WPIAL bracketology: Chris Harlan, Don Rebel predict girls basketball playoff pairings

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Sunday, February 10, 2019 | 4:18 PM


The WPIAL basketball brackets will be released Tuesday and everybody has their two cents.

Many will guess, taking stabs at what they think should be the matchups, before the district makes them official at 7 p.m.

Well, the TribLive High School Sports Network is no different. Our two cents will be thrown into the fountain by Chris Harlan and Don Rebel.

Class 6A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Peters Township (21-0) vs. No. 8 Fox Chapel (14-7)

No. 2 North Allegheny (20-1) vs. No. 7 Upper St. Clair (11-11)

No. 3 Norwin (20-1) vs. No. 6 Mt. Lebanon (12-10)

No. 4 Bethel Park (19-2) vs. No. 5 Seneca Valley (15-6)

Rebel: Pretty formulaic with the top two teams in both sections easily earning top four seeds and then going cross section for the quarterfinals matchups. If the top four advance, the semifinals will be the third meeting for Indians vs. Black Hawks and Tigers vs. Knights.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Peters Township (21-0) vs. No. 8 Fox Chapel (14-7)

No. 2 North Allegheny (20-1) vs. No. 7 Upper St. Clair (11-11)

No. 3 Norwin (20-1) vs. No. 6 Mt. Lebanon (12-10)

No. 4 Bethel Park (19-2) vs. No. 5 Seneca Valley (15-7)

Harlan: Class 6A girls was reduced to two sections this season, so this bracket wasn’t difficult. The WPIAL basketball committee could surprise folks and make defending champion North Allegheny the No. 1 seed. NA defeated Peters Township, 79-48, in the WPIAL finals last season.

Class 5A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Chartiers Valley (22-0) — Bye

No. 2 Oakland Catholic (19-2) — Bye

No. 3 Gateway (18-3) — Bye

No. 4 Penn Hills (14-6) — Bye

No. 5 Thomas Jefferson (16-6) vs. No. 12 Plum (10-11)

No. 6 Franklin Regional (16-5) vs. No. 11 Woodland Hills (12-10)

No. 7 Mars (16-5) vs. No. 10 South Fayette (13-9)

No. 8 Penn-Trafford (13-9) vs. No. 9 Trinity (10-11)

Rebel: Chartiers Valley is a heavy favorite, but the other three teams getting first-round byes are all legit contenders. The PIAA Class 5A champs from a year ago are an interesting team, as Mars has won three in a row after starting the season 7-0. I have them at No. 7 going up against a South Fayette team that has dropped three straight.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Chartiers Valley (22-0) – Bye

No. 2 Oakland Catholic (19-2) – Bye

No. 3 Gateway (18-3) – Bye

No. 4 Penn Hills (15-6) – Bye

No. 5 Thomas Jefferson (16-6) vs. No. 12 Plum (10-11)

No. 6 Franklin Regional (16-5) vs. No. 11 South Fayette (13-9)

No. 7 Mars (16-5) vs. No. 10 Woodland Hills (12-10)

No. 8 Penn-Trafford (13-9) vs. No. 9 Trinity (10-11)

Harlan: Penn Hills played a strong nonsection schedule (Norwin twice, North Allegheny twice, North Catholic once) but stumbled down the stretch in section, losing three out of five last month. The committee could give Thomas Jefferson some consideration for that fourth bye. The Jaguars have won seven of their last eight and their only loss was by three points to Chartiers Valley.

Class 4A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 North Catholic (19-2) – Bye

No. 2 Blackhawk (18-3) – Bye

No. 3 Central Valley (19-1) – Bye

No. 4 Elizabeth Forward (15-6) vs. No. 13 Knoch (9-13)

No. 5 Southmoreland (17-4) vs. No. 12 Quaker Valley (11-9)

No. 6 Keystone Oaks (12-8) vs. No. 11 Apollo-Ridge (15-7)

No. 7 Freeport (17-4) vs. No. 10 Belle Vernon (14-8)

No. 8 McKeesport (12-8) vs. No. 9 Greensburg Salem (11-10)

Rebel: North Catholic is the favorite, but the co-champs from Section 2 in Blackhawk and Central Valley aren’t far behind. A balanced four teams from Section 3 in Elizabeth Forward, Southmoreland, McKeesport and Belle Vernon made this bracket tough to seed after the first three. McKeesport gets the nod over Belle Vernon after the Tigers swept the Leopards.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 North Catholic (19-2) – Bye

No. 2 Central Valley (19-1) – Bye

No. 3 Blackhawk (18-3) – Bye

No. 4 Elizabeth Forward (15-6) vs. No. 13 Knoch (9-13)

No. 5 Freeport (17-4) vs. No. 12 Quaker Valley (11-9)

No. 6 Southmoreland (17-4) vs. No. 11 Apollo-Ridge (15-7)

No. 7 Belle Vernon (14-8) vs. No. 10 Greensburg Salem (11-10)

No. 8 Keystone Oaks (12-8) vs. No. 9 McKeesport (12-8)

Harlan: North Catholic has won the past two WPIAL Class 4A titles and reached finals four years in row, so teams would probably prefer seeds two, three, six, seven, 10 or 11. Then, you won’t have to face them until the finals.

