What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Dec. 15, 2023: Boys hit the hardwood for section openers

Thursday, December 14, 2023 | 10:30 PM

Ten days before Christmas and all through the house, many boys basketball players were stirring because it’s opening night of WPIAL section play.

Eight district boys basketball sections open up play Friday, including Section 2 in Class 4A, all four sections in 3A and Section 3 and 4 in 2A.

One defending district champion opens up its section slate when Deer Lakes hosts Ligonier Valley.

The Lancers won their first WPIAL championship last winter and are 4-1 this season.

Deer Lakes has won three straight, including a double overtime thriller over Mohawk on Tuesday, 66-55.

Another Section 3-3A opener to watch features defending section co-champ Shady Side Academy visiting Burrell.

The Bucs finished a game behind the Bulldogs and Deer Lakes last season and are off and flying this season with a 4-0 record and wins over East Allegheny, OLSH, Jeannette and St. Joseph.

The Bulldogs are 2-3 and have dropped three straight to Avonworth, Erie and Highlands.

Top teams collide

They are wasting no time in Section 4-3A as the top four finishers in the section a year ago go head to head on opening night of section play.

Last season, Washington and Yough finished tied for first place, three games ahead of third-place Brownsville and four games in front of fourth-place McGuffey.

All four qualified for the postseason; however, only Yough made it past the first round of the 3A playoffs.

On Friday, Washington visits McGuffey while Yough travels to Brownsville.

It has been a rough start of the Little Prexies, who have lost their first five games this season. The Highlanders meanwhile have won two straight and are 3-1 this season.

The Cougars are the preseason section favorite and are ranked in the 3A Top 5. They won their first three games this season and are 4-2 overall. The Falcons are 3-3 this season but have won two straight.

4-0 vs. 4-0 fray

A Section 4-2A lid-lifter has a little bit of extra juice to it with both teams entering with identically perfect records two weeks into the season.

Burgettstown hosts Chartiers-Houston with both teams sitting at 4-0 overall.

The Blue Devils own nonsection wins this season over Propel Montour, Western Beaver, Freedom and Carlynton.

The Buccaneers have defeated Avella, McGuffey, Freedom and Brentwood.

These section rivals played three times last season and Chartiers-Houston won all three. The Bucs beat the Blue Devils in both section matchups and also in Avella Holiday Tournament.

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