What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Feb. 21, 2024: Quarterfinals begin on WPIAL hardwood

Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 6:37 PM

With the first round in the books, the curtain goes up Wednesday on the WPIAL basketball quarterfinals with boys Class 4A and A along with girls Class 3A and 2A second-round games.

The rubber game of the season series between section foes Montour and Avonworth will take place at Mt. Lebanon in the boys 4A quarterfinals.

In the first meeting Jan. 12, senior Anthony Arlia scored 20 points and junior Rowen Carmichael added 16 points as the Antelopes won at home, 64-48.

In the rematch Feb. 6, Spartans senior Jake Wolfe scored 25 points, including the 1,000th of his career, plus junior Ama Sow added 20 points in a convincing win, 65-38.

The second victory put Montour alone in first place in Section 4-4A, and the Spartans ended up beating second-place Avonworth by two games for the section crown.

Montour is 20-3 and has won 11 of 12 games since the loss to the Antelopes. Montour rolled past Southmoreland in the first round, 71-44, behind 18 points from Sow.

Avonworth enters the game with a 16-7 record and has won three straight since the loss to the Spartans. Avonworth defeated Highlands in the opening round, 74-59, behind a big game by Carmichael with 32 points.

You can watch the game on Trib HSSN at 8 p.m.

The other three boys 4A quarterfinals games Wednesday are:

• Top seed and defending champion Lincoln Park (20-3) faces No. 8 Knoch (15-8) at North Allegheny at 8 p.m. The Leopards crushed Freeport in the first round, 93-63, with junior Meleek Thomas scoring 30 points. The Knights were led by sophomore Derek Lang’s 17 points in a close win over Beaver, 52-48.

• No. 4 Uniontown (20-3) battles No. 5 North Catholic (14-8) at Norwin at 8 p.m. with video on Trib HSSN. The Red Raiders cruised past Quaker Valley in the opening round, 64-45, with senior Jamire Braxton scoring 16 points. The Trojans defeated Elizabeth Forward, 73-53, thanks to a game-high 24 points from senior Max Hurray.

• No. 2 Hampton (20-3) will take on No. 7 South Allegheny (17-6) at Fox Chapel with audio only on Trib HSSN. The Talbots beat Central Valley in Round 1, 66-55, with senior Peter Kramer scoring 24 points. The Gladiators knocked off Belle Vernon, 71-62, with senior Michael Michalski leading the way with 22 points.

Third time a charm?

This is also the third meeting of the year between Section 1-A rivals Rochester and Carlynton. Unlike Montour-Avonworth though, this is not the rubber game of the season series.

The Rams have swept the Cougars in both meetings, winning 56-51 on Jan. 9 and 56-47 on Feb. 2.

In the first win, Rochester was led by junior Jayvin Hemer, who scored 18 points. Rams leading scorer senior Xavier Rigby dropped 30 points in the second victory.

Rigby scored 23 points in the Rams’ opening-round rout of St. Joseph, 72-28.

Senior Jake Moldovan scored 19 points to lead the Cougars in their opening-game victory over Jefferson-Morgan, 55-41.

The two meet at Chartiers Valley at 8 p.m.

The other three boys A quarterfinals games Wednesday are:

• Top seed and defending champion Imani Christian (11-10) opens up its title defense against No. 8 West Greene (16-7) at Bethel Park at 8 p.m. The Pioneers defeated Avella in the first round, 58-47, with Parker Burns scoring 20 points.

• No. 4 Monessen (18-4) plays No. 5 Union (13-10) at Peters Township at 6 p.m. with video on Trib HSSN. The Greyhounds crushed Summit Academy in the postseason opener, 78-56, with senior Lorenzo Gardner leading the way with 44 points. The Scotties knocked out Hillel Academy, 67-43, behind 23 points from junior Lucas Stanley.

• No. 2 Neighborhood Academy (16-5) plays its first playoff game following a first-round bye by facing No. 7 Aquinas Academy (15-8) at Norwin at 6 p.m. with video on Trib HSSN. The Crusaders knocked off California in the opening round, 84-50, with junior Jacob Guillen scoring 37 points.