Class 3A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Neshannock (19-2) — Bye

No. 2 South Park (15-6) — Bye

No. 3 Shady Side Academy (17-2) — Bye

No. 4 Carlynton (18-3) vs. No. 13 Mohawk (7-14)

No. 5 Washington (17-4) vs. No. 12 Ellwood City (13-9)

No. 6 Beaver (16-4) vs. No. 11 Beth-Center (12-9)

No. 7 Avonworth (14-6) vs. No. 10 East Allegheny (14-7)

No. 8 Seton LaSalle (11-9) vs. No. 9 Deer Lakes (16-5)

Rebel: By far, this was the toughest girls bracket to put together. Neshannock was back-and-forth in Section 1 with Beaver and Avonworth all season before pulling away to win the crown by two games. But there is little that separates Beaver and Avonworth from the top two teams in Section 2 (South Park and Washington) and Section 3 (Shady Side Academy and Carlynton). Most of these playoff fields are top heavy, but this one is solid throughout.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Neshannock (19-2) — Bye

No. 2 Shady Side Academy (17-2) — Bye

No. 3 South Park (15-6) — Bye

No. 4 Carlynton (18-3) vs. No. 13 Mohawk (7-14)

No. 5 Washington (17-4) vs. No. 12 Ellwood City (13-9)

No. 6 Avonworth (14-6) vs. No. 11 Beth-Center (12-9)

No. 7 Beaver (16-4) vs. No. 10 East Allegheny (14-7)

No. 8 Deer Lakes (16-5) vs. No. 9 Seton LaSalle (11-10)

Harlan: The three section champions should earn the first-round byes. Elsewhere, Avonworth defeated Beaver twice in the regular season, so the Antelopes are seeded slightly higher after finishing tied for second in Section 1.

Class 2A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Bishop Canevin (19-2) — Bye

No. 2 Brentwood (17-3) — Bye

No. 3 Serra Catholic (16-4) vs. No. 14 Chartiers-Houston (8-13)

No. 4 Laurel (18-4) vs. No. 13 Aliquippa (7-15)

No. 5 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (17-4) vs. No. 12 Sto-Rox (10-12)

No. 6 South Side Beaver (14-7) vs. No. 11 Riverview (9-12)

No. 7 Ellis School (15-7) vs. No. 10 Burgettstown (12-10)

No. 8 Frazier (14-7) vs. No. 9 Winchester Thurston (9-9)

Rebel: News flash … Bishop Canevin is a heavy favorite to win it all in Class 2A. Section co-champs Laurel and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Section 1-2A, along with Brentwood and Serra Catholic in Section 2-2A are a strong next four teams, making No. 2 and No. 3 seeds even more important so you stay on the other side of the Crusaders. The committee could get creative and put those four in the 2, 3, 6 and 7 seeds and let them battle on the bottom of the bracket.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Bishop Canevin (20-2) – Bye

No. 2 Brentwood (17-3) – Bye

No. 3 Serra Catholic (16-4) vs. No. 14 Aliquippa (7-15)

No. 4 Laurel (18-4) vs. No. 13 Riverview (9-12)

No. 5 OLSH (17-4) vs. No. 12 Chartiers-Houston (8-13)

No. 6 Frazier (14-7) vs. No. 11 Sto-Rox (10-12)

No. 7 Ellis School (15-7) vs. No. 10 Burgettstown (12-10)

No. 8 South Side Beaver (14-7) vs. No. 9 Winchester Thurston (9-9)

Harlan: Usually, there isn’t much difference between the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in a bracket. But here there certainly is. Brentwood and Serra Catholic were co-champions in Section 2, but only one of them receives a bye. Serra won their first matchup 65-58, but Brentwood won the rematch 62-33. That should give Brentwood the edge, unless of course, the WPIAL awards the bye to either Laurel or OLSH.

Class A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 West Greene (20-2) — Bye

No. 2 Rochester (16-5) — Bye

No. 3 Greensburg Central Catholic (18-3) — Bye

No. 4 Clairton (16-4) — Bye

No. 5 Vincentian Academy (10-11) vs. No. 12 Leechburg (7-11)

No. 6 Sewickley Academy (11-6) vs. No. 11 Mapletown (12-9)

No. 7 Avella (16-5) vs. No. 10 Aquinas Academy (9-8)

No. 8 Quigley Catholic (11-10) vs. No. 9 California (10-9)

Rebel: Could this be the year where a public school wins the girls Class A district championship for the first time since Monessen won gold in 2006? A few weeks ago, it looked like perennial power Vincentian Academy might not even make the playoffs. But they won 6 of 8 down the stretch, so we’ll see how the Royals do in dark horse mode.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 West Greene (20-2) — Bye

No. 2 Greensburg C.C. (18-3) — Bye

No. 3 Rochester (16-5) — Bye

No. 4 Clairton (16-4) — Bye

No. 5 Vincentian Academy (10-11) vs. No. 12 Leechburg (7-11)

No. 6 Avella (16-5) vs. No. 11 Aquinas Academy (9-8)

No. 7 Sewickley Academy (11-6) vs. No. 10 Mapletown (12-9)

No. 8 Quigley Catholic (11-10) vs. No. 9 California (10-9)

Harlan: Rochester seemed locked into a Top 2 seed until a five-point loss to Vincentian Academy on Jan. 31. That opened the door for Greensburg Central Catholic.

Chris Harlan and Don Rebel are Tribune-Review staff writers. You can contact Chris at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib. You can contact Don at drebel@tribweb.com.

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