Tough decisions prompt debate as WPIAL announces 2021-22 basketball playoff brackets

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Monday, February 14, 2022 | 5:53 PM


Laurel Highlands or New Castle? Mt. Lebanon or North Allegheny?

Most No. 1 seeds were easy choices, but the WPIAL basketball committee was divided on a couple of others, said chairman Bill Cardone, whose committee met for nearly three hours Monday. The No. 1 seeds in Class 5A boys and Class 6A girls required a vote, but there were other hearty debates as well.

“It took awhile,” said Cardone, a longtime committee member and athletic director at Hampton. “I think this year we probably discussed more than we have in the past. It’s not that we haven’t had discussion in the past, but there was a lot of discussion.”

Laurel Highlands and Mt. Lebanon won the votes and received No. 1 seeds Monday night when the WPIAL revealed its tournament brackets on TribLive HSSN. Among the other top seeds, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart received a No. 1 seed in Class 2A for both the boys and girls playoffs.

The other No. 1 seeds went to the North Hills boys in Class 6A, the Chartiers Valley girls in Class 5A, the Quaker Valley boys and Blackhawk girls in 4A, the Ellwood City boys and North Catholic girls in 3A, and the Bishop Canevin boys and Rochester girls in A.

Many of those emerged as clear-cut choices, Cardone said. But sorting out the middle seeds in a 14-, 16- or 19-team bracket was the most time-consuming task.

“The ones and the two, we usually had those figured out, and sometimes three and four,” Cardone said. “But, boy, when we got to five, six, seven and eight in some of these (brackets), there are some good teams out there.”

The playoffs start Friday with three play-in games and 14 first-round contests. First-round games continue next Monday and Tuesday. The WPIAL finals are March 3-5 at Petersen Events Center.

Trying to find their way to Pitt’s arena are 86 boys teams and 80 girls teams.

Higher-seeded teams will host games in the first round and quarterfinals, if their facilities meet WPIAL requirements. The semifinals will be played at neutral sites.

“The good thing about our committee is we have a lot of people who see a lot of games,” Cardone said. “We have people from the north, the south and all the way down. We take a lot of stock in what they say.”

Among notable other decisions:

• In Class 6A boys, Section 2 runner-up Central Catholic was seeded third, ahead of Section 3 co-champions Mt. Lebanon (fourth) and Upper St. Clair (fifth).

• In 5A girls, the committee rewarded Section 1 with three of the top four seeds. Joining No. 1 Chartiers Valley were No. 2 South Fayette and No. 4 Moon. Section 3 champion Trinity was seeded third.

• The Montour boys in Class 4A and the Aliquippa boys in 3A received No. 2 seeds based on strong regular-season finishes.

• In 2A boys, the committee seeded co-champions Fort Cherry and Carlynton of Section 2 at Nos. 2 and 3, ahead of both Section 1 winner Greensburg Central Catholic and Section 3 winner Monessen.

All required discussion. As for the No. 1 seeds, Laurel Highlands’ undefeated record won the debate over one-loss New Castle, but Cardone said the committee considered them almost interchangeable.

“You could flip New Castle to one and Laurel Highlands to two,” he said. “One of the things we considered with New Castle was, not only are they a good basketball team, but their strength of schedule is very good.

“But we put Laurel Highlands ahead because they’ve been No. 1 all year. They’ve won all of their games. They didn’t falter.”

Playoff pairings

Boys

Class 6A

First round

Feb. 22 schedule

North Hills (22-0) bye; Baldwin (12-10) at North Allegheny (14-8), 7 p.m.; Hempfield (7-14) at Mt. Lebanon (14-8), 7 p.m.; Penn-Trafford (9-12) at Upper St. Clair (14-7), 7 p.m.; Fox Chapel (21-1) bye; Bethel Park (16-6) at Pine-Richland (10-11), 7 p.m.; Central Catholic (17-5) bye; Norwin (9-10) at Butler (12-9), 7 p.m.

Class 5A

First round

Feb. 21 schedule

Woodland Hills (8-14) at Laurel Highlands (21-0), 7 p.m.; Kiski Area (15-7) at Hampton (12-10), 7 p.m.; Chartiers Valley (8-14) at Penn Hills (17-4), 7 p.m.; Albert Gallatin (10-11) at Highlands (16-6), 7 p.m.; West Mifflin (10-11) at New Castle (20-1), 7 p.m.; Shaler (12-9) at South Fayette (14-8), 7 p.m.; Thomas Jefferson (8-14) at Mars (20-2), 8 p.m.; West Allegheny (10-11) at Gateway (13-5), 8 p.m.

Class 4A

First round

Friday’s schedule

Quaker Valley (20-0) bye; Blackhawk (12-9) at Deer Lakes (15-5), 7 p.m.; Central Valley (9-8) at North Catholic (17-3), 7 p.m.; Yough (13-9) at Lincoln Park (15-6), 7 p.m.; Montour (18-4) bye; Elizabeth Forward (14-8) at Burrell (13-8), 7 p.m.; Belle Vernon (18-3) bye; Freeport (12-9) at Uniontown (14-8), 7 p.m.

