WPIAL basketball playoffs tip off, district gymnastics championships start Friday

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Thursday, February 13, 2020 | 11:14 PM


Love is in the air. Sure, it’s Valentine’s Day, but for area high school basketball fans, Friday is the first date night with playoff basketball.

The biggest bracket of all 12 WPIAL postseason tournaments is the boys Class 3A playoff, which takes center stage with eight first-round games Friday.

The top two seeds in 3A boys and the teams that played for gold in the finals a year ago are Lincoln Park and North Catholic. The two are a combined 38-6 overall this season and were undefeated in winning section titles.

The Trojans and Leopards will be featured in an opening-night doubleheader at Fox Chapel as North Catholic faces Shady Side Academy at 6:30 p.m. and Lincoln Park takes on Deer Lakes at 8 p.m.

Five Class 2A and five Class A first-round boys basketball playoff games are set for Saturday afternoon.

Defending Class A champion Nazareth Prep was a No. 5 seed in the bracket and will have a tough test when it faces Clairton at 2:30 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson.

Only four

On opening weekend of the district basketball playoffs, there are 22 games scheduled, 12 set for Friday and 10 more on Saturday.

However, only four of those games are girls opening-round games.

Part of the reason is there are no first-round games in girls 6A with only eight teams starting up in the quarterfinals.

All four girls games are Friday and are Class 2A first-round contests.

The one opener is a battle of 2017 champions. That year, Winchester Thurston won the first of two Class A girls titles while Chartiers-Houston was winning gold in 2A.

The Bears and Buccaneers collide at Peters Township at 6:30 p.m.

Gymnastics gold

Thomas Jefferson won its first WPIAL team gymnastics championship a year ago. Now the Jaguars look to repeat Saturday.

TJ became only the ninth school to win district team gold since the WPIAL gymnastics finals began 51 years ago.

North Allegheny has won the most championships with 18 titles followed by Moon with six.

Pine-Richland and Baldwin have three championships each while North Hills, Butler and Hampton have two each and Montour has one.

The Jaguars’ win ended a two-year title run for Moon. In fact, the Tigers have won five of the last eight gymnastics championships.

The team and individual championships will take place Friday and Saturday at Moon.

Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.

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