WPIAL basketball, wrestling begin in 3 things to watch Friday in high school sports
By: Don Rebel
Thursday, December 6, 2018 | 8:51 PM
While you hear a lot about this being ‘The most wonderful time of the year,” this weekend is the busiest time of the year for district high school basketball.
The 2018-19 WPIAL basketball season begins this weekend with plenty of boys’ and girls’ tip-off tournaments.
During the regular season, most of the district girls basketball games are on Monday and Thursday while the boys’ slate is mostly on Tuesday and Friday.
Then in the postseason, while both genders are playing on the same nights, there aren’t as many teams in action.
So while the new hoops season tips off this weekend and most of the 132 boys’ and 129 girls’ district teams are in action, this is by far the busiest two days of the season.
So let’s take a look at some of the top 35 boys’ and 34 girls’ tip-off tournaments involving WPIAL basketball teams for opening weekend.
A pair that is too big for one site
There are two six-team boys basketball tournaments being held at two different sites this weekend.
The annual Baldwin/Peters Township round robin tournament is set up with one game at Baldwin and two at Peters Township Friday and Saturday.
The four other teams involved besides the two host schools are Butler, Thomas Jefferson, North Catholic and Sewickley Academy.
The same format will be in use for the North Hills/Upper St. Clair tournament with the exception that on Friday, there are two games at North Hills and one at Upper St. Clair and on Saturday, it is reversed with a doubleheader at USC and one game at North Hills.
Beside the Indians and Panthers, the other four schools involved in that tournament are Seneca Valley, Chartiers Valley, Hampton and West Allegheny.
Two other marquee boys tip-off tournaments are:
• Midland tournament at Geneva College with host Lincoln Park, Central Catholic, Penn Hills, Woodland Hills, Ambridge and Beaver Falls.
• Hempfield tournament with host Hempfield, Franklin Regional, McKeesport, Greensburg Salem, Belle Vernon and Jeannette.
There is a notable coaching debut in the Hempfield tournament with Joe Salvino leading Belle Vernon after 34 years at Monessen.
Battle of the champs
If you are a defending champion or a recent girls basketball champ, odds are you are playing in the North Allegheny tournament.
The two-day round-robin event is loaded with recent golden girls, including two-time Class 6A defending champion North Allegheny, along with 2017 Class 5A winner Chartiers Valley and 2015 and ’16 Class 4A titlist Norwin.
Friday’s tripleheader begins with Chartiers Valley facing Mt. Lebanon at 5 p.m. in the debut of Tim McConnell as Colts girls basketball coach.
Another tournament with a strong field is the Trinity tournament with the host Hillers facing Our Lady of the Sacred Heart following Canon-McMillan taking on Blackhawk.
The round-robin format continues Saturday with Trinity hosting the Big Macs and the Cougars taking on the Chargers.
Listen to some of the action from both of those tournaments on the TribLive High School Sports Network.
On the mats
In addition to the high school hoops season kicking off, wrestling will begin this weekend.
Locally, there are two marquee tournaments.
Gateway is hosting the annual 23-team Eastern Area Invitational. Preliminary rounds begin at 5 p.m. Friday, with the quarterfinals around 7:30. Action resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday, with the semifinals at 11:30 a.m. The medal rounds will start at 3:30 p.m.
Chartiers-Houston welcomes 26 teams to its annual season-opening tournament. Friday’s action starts at 4 p.m. Matches continue at 10 a.m. Saturday with the consolation round and semifinals, followed by the consolation finals and championship finals at 4 p.m.
Don Rebel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Don at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @TheDonRebel.