What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Dec. 21, 2023: Big-school girls basketball powers to square off

Wednesday, December 20, 2023 | 10:30 PM

The top-ranked team in Class 5A girls basketball battles the No. 2 team in Class 6A in one of the top nonsection girls basketball games Thursday when McKeesport visits Norwin.

Both teams had strong seasons a year ago and are off and running this season.

Norwin lost a year ago in the WPIAL 6A semifinals to North Allegheny and then fell in the PIAA final four to Cedar Cliff.

Last season, McKeesport also lost in the district semifinals and in the state quarterfinals, both times falling to Oakland Catholic.

This year, the Knights are 6-1 and have won four straight games since losing to District 3 power Spring-Ford.

The Tigers are a perfect 5-0 this season and are coming off their most lopsided win, a 26-point triumph over Latrobe.

McKeesport at Norwin tips off at 7:30 p.m.

Rivalry renewed

Five years ago, the Bishop Canevin girls basketball team was poised to win a fourth straight WPIAL championship.

The Crusaders were the top seed in the 2019 Class 2A playoffs and following a first-round bye, they cruised past the Ellis School by 20 points.

BC faced No. 4-seeded Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in a semifinal at Peters Township.

The Crusaders stormed out to a 10-1 lead in the opening quarter before the Chargers came back and pulled off the surprise win, 51-45.

It was the first district playoff loss suffered by Bishop Canevin since 2015.

OLSH went on to beat Brentwood in the finals, 50-48, to win the school’s only girls basketball crown.

The two small Catholic school basketball powers meet again in a nonsection contest Thursday when the Chargers host the Crusaders.

OLSH is 4-2 overall but coming off a loss to defending Class A champion Union.

Bishop Canevin has struggled early on with a 2-5 record and has lost its last three games in a row.

Tasting success

Two WPIAL boys basketball teams have a chance Thursday to match or pass their win total from a tough 2022-2023 season.

A contender a few years ago, Albert Gallatin did not win a section game last year and finished 3-15 overall.

The Colonials already own wins over Beth-Center, Ringgold and Brentwood this year and they look to improve to 4-2 when they host Carrick.

Waynesburg was 3-19 last season. While they have five losses this season, the Raiders do have wins over Carmichaels and Beth-Center.

They hope to match last year’s win total with a win at California. The Trojans are still in search of their first victory this season.

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