What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Jan. 18, 2024: Section top spot up for grabs when North Catholic, Highlands meet

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Wednesday, January 17, 2024 | 7:23 PM


The second half of section play begins for some WPIAL girls basketball teams Thursday.

One game features the top two teams in their section as North Catholic hosts Highlands for at least a share of first place in Section 1-4A.

The defending champion Trojans are on top with a perfect 6-0 section record. They are 8-4 overall and have won five straight games.

The Golden Rams are a game back at 5-1 in the section, 10-4 overall and winners of six of their last seven games.

The first meeting between the two teams this season was a low-scoring affair with North Catholic winning at Highlands, 44-24.

Middle of the pack

While the Highlands at North Catholic game is the only district girls basketball contest with first place at stake Thursday, there are some key battles for playoff positioning in other sections.

All of these contests are for third place in their respective sections:

• In Section 2-6A, Canon-McMillan visits Mt. Lebanon. The Big Macs and Blue Devils are tied for third place with 3-3 section records.

• In Section 1-5A, Woodland Hills hosts Franklin Regional. The Wolverines and Panthers are tied for third place with 3-3 records in the section.

• In Section 3-4A, Belle Vernon travels to West Mifflin. The Leopards are in fourth place at 3-3 in the section while the third-place Titans are 4-2.

• In Section 1-2A, South Side is home to Freedom. The Rams are in fourth place with a 3-3 section record while the visiting Bulldogs are in third place at 4-2.

• In Section 3-2A, Winchester Thurston welcomes Clairton in a battle of the Bears. Both teams are tied for third place with 3-2 section records.

Make-up!

Two key Class 6A boys basketball games that were scheduled for Tuesday were wiped out by Mother Nature and will now tip off Thursday.

In Section 1-6A, Central Catholic hit the midway point of section play with a victory over North Allegheny on Tuesday and now sits in first place with a 4-1 section record.

Butler can end the first half deadlocked with the Vikings if they can win at Pine-Richland on Thursday.

The Golden Tornado are 3-1 in the section and 10-2 overall. Butler had an eight-game winning streak snapped last week in a loss to Central Catholic.

The Rams are 2-2 in the section and 6-6 overall. They have won two in a row and hope to stay one game out of first place with a home win.

In Section 2, Upper St. Clair (10-3) is alone in first place at 4-0, followed by Mt. Lebanon (12-2) at 4-1 and Baldwin (10-3) with a 3-1 section record.

After beating Lebo at home last week, the Panthers host the Highlanders on Thursday, hoping to hit the midway point alone in first place.

A Highlanders victory will force a three-way tie for the top spot with Upper St. Clair and Mt. Lebanon.

You can watch the Baldwin at USC game on Trib HSSN at 7 p.m.

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