What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Jan. 21, 2022: Heavyweight rematch in 4A basketball

Friday, January 21, 2022 | 12:30 AM

What better way to begin the second half of section play in WPIAL boys basketball than with two of the top three teams in Class 4A clashing for a second time this season?

The showdown for first place in Section 2-4A takes place in Midland as No. 3 Lincoln Park hosts top-ranked Quaker Valley.

It has been a perfect season for the Quakers, who are 7-0 in the section and 10-0 overall.

The defending champion Leopards are 5-1 in the section, 8-2 overall and have won four straight games since a loss to Roswell (Ga) on the team’s trip to Florida over the holidays.

Lincoln Park’s only other setback was a 77-74 road loss at Quaker Valley.

Senior Markus Frank had a huge game for the Quakers, scoring 39 points. Sophomore Brandin Cummings had 23 points to lead the Leopards.

“It’s a great opportunity for our guys,” Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni said. “Starting the second half of section play and having an opportunity to win on the road is always big.”

You can listen to Quaker Valley at Lincoln Park on Trib HSSN at 7:30 p.m.

Close, but no cigar

North Hills has dominated Section 1-6A thus far this season.

With a great one-two punch of senior Alex Smith and sophomore Royce Parham, the Indians are a perfect 12-0 overall, 6-0 in the section.

The Indians have won 11 of their 12 games by double-digit points.

The lone exception was a 77-74 win at home over Pine-Richland.

On Friday, the Rams host the Indians. Pine-Richland, the 2021 6A runner-up, is the only team within three games of front-running North Hills.

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

Fight for fourth

While many eyes are on the top of each section, now that we begin the second half of section play, it’s time to start looking for key games in the middle of each section.

One such girls game takes place Friday in Section 2-6A when Baldwin visits Peters Township at 6 p.m.

Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair and Bethel Park sit in the top three spots with Peters Township in fourth place with a 3-3 section record, while Baldwin is a half-game back at 2-3.

The top four teams qualify for the district playoffs.

The Highlanders hold the edge on the Indians coming into this game. Baldwin defeated Peters Township, 45-43, on Dec. 16.

A Baldwin road victory gives the Highlanders the tiebreaker over the Indians. If PT wins, they split and would both qualify for the playoffs if they finished tied for fourth place.

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