What to watch for in WPIAL sports for March 27, 2021: PIAA champions to be crowned

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Saturday, March 27, 2021 | 8:54 AM


The champions-only version of the PIAA basketball playoffs has one day left with four more state title games to be played at the Giant Center in Hershey on Saturday.

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

Here are some Championship Saturday factoids that will put a bow on the 2021 high school basketball season.

Girls 4A Finals: Villa Maria Academy vs. Archbishop Wood, noon

• This is the 10th PIAA girls basketball championship game appearance for Villa Maria Academy in Erie, not Malvern. The Victors’ first title game was nearly 40 years ago in 1982, and their most recent trip to Hershey was four years ago in 2017.

• The Victors are 3-6 in the state title games with all three wins coming in a row from 2009-11. They reached the finals and lost in back-to-back years on two separate occasions — the 2002 and 2003 finals along with the 2016 and 2017 championships.

• Archbishop Wood has been the most dominant girls basketball program in Pennsylvania this past decade. The Vikings are playing in their ninth PIAA girls basketball championship game since 2010.

• The Vikings are 5-3 in those title game appearances, winning in 2010, ‘11, ‘12, ‘16 and ‘17. The three losses came to WPIAL teams — 2014 and 2015 to Blackhawk and Mars in the 2018 finals.

• PIAA girls A champions:

5 years ago in 2016 – Cumberland Valley

10 years ago in 2011 – Mt. Lebanon

20 years ago in 2001 – Oakland Catholic

25 years ago in 1996 – Altoona

35 years ago in 1986 – Altoona

Boys 3A Finals: Brookville vs. Loyalsock Township, 2:30 p.m.

• This is the first PIAA championship game appearance for Brookville. The Raiders were 2-18 lifetime in the state playoffs before this year’s title game run.

• The Raiders are in rare company. Only three District 9 schools have won PIAA boys basketball titles. They are Elk County Catholic in 2006, East Brady in 1980 and Kane in 1949.

• Loyalsock Township is playing in its 57th all-time PIAA postseason boys basketball game, but only their second title contest. The Lancers lost to Duquesne in the 1993 Class A final, 70-60.

• The Lancers are 27-29 all-time in the state playoffs. It has been a struggle for District 4 teams in the boys basketball playoffs. The last D-4 team to win gold was Williamsport in the 1999 AAAA finals.

• PIAA boys 3A champions:

5 years ago in 2016 – Neumann-Goretti

10 years ago in 2011 – Neumann-Goretti

20 years ago in 2001 – Franklin

25 years ago in 1996 – Blackhawk

50 years ago in 1971 – Schenley

Girls 5A Finals: Chartiers Valley vs. Cardinal O’Hara, 5 p.m.

• Chartiers Valley is in its second PIAA girls basketball championship game after beating Archbishop Carroll in the 2019 finals, 53-40.

• Since losing to Harbor Creek in the 2018 state playoffs, the Colts have won nine straight PIAA postseason games and are 82-3 overall the last three years combined.

• This is the third trip to the PIAA championship game for Cardinal O’Hara. The Lions are still looking for their first gold state crown after losing to Mt. Lebanon in the 2009 title game and to Cumberland Valley in the 2016 finals.

• In its brief history, all four PIAA Class 5A girls basketball championship games have come down to WPIAL vs. District 12 teams. See the results below.

• PIAA girls 5A champions:

2 years ago in 2019 – Chartiers Valley

3 years ago in 2018 – Mars

4 years ago in 2017 – Archbishop Wood

Boys 6A Finals: Reading vs. Archbishop Wood, 7:30 p.m.

• Reading is playing in its 95th all-time PIAA boys basketball playoff game. Their first appearance was 100 years ago when it knocked Mahoney City in the 1921 quarterfinals before losing to Williamsport in the semifinals.

• The Red Knights are 53-42 in the state playoffs and 1-2 in PIAA championship games. Reading lost to South from the City League in the 1934 finals, fell to General Braddock in the 1973 title game and won their first ever championship by beating Pine-Richland in the 2017 6A finals.

• Archbishop Wood is an impressive 13-1 all-time in the PIAA postseason with three championship game appearances in the four years it has participated.

• The Vikings beat District 10 Meadville to win the 2017 5A crown. Two years later, in their only state playoff loss, they fell to Moon, 74-64 in the 5A finals.

• Archbishop Wood boys and girls are trying to sweep state gold for the second time in five years after each taking home gold in 2017.

• PIAA boys 6A champions:

2 years ago in 2019 – Kennedy Catholic

3 years ago in 2018 – Roman Catholic

4 years ago in 2017 – Reading

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, Saturday continues opening weekend of baseball and softball in the WPIAL.

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

6A – Pine-Richland Rams

5A – Shaler Titans

4A – Beaver Bobcats

3A – Steel Valley Ironmen

2A – Seton LaSalle Rebels

A – California Trojans

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