What to watch for in WPIAL sports March 8, 2021: Elite Eight brings thrills

Sunday, March 7, 2021 | 10:04 PM

The final step to the WPIAL Final Four takes place on the final night of the district basketball quarterfinals.

We wrap up the Elite Eight on Monday with quarterfinals games from boys Class 4A, boys Class 3A, girls Class 5A and girls Class A.

Boys round of 8

• In the last 10 years, the North Catholic and Quaker Valley boys basketball programs have been among the best in the WPIAL.

Both have been consistent in making deep postseason runs nearly every season.

They have taken home gold and silver from several WPIAL championship-game appearances.

However, their paths have never crossed — until Monday.

No. 4 seed Quaker Valley (13-4) will host No. 5 seed North Catholic (16-4).

The Quakers have the dynamic junior duo of Adou Thiero (22 ppg) and Markus Frank (18 ppg), and the Trojans are paced by senior Andrew Ammerman (17 ppg).

Both rolled to first-round wins by a combined margin of 55 points.

Quaker Valley has won six of its last seven games, and North Catholic has been victorious in seven of its last eight contests.

• February 19, 2011.

That was the last time the Ellwood City boys basketball program won a playoff game.

So far this season, it has two. The Wolverines face Shady Side Academy on Monday at Fox Chapel.

No. 11 seed Ellwood City beat Valley in the preliminary round 72-20 and followed up by stunning No.6 seed Avonworth, 58-53, in the first round.

It hasn’t been as long, but the Shady Side Academy first-round triumph over Apollo-Ridge was the Bulldogs’ first playoff win since 2018.

All four Class 4A and Class 3A boys playoff games Monday can be seen here only on Trib HSSN.

Girls quarters

• When Woodland Hills faces Thomas Jefferson on Monday in a Class 5A quarterfinal, it might bring back some bitter memories from nearly one year ago for Wolverines coach Von Pitts.

Both the Wolverines and Jaguars lost in the WPIAL semifinals last season but qualified for the PIAA tournament.

Woody High crushed Grove City, and TJ cruised past Portage to set up a state second-round contest between the two.

A controversial intentional foul call in the waning seconds led to three free throws for Thomas Jefferson to ice a 39-34 Jaguars win.

Afterward, Pitts said it was a “horrible call” and said the whistle was “a travesty.”

The two leading scorers that night square off again Monday.

Graci Fairman, now a junior, had 20 points for the Jaguars in that game, and current Wolverines senior Peyton Pinkney scored 16 points.

• It is a battle of silver and gold when West Greene hosts Bishop Canevin on Monday in the Class A quarterfinals.

West Greene is the No. 2 seed and has become used to the number; the Pioneers reached the WPIAL title game the past three seasons and took second to Winchester Thurston and Rochester (twice).

Bishop Canevin won the WPIAL Class 2A crown a year ago before dropping to Class A this season.

The 2020 title was the Crusaders’ fourth district championship in the last five years.

All four Class 5A and Class A quarterfinal games can be seen Monday on HSSN.

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