Living up to their name

Seven of the eight top seeds in the girls basketball Class 3A bracket were victorious in the opening round of the playoffs Saturday.

The lone exception was No. 11 Seton LaSalle.

The Rebels surprised No. 6 and Section 4 co-champ Waynesburg, 38-21, in the lone opening-round 3A eyebrow raiser.

Sophomore Addie Lonergan had a big game, scoring 27 points to lead Seton LaSalle, which is now 14-8.

Up next is a date with Section 1 co-champion Beaver Falls.

The Tigers are 15-6 and have won six of their last eight games, including a first-round demolition of McGuffey, 68-38.

BF senior Avina Norman scored 24 points to lead the black and orange to Round 2.

The game will be at North Hills at 8 p.m. and can be viewed here on Trib HSSN.

The other three 3A girls basketball second round games are:

• Top seed and defending champion Avonworth (20-1) will see a familiar face in section foe Keystone Oaks (16-6) at Mt. Lebanon on Trib HSSN at 6 p.m. The Antelopes destroyed Apollo-Ridge in the opener, 64-13, with senior Rebecca Goetz scoring 21 points. The Golden Eagles eliminated Burrell, 49-34, thanks to 15 points by junior Alayna Wagner.

• No. 4 Neshannock (16-7) takes on No. 5 South Park (16-7) at Fox Chapel at 6 p.m. on Trib HSSN. The Lancers cruised past Brownsvile in their playoff opener, 63-36, with senior Kait Fries leading the way with 15 points. The Eagles flew past Mt. Pleasant, 38-21, with junior Brooke Paylo scoring 10 points.

• No. 2 Shady Side Academy (21-2) will be challenged by No. 7 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (16-7) at North Allegheny at 6 p.m. on Trib HSSN. The Bulldogs beat Mohawk in the first round, 53-42, with sophomore Maggie Spell scoring 23 points, including career point No. 1,000. The Chargers edged Ellwood City, 46-41, with senior Morgan O’Brien scoring 14 points.

Legendary matchup

One of the top teams in Class 2A squares off with one of the top scorers in the district when No. Aliquippa battles No. 7 Clairton in a girls basketball showdown at North Hills.

The Quips have been fantastic this season, winning the Section 1 title and picking up 13 straight wins before a couple of nonsection losses late in the regular season.

Aliquippa has one of the top defenses in the league, allowing only 32.1 points per game.

That last stat will be challenged Wednesday thanks to the scoring exploits of Clairton junior Iyanna Wade.

She once again led the district in the regular season in scoring, averaging a mind-numbing 40 points per game.

Wade scored 52 points as the Bears improved to 18-4 with a wild first-round win over Freedom, 78-65 in overtime.

Aliquippa is now 20-3 following a first-round win over California, 53-18. Junior Aunesty Johnson led the Quips with 20 points.

You can watch the game at 6 p.m. on Trib HSSN.

The other three girls basketball 2A quarterfinals games Wednesday are:

• Top seed Greensburg Central Catholic (17-6) takes on No. 9 Rochester (15-7) at Chartiers Valley at 6 p.m. The Centurions crushed Northgate in the opening round, 77-10, with senior Mya Morgan scoring 20 points. The Rams knocked off Burgettstown, 48-39, with junior Marque Taylor scoring 21 points.

• No. 12 South Side (14-9) looks for a second straight upset when it takes aim at No. 4 Fort Cherry (18-5) at Peters Township at 8 p.m. The Rams stunned Chartiers-Houston in the first round, 43-38, as junior Bailey Strnisa scored 20 points. The Rangers crushed Beth-Center, 66-16, with Raney Staub scoring 30 points. These two teams met nine days ago with South Side edging Fort Cherry, 49-44.

• No. 3 Serra Catholic (19-4) takes on No. 13 Winchester Thurston (11-12) for the third time this year at Bethel Park at 6 p.m. in a game that can be viewed on Trib HSSN. Serra won both games in section by 23 and by 1 point. The Eagles cruised past Brentwood in the first round, 59-23, as sophomore Abby Genes scored 18 points. The Bears stunned No. 6 Washington, 51-38, with freshman Jasmine Hollins leading with 21 points.

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