What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Jan. 12, 2024: High-stakes games in Class 5A boys basketball

Thursday, January 11, 2024 | 11:51 PM

First place is at stake in two games and at least a share of the top spot is up for grabs in a third contest in a big night of WPIAL boys section basketball in Class 5A.

In Section 1-5A, Thomas Jefferson visits Bethel Park as both teams enter with 3-0 section records.

The Jaguars have an overall record of 9-2 and have won five straight games since losing to Montour in mid-December.

The Black Hawks are 8-4 overall and have won six consecutive games since losing to Elizabeth Forward on Dec. 19.

You can watch the game at 7:30 p.m. on Trib HSSN.

In Section 3-5A, Franklin Regional is hosting Gateway with both teams also sharing 3-0 section records. The teams are a combined 21-2 overall.

The Panthers have won six straight games since their only loss of the season to Butler.

The Gators lost their second game of the season at Upper St. Clair and then have won nine consecutive games.

In Section 2-5A, Fox Chapel has a 3-0 section record and is alone in first place, one game ahead of Woodland Hills and Shaler, who are 2-1.

The Foxes’ overall record is 8-6 and they have won four games in a row as they prepare to host Woodland Hills on Friday.

The Wolverines are 5-8 this season but have been winners in their last two games, including a win last week over previously undefeated Shaler.

4A frays

Undefeated section teams are set to square off in two Class 4A Friday frays with first place at stake.

In Section 1, identical teams clash when Knoch visits Hampton.

The Knights and Talbots are both 3-0 atop the section and 10-2 overall. They both average over 60 points per game and allow less than 49 points per outing.

In Section 4, Avonworth is 3-0 as it prepares to host Montour at 2-0 in the section.

The Antelopes are 9-3 and have won three straight games while the Spartans have won eight in a row since losing their season opener to Allderdice.

Both games feature some of the top players in the classification.

Talbots senior Peter Kramer is averaging over 23 points per game while Knight sophomore Jackson Bauman has an average of 19.4 points per game and fellow 10th grader Teegan Finucan is averaging 15.3 points per game.

Antelopes junior Rowen Carmichael has scored over 26 points per game while Spartans senior Jake Wolfe has scored 19 points per game this season.

Both 4A battles for first place can be seen on Trib HSSN.

O vs. D

On paper, it looks like the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Seton LaSalle boys basketball programs are very similar.

Both teams are tied for first place in Section 2-3A with 4-0 records and they are both 9-3 overall.

However, how they got to those identical records is very different.

The Chargers have the No. 4 team defense in Class 3A, allowing 45.6 points per game.

The Rebels have the top offense in the classification, scoring an average of 65 points per game.

They meet for first place Friday when OLSH visits Seton LaSalle.

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