What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Jan. 26, 2023: Peters Township, Thomas Jefferson boys set for rematch

Thursday, January 26, 2023 | 7:37 PM

When the first half of WPIAL boys basketball section play ended last week, there was a three-way tie for the top spot in Section 1-5A.

Two of those three teams go head to head to highlight a busy Fray-day of district boys section hoops.

The first game between Peters Township and Thomas Jefferson is at the top of the list of game of the year candidates in WPIAL basketball.

Junior Evan Berger scored a school-record 43 points as the Jaguars outlasted the host Indians, 105-100, in triple overtime. Junior Jack Dunbar led PT with 37 points.

Peters Township (13-3) has won six straight games since that loss and is 4-1 in the section.

Thomas Jefferson (11-5) has won four in a row and six of seven games since the section-opening thriller Jan. 3.

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

Bethel Park (9-6) is the third team tied for the section lead. The Black Hawks look to end a three-game losing streak when they host Ringgold (1-4, 3-14) on Friday. The Rams are one game behind Trinity (2-3, 7-9) in the battle for fourth place and a playoff spot.

5A cushions

While there is a three-way tie for first place in Section 1-5A, the other three section leaders all have a two-game cushion at the break.

All three tip off the second half Friday with challenges from teams tied for second place.

• In Section 2-5A, Penn Hills sits in first place with a 5-0 record, two games ahead of defending WPIAL champion Fox Chapel (3-2) and Shlaer (3-2). The Indians visit the Foxes on Friday.

• In Section 3-5A, Gateway is on top with a 5-0 record, two games ahead of McKeesport (3-2), Franklin Regional (3-2) and Kiski Area (3-2). The Gators host the Tigers on Friday.

• In Section 4-5A, North Hills is perfect in section play at 5-0, two games ahead of Mars (3-2) and Moon (3-2). On Friday, the Indians travel to face the Fightin’ Planets.

All three of those contests can be viewed Friday on Trib HSSN.

4A fights for first

Two of the three sections in WPIAL boys basketball in Class 4A feature the top two teams in the section squaring off.

In both cases, one team is trying to take a two-game lead in the section into the final two weeks while the other team is trying to force a tie for the top spot in their section.

In Section 1-4A, Highlands visits Hampton. Both teams are 14-2 overall while the host Talbots (5-0) hold a one-game lead on the Golden Rams (4-1) thanks to a 73-58 win at Highlands on Jan. 3.

In Section 2-4A, North Catholic (10-5) plays host to Lincoln Park (15-1). The Trojans have won six consecutive games since losing to the hot Leopards, 87-71, on Jan. 3.

One other boys hoops battle for first place is in Section 2-A as Monessen (5-0, 15-1) visits Geibel Catholic (4-1, 10-6). The Greyhounds won the first meeting over the Gators, 63-44.

Girls showdown

While there are several showdowns for the top spot in boys basketball on Friday, there is also one girls hoops battle for first place.

In Section 2-5A, Mars (6-1, 12-3) visits Fox Chapel (6-2, 12-5).

Both teams are looking for their 13th victory overall and their seventh section win of the season.

The Fightin’ Planets beat the Foxes in the first meeting, 68-51.

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