Class 3A

First round

Feb. 21 schedule

Summit Academy (7-8) at Ellwood City (20-2), 7 p.m.; Ligonier Valley (12-10) at Avonworth (15-6), 7 p.m.; Steel Valley (10-11) vs. Seton LaSalle (17-3) at Fox Chapel, 6 p.m.; Brentwood (15-7) at South Allegheny (15-6), 7 p.m.; Waynesburg (10-11) at Aliquippa (15-7), 7 p.m.; Brownsville (12-8) at Neshannock (17-4), 7 p.m.; Laurel (13-8) vs. Shady Side Academy (15-6) at Fox Chapel, 8 p.m.; Beaver Falls (10-10) at Washington (16-2), 7 p.m.

Class 2A

First round

Feb. 22 schedule

Chartiers-Houston (9-13) at OLSH (19-0), 7 p.m.; Sto-Rox (11-7) at Springdale (11-11), 7 p.m.; South Side (8-14) at Greensburg Central Catholic (16-3), 7 p.m.; Jeannette (10-11) at Monessen (18-4), 7 p.m.; California (6-14) at Fort Cherry (20-2), 7 p.m.; Carmichaels (14-4) vs. Winchester Thurston (10-6) at South Fayette, 6 p.m.; Jefferson-Morgan (10-7) at Carlynton (18-2), 7 p.m.; Shenango (8-14) at Serra Catholic (10-10), 7 p.m.

Class A

First round

Friday’s schedule

Bishop Canevin (17-4) bye; Aquinas Academy (11-8) at Rochester (8-11), 7 p.m.; Geibel Catholic (17-5) bye; Mapletown (9-9) vs. Eden Christian (12-8) at Peters Township, 6 p.m.; Imani Christian (14-5) bye; Nazareth Prep (5-16) at Neighborhood Academy (11-7), 7 p.m.; Union (20-2) bye; West Greene (7-15) at Leechburg (17-3), 7 p.m.

Girls

Class 6A

First round

Friday’s schedule

Butler (13-9) at Peters Township (12-10), 8 p.m.

Quarterfinals

Feb. 23 schedule

Butler/Peters Township winner at Mt. Lebanon (20-1), 7 p.m.; Bethel Park (11-9) at Norwin (15-6), 7 p.m.; Seneca Valley (11-10) at North Allegheny (20-2), 8 p.m.; Penn-Trafford (12-9) at Upper St. Clair (18-4), 7 p.m.

Class 5A

First round

Feb. 22 schedule

Connellsville (8-14) at Chartiers Valley (20-1), 7 p.m.; Oakland Catholic (13-9) at Hampton (18-4), 8 p.m.; Woodland Hills (10-9) at Moon (17-4), 7 p.m.; Thomas Jefferson (12-10) vs. Indiana (19-3) at Hampton, 6 p.m.; Greensburg Salem (15-7) at South Fayette (18-4), 8 p.m.; Mars (17-5) at Latrobe (17-3), 7 p.m.; Armstrong (13-9) at Trinity (17-5), 7 p.m.; Albert Gallatin (15-4) at McKeesport (18-4), 7 p.m.

Class 4A

First round

Feb. 22 schedule

Blackhawk (21-0) bye; Belle Vernon (15-7) at Quaker Valley (11-10), 7 p.m.; Freeport (7-11) at Beaver (15-5), 7 p.m.; Central Valley (7-13) at Elizabeth Forward (17-4), 7 p.m.; Southmoreland (17-3) bye; West Mifflin (7-15) at Highlands (18-4), 7 p.m.; Knoch (19-2) bye; Deer Lakes (8-11) at Montour (15-6), 7 p.m.

Class 3A

First round

Friday’s schedule

North Catholic (16-5) bye; Charleroi (14-8) at Laurel (12-10), 7 p.m.; South Park (19-3) bye; Brentwood (9-11) at Waynesburg (15-4), 7 p.m.; Avonworth (18-2) bye; Shady Side Academy (9-11) at Mohawk (8-13), 7 p.m.; Freedom (16-4) bye; Brownsville (8-11) at Keystone Oaks (12-9), 7 p.m.

Class 2A

Preliminary round

Friday’s schedule

Carmichaels (6-12) at Frazier (7-14), 7 p.m.; Ellis School (6-13) at Springdale (5-14), 7 p.m.; South Side (13-9) at Aliquippa (7-13), 7 p.m.

First round

Feb. 21 schedule

Frazier/Carmichaels winner at OLSH (18-4), 7 p.m.; Apollo-Ridge (15-5) at Fort Cherry (15-6), 7 p.m.; Chartiers-Houston (11-10) at Greensburg Central Catholic (17-4), 7 p.m.; Sto-Rox (9-10) at Seton LaSalle (15-6), 7 p.m.; Ellis/Springdale winner at Neshannock (20-2), 7 p.m.; Shenango (12-8) vs. Winchester Thurston (12-8) at Mars, 6 p.m. Aliquippa/South Side winner at Serra Catholic (18-1), 7 p.m.; California (13-9) at Burgettstown (17-3), 7 p.m.

Class A

First round

Feb. 21 schedule

Rochester (16-4) bye; St. Joseph (8-13) vs. Mapletown (11-9) at Gateway, 6 p.m.; Aquinas Academy (12-6) bye; Riverview (5-13) at Monessen (16-5), 7 p.m.; West Greene (18-3) bye; Avella (10-11) at Bishop Canevin (13-8), 7 p.m.; Union (19-1) bye; Eden Christian (9-10) at Clairton (15-3), 7 p.m.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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