What to watch for in WPIAL sports on March 6, 2021: Trinity looks for another upset

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Friday, March 5, 2021 | 11:38 PM


With each round of the WPIAL basketball playoffs on a three-day cycle, Saturday is smack dab in the middle of the elite-eight round.

Quarterfinals action on Saturday will feature games from boys 5A, boys 2A, girls 6A and girls 3A.

Boys quarterfinals

• Mars knows all about the value of a coach’s son, especially at this time of year.

In 2018, Robby Carmody, the oldest son of Mars basketball coach Rob Carmody, helped lead the Fightin’ Planets to the school’s first district crown.

A year later, with Robby playing at Notre Dame, “little” brother Michael Carmody helped Mars repeat as Class 5A champions.

Another coach’s son is making headlines here in 2021, but it’s not at Mars. It’s at Trinity, Mars’ 5A quarterfinals opponent on Saturday.

Michael Dunn is averaging close to 25 points a game this season in leading the Hillers into the second round. Dunn scored 30 points as Trinity upset 2020 4A champion Highlands in the opening round, 76-56.

As the No. 13 seed, Trinity looks for another surprise Saturday against No. 5 Mars.

• Sometimes 12 months can make a huge difference. Other times, not so much.

For the Fort Cherry boys basketball team, a year’s difference is huge.

Last season, the Rangers finished 4-18. After stunning No. 6 seed Frazier in the opening round, Fort Cherry is 13-6 and quarterfinals bound.

Meanwhile, 2021 was another successful campaign for Sto-Rox, following up on a berth in the 2A title game in 2020.

The Vikings cruised past South Side in the first round of the 2A playoffs to improve to 10-5 for the season.

Fort Cherry visits Sto-Rox on Saturday in the third meeting of the year between the Section 2-2A foes. The No. 3-seeded Vikings won the first two meetings by 21 and 11 points.

All four Class 5A and Class 2A boys playoff games on Saturday can be seen or heard only here on Trib HSSN.

Girls second round

• When Bethel Park coach Jonna Burke and Mt. Lebanon coach Dori Oldaker watched video in preparation for their Class 6A girls basketball quarterfinal, it may have been like looking in the mirror.

Both have a star scoring machine and both play tremendous half-court defense.

Olivia Westphal of Bethel Park and Ashleigh Connor of Mt. Lebanon are not only HSSN players of the week from earlier this season; they are also two of the top four scorers in the entire WPIAL.

Westphal averages over 23 points per game and is tops in the district while Connor is No. 4 with an average of nearly 22 points per game.

They will both be tested by two of the top defenses in 6A.

These two Route 19 South Hills neighbors and longtime rivals did not play this season due to a conflict in mask policies.

• When it comes to the WPIAL Class 3A girls basketball elite eight, it really is a case of the haves and have nots.

The have is North Catholic. The Trojanettes are the top girls basketball program in the district and have been since they first raised gold in 1978.

Molly Rottmann’s team is the favorite to win a fifth straight WPIAL crown this season.

The other seven teams are the have nots.

The other seven schools — Freedom, South Park, Laurel, Keystone Oaks, Mohawk, Beaver Falls and Waynesburg —have won a combined four WPIAL championships.

South Park has two and Beaver Falls and Mohawk have one each with the Warriors’ title coming last season.

All four Class 5A and Class 3A quarterfinals can be seen Saturday on HSSN.

Don’t forget about us

Saturday is a busy day for two other winter sports on HSSN.

The PIAA Super Regionals in both AAA and AA individual wrestling take place all day Saturday, while the first day of the WPIAL swimming championships is set for Saturday at Upper St. Clair.

Day 2 will be Sunday on HSSN.

More Basketball

Sam Salih resigns as Greensburg Central Catholic girls basketball coach
Carlynton boys move forward having learned from late-season losses
As memory of stinging end fades, Bishop Canevin boys savor championship season
Westmoreland high school notebook: Norwin’s Bilinsky gets 1 more game
Valley News Dispatch Girls Basketball Player of the Year: Plum’s Kennedie Montue

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