What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Feb. 3, 2023: Class 6A heavyweights to collide

Thursday, February 2, 2023 | 11:38 PM

The first Fray-day in February is littered with plenty of key WPIAL boys basketball games.

One of them is a battle between the two top-ranked teams in Class 6A with first place in Section 1 at stake as New Castle (16-2) visits Central Catholic (11-7) on Chuck Crummie Court.

The Red Hurricane is on top of the section with a 6-1 record, one game ahead of the Vikings at 5-2.

The lone section loss for NeCa High came to the Vikings on Jan. 10, 56-45.

Senior Debaba Tshiebwe led Central Catholic with 18 points while senior Tommy Kristian added 17 points.

Senior Jon Anderson paced New Castle with 16 points.

The Vikings outscored the Red Hurricane, 33-15 in the second and third quarters combined.

That was the first game New Castle played without injured senior Isaiah Bruce, who has since returned to the ‘Canes lineup.

Another big 6A game Friday has Upper St. Clair (11-8) hosting Mt. Lebanon (13-5) for first place in Section 2.

The Blue Devils are a perfect 7-0 atop the section and have won nine of their last 10 games.

The Panthers are 6-1 in the section and have a two-game lead over third place Baldwin (4-3, 11-7).

The first meeting of the year between these two traditional power rivals went into double overtime before Mt. Lebanon pulled away to win 74-69.

Senior Michael Pfeuffer had 24 points for the Blue Devils while the Panthers were led by senior Matt Gaither, who scored 20 points.

Do the Bucs stop here?

The Chartiers-Houston (15-4) boys basketball team is enjoying quite the season. The Buccaneers are a half-game out of first place and have won five straight games.

However, their only Section 4-2A blemish was on Jan. 10 when they lost at home to Fort Cherry (17-2).

Friday is the rematch on the Rangers’ home court in McDonald.

Fort Cherry is a perfect 9-0 in the section, one game up on the 9-1 Buccaneers in the loss column.

The Rangers have won 15 straight games, including their 55-45 win at Chartiers-Houston.

Top two clashes

There are three other district boys basketball meetings Friday between the two top teams in their respective sections.

In Section 2-5A, first-place Penn Hills (14-2) travels to second-place Shaler (14-5). The visiting Indians are 7-0 in the section and have a two-game lead over the Titans, who are 5-2 in section play.

In Section 1-2A, front-running Aliquippa (13-5) hosts Northgate (14-5). The Flames are 5-2 in the section and tied for second place with Shenango (12-5), two games behind the Quips at 7-0.

In Section 3-A, top-ranked Imani Christian (12-5) will visit the WPIAL’s new all-time leading scorer, Vinny Cugini and Aquinas Academy (15-3). The Crusaders are 4-3 in the section and tied with Neighborhood Academy (13-4) and Summit Academy (9-4) for second place behind the 7-0 Saints.

In Section 4-4A, South Allegheny (6-1, 15-2) is tied for first place with defending champion Quaker Valley (6-1, 11-5). The Gladiators visit third place West Mifflin (4-3, 9-8), while the Quakers travel to fourth-place Avonworth (3-4, 7-10).

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