to back losses out of district to Baltimore Polytechnic and Berlin-Brothersvalley.

The second-ranked Eagles are 7-1 and are winners of three straight games since losing to St. Joseph.

Both teams are 2-0 atop Section 3-2A.

They split last season and ended up as co-champions in the section.

GCC lost in the WPIAL quarterfinals to Burgettstown and in the PIAA semifinals to Kennedy Catholic.

Serra also lost in the district quarterfinals, falling to Aliquippa. The Eagles fell in the first round of the state playoffs to Redbank Valley.

Bucs getting defensive

A year after finishing 10-13 and losing by 27 points to Laurel in the opening round of the WPIAL Class 3A girls basketball playoffs, the Burrell girls basketball team is enjoying the fruits of defensive labors this season.

The Bucs have stopped many on defense, allowing an average of 26.3 points per game, the fourth lowest in the WPIAL.

Burrell won its first seven games, including the Section 3-3A opener against Mt. Pleasant, before falling to St. Joseph in its most recent contest.

The Buccaneers will face a stiff test Thursday when they visit one of the powers in the section and in all of Class 3A — Shady Side Academy.

The Bulldogs were semifinalists last season and beat the Buccaneers twice by 28 and 41 points.

This season, Shady Side Academy is averaging 52.5 points per game.

SSA is 6-2 overall, but has lost two of its last three games.

Golden vs. gold

One of the surprise teams in district girls hoops this season has been the golden performance of Greensburg Salem.

The Golden Lions finished in fourth place in Section 1-4A last season and lost in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.

This season, Greensburg Salem is 9-1 overall with its lone loss coming in overtime against top-ranked Blackhawk.

Since then, the Golden Lions have won eight straight games, including their section opener against Derry.

We find out how far Greensburg Salem has come Thursday when the Golden Lions visit two-time defending WPIAL champion North Catholic.

The Trojans are 3-4 overall and 1-0 in Section 1 after beating Freeport before the holidays.

Two of North Catholic’s losses have come against Class 6A opponents and the other two were to teams outside the district.

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