What to watch for in WPIAL sports for March 26, 2021: Teams chasing PIAA glory

Thursday, March 25, 2021 | 11:02 PM

The champions-only version of the PIAA basketball playoffs has one day in the books with eight more state title games to be played at the Giant Center in Hershey over the next two days.

Two boys and two girls championship games will be held Friday and Saturday at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Here are some Championship Friday factoids that can’t be found at any fish fry.

Girls A Finals: Bishop Guilfoyle vs. Jenkintown, noon

• Bishop Guilfoyle will be playing for a seventh PIAA girls basketball championship after winning state gold in 1984, 1991, 1993, 2007, 2009 and 2010.

• The Marauders have won four straight PIAA postseason games after reaching the quarterfinals in Class 2A last year before the playoffs were canceled, then winning the first two games in this year’s Class A tournament.

• This is the second trip to the state championship game for Jenkintown. The Drakes beat Juniata Valley out of District 6, 51-46, in the 2018 PIAA girls Class A title game.

• That Drakes championship win in 2018 was the only time a District 1 girls basketball team played in a PIAA Class A title game. Jenkintown has won 15 straight since its only loss of the season to Abington on Jan. 25.

• PIAA girls A champions:

5 years ago in 2016 – North Catholic

10 years ago in 2011 – Steelton-Highspire

20 years ago in 2001 – Kennedy Christian

25 years ago in 1996 – Ekland

40 years ago in 1981 – Conneaut Lake

Boys 2A Finals: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart vs. Constitution, 2:30 p.m.

• Our Lady of the Sacred Heart has won 39 straight games and four PIAA playoff games in a row since losing to Bishop Guilfoyle in the 2019 semifinals.

• This is the Chargers’ second trip to the PIAA title game in school history. Their only other journey to Hershey ended in an 81-71 loss to Constitution in the 2018 Class 2A finals.

• In that 2018 title game, Keshaun Hammonds led the Generals with 23 points while Austin Wigley scored a game-high 25 points for the Chargers.

• Constitution qualified for its first PIAA playoff 11 years ago in 2010. Since then, the Generals are 40-6 in the state playoffs with four state championships — in 2012 over Lincoln Park, 2014 over Seton LaSalle, 2015 over Farrell and 2018 over OLSH. Constitution lost to Sewickley Academy in overtime in the 2017 finals.

• PIAA boys 2A champions:

5 years ago in 2016 – Aliquippa

10 years ago in 2011 – Imhotep Charter

20 years ago in 2001 – Camp Hill Trinity

25 years ago in 1996 – George Jr. Republic

50 years ago in 1971 – Midland

Girls 6A Finals: North Allegheny vs. Spring-Ford, 5 p.m.

• This is North Allegheny’s second trip to the PIAA girls basketball championship game. The Tigers lost to Boyertown in the 2017 state 6A finals, 46-35.

• This is the third PIAA Class 6A girls basketball championship game a WPIAL team is participating in since expansion to six classifications. The Tigers lost in 2017 and Peters Township beat Garnet Valley in the 2019 title game.

• Spring-Ford is playing for a state crown for the third time in the last eight seasons. In 2013, the Rams beat Cumberland Valley in the Class AAAA title game, 60-45. The two teams met again in the 2014 championship game with the Eagles prevailing, 49-30.

• A District 1 team has won two of the first three Class 6A girls finals, including the 2018 finals when a pair of teams from District 1 squared off. Upper Dublin beat Central Bucks South, 41-39.

• PIAA girls 6A champions:

2 years ago in 2019 – Peters Township

3 years ago in 2018 – Upper Dublin

4 years ago in 2017 – Boyertown

Boys 5A Finals: Cathedral Prep vs. Archbishop Ryan, 7:30 p.m.

• Cathedral Prep is playing in the school’s sixth PIAA boys basketball championship game, but the first in 25 years. The Ramblers won state crowns in 1980 and 1993 and lost in the finals in 1984, 1994 and 1996.

• The Ramblers are 60-33 all-time in the PIAA basketball playoffs, but have only faced a team from District 12 once. Cathedral Prep lost to Archbishop Carroll, 59-32, in the 2015 Class AAA semifinals.

• Archbishop Ryan is making its first trip to a PIAA championship game. The Raiders are 8-2 in the state playoffs since their first appearance in 2017.

• In the brief three-year history of Class 5A in the PIAA, this marks the second time a team from District 10 has faced a team from District 12 in the finals. In the first 5A finals in 2017, Archbishop Wood crushed Meadville, 73-40.

• PIAA boys 5A champions:

2 years ago in 2019 – Moon

3 years ago in 2018 – Abington Heights

4 years ago in 2017 – Archbishop Wood

Play ball!

After 21 months, the baseball and softball diamonds around the WPIAL will once again be active with balls, bats and gloves.

Following the cancellation of the 2020 spring sports season because of the covid-19 pandemic, Friday marks the opening day of baseball and softball in the WPIAL.

Since it has been a while, here are the defending champs heading into the 2021 softball season:

6A: Hempfield Spartans

5A: West Allegheny Indians

4A: Elizabeth Forward Warriors

3A: Avonworth Antelopes

2A: Laurel Spartans

A: West Greene Pioneers

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