What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Jan. 13, 2023: Quaker Valley, South Allegheny to square off

Thursday, January 12, 2023 | 6:27 PM

Friday the 13th. It’s a day superstitious folks fear.

However, two WPIAL boys programs that haven’t relied on luck in recent years of success collide for first place in Section 4-4A when Quaker Valley visits South Allegheny.

After losing in the WPIAL 4A finals to New Castle in 2017, 2018 and 2019, Quaker Valley finally captured district gold last season by defeating Montour, 61-52.

South Allegheny knows something about coming close.

The Gladiators lost in the 3A semifinals in 2020 and 2022. In 2021, South Allegheny reached the 3A finals, but lost to Ellwood City.

Now in their first season in 4A, the Gladiators host the Quakers on Friday in battle for the section lead.

Both teams are 3-0 atop the section. SA is one of four WPIAL boys basketball teams with a perfect overall record at 11-0, while QV has a mark of 7-3 and has won three of its last four.

The Gladiators are No. 5 in the latest Trib HSSN rankings and are led by Bryce Epps, who is averaging 23.3 points per game. Joe Coyle leads the defending champion Quakers with an average of 15.4 points per game.

You can watch the 4A showdown here on Trib HSSN at 7:30 p.m.

More Friday fights for first

Besides the QV-SA battle for section supremacy, there are seven other WPIAL boys hoops contests with the outright lead or at least a share of first place up for grabs as we inch closer to the midway point of section play.

• In Section 1-6A, Butler (10-2) visits Central Catholic (5-5). Both teams are tied for first place with New Castle with 2-1 section records. The Vikings handed the Red Hurricane their first loss Tuesday.

• In Section 1-5A, Thomas Jefferson (7-4) travels to Bethel Park (8-3). Both the Jaguars and Black Hawks are 3-0 in the section and both have won three consecutive games since section play began last week.

• In Section 3-5A, Gateway (8-3) hosts Franklin Regional (9-3). Both teams are 3-0 in the section. The Panthers have won four straight games while the Gators are victorious in five consecutive contests.

• In Section 1-4A, Hampton (10-2) is at Knoch (4-8). The Talbots are one of the top teams in the class and are 3-0 in the section. The Knights have won two straight after losing eight of their first 10 games.

• In Section 2-2A, Bishop Canevin (10-0) takes its perfect record on the road to battle Eden Christian (9-2). Both the Crusaders and the Warriors are 3-0 and tied for first in the section.

• In Section 3-2A, Clairton (6-5) is home to Greensburg Central Catholic (7-5). The Bears (3-2) are tied with three teams in the loss column: Serra Catholic (3-2), Riverview (2-2) and Jeannette (2-2). They all trail the Centurions (3-1) by one game in the loss column.

• In Section 3-A, Imani Christian (5-5) heads north to take on Summit Academy (6-2). The host Knights (2-1) are tied for second place with Aquinas Academy, one game behind the Saints (3-0).

Section sensation in girls hoops

There are five WPIAL girls basketball games Friday, including a showdown in Section 3-5A.

Class 5A top ranked McKeesport (11-1) visits No. 3 Penn-Trafford (9-2).

The Tigers have won nine straight games while the Warriors won seven in a row before losing to Oakland Catholic on Tuesday, 61-43.

The other section games in girls hoops on Friday:

• Section 2-6A, Bethel Park (2-2, 5-6) at Baldwin (1-4, 5-9)

• Section 2-6A, Chartiers Valley (2-2, 6-4) at Peters Township (2-2, 8-5)

• Setion 2-5A, Hampton (2-2, 8-5) at Shaler (2-2, 10-3)

• Section 2-A, Avella (1-1, 6-6) at Jefferson-Morgan (0-2. 0-12)

Going back to Cally

Friday is the opening day of the two-day MVI Shootout Classic girls basketball event at California High School.

The matchups:

Monessen at California at 2 p.m.

• South Allegheny vs. Clairton at 3:30 p.m.

South Park vs. Belle Vernon at 6 p.m.

Serra Catholic vs. Charleroi at 7:30 p.m.

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