WPIAL boys 6A, girls 5A and A headline Day 4 of first-round basketball

Monday, February 17, 2020 | 11:30 PM

Last year, Peters Township knocked off Penn-Trafford in a Class 6A boys basketball first-round playoff game before losing an upset bid to Pine-Richland in heartbreaking fashion at the buzzer, 66-64, in the district quarterfinals.

The opening-round win was the first Indians’ postseason victory in seven years.

Hempfield is making its first trip to the WPIAL playoffs in four years and the Spartans’ last postseason victory was five years ago in a first-round win over Gateway.

Hempfield and Peters Township lock up Tuesday at Mt. Lebanon in the traditionally tight No. 8 vs. No. 9 seed meeting in the 6A tournament.

The first two 8-9 matchups in the Class 6A playoffs in 2017 and 2018 were tight games decided by a total of 10 points. Last year, the Indians rolled past Penn-Trafford by 18 points.

Opposite directions

Central Catholic is the No. 7 seed in the Class 6A bracket and will face No. 10 Penn-Trafford in an opening-round contest Tuesday at Norwin.

The teams ended the regular season going in opposite directions as the Warriors won three straight while the Vikings dropped three games in a row.

Penn-Trafford has been led by head coach Jim Rocco’s son, Zach Rocco. The 6-foot-2 senior has averaged over 17 points per game.

If the teams are close to their average output this season, the game should go down to the wire. Central Catholic is averaging 59.3 points per game while Penn-Trafford is averaging 59.2.

Girls night out

Tuesday is a busy night of WPIAL girls basketball playoff action with four Class 5A first-round games and five Class A opening-round matchups.

Neighbors meet in Class 5A when surging Penn Hills takes on Plum.

The Indians have won four straight to finish third in Section 3 while the Mustangs were the runner-up in Section 2.

Despite being rivals in several other sports, this will be the first meeting between Penn Hills and Plum on the girls basketball court in five years.

In a Class A first-round game, Sewickley Academy will face St. Joseph.

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