WPIAL Class 2A girls basketball preseason breakdown

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019 | 5:25 PM


WPIAL girls basketball season will tip off next weekend.

Preparing to defend their district championship from a year ago are Peters Township (6A), Chartiers Valley (5A), North Catholic (4A), Neshannock (3A), Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (2A) and Rochester (A).

North Catholic is looking for a fourth straight district crown while Chartiers Valley hopes to win a third WPIAL title in the last four years.

Also last year, Peters Township and Chartiers Valley capped off perfect seasons with PIAA championships.

Here is a rundown of players to watch, team rankings and other notable facts for Class 2A girls basketball. Check out a breakdown of each class this week on the TribLive High School Sports Network. Click here for the Class 6A, 5A, 4A and 3A previews.

WPIAL Class 2A

Preseason Player of the Year

Diajha Allen

Bishop Canevin

5-6, senior, guard

13.2 ppg in 2018-19

Players to watch

Rayna Andrews

Serra Catholic

5-10, Sr., F, 9.1 ppg

Natalie Jasper

Ellis School

5-5, Jr., G, 19.8 ppg

Nya Nicholson

Winchester Thurston

5-11, Jr., G, 14.0 ppg

Emily Prasko

Burgettstown

5-8, Sr., G, 10.2 ppg

Sierra Twigg

Frazier

5-10, Jr., F, 16.3 ppg

Preseason Top 5

1. Bishop Canevin (22-4 last season)

For the first time in four years, Bishop Canevin fell short of winning a WPIAL title last season. Champions in 2016, ’17 and ’18, the Crusaders lost to OLSH in the semifinals last season and reached the PIAA second round. They will have a different look this season after losing three starters and a head coach. Jim Kaczorowski replaces Scott Dibble, who resigned in June. Promising sophomore Emma Theodorsson transferred to Moon, and all-state guard Shamyjha Price graduated. Back to lead the way are St. Francis recruit Diajha Allen, who averaged 13.2 points and was an all-section selection, as well as senior guard Alyssa Pollice.

2. Serra Catholic (18-6)

Serra Catholic returns three starters from a team that tied for the Section 2 title and reached the PIAA playoffs. The group includes 5-10 senior forward Rayna Andrews, along with junior guards Chloe Pordash and Nichole Pawlowski. The Eagles will miss graduates Gigi Mele-Madigan and Emma Nilson.

3. Winchester Thurston (11-11)

After winning WPIAL Class A titles in 2017 and ’18, Winchester Thurston moved up to Class 2A last season and finished sixth in the WPIAL and qualified for the PIAA tournament. After an adjustment period last year, the Bears appear poised for success. Junior guard Nya Nicholson averaged a double-double a year ago, while sophomore guard Maya Roberts also averaged double-figure scoring.

4. OLSH (22-5)

The Chargers claimed the program’s first WPIAL title last season behind Ashley Norling (17 ppg) and Maddie Hoff (14 ppg), who both graduated. To get back to the Petersen Events Center, OLSH will rely on four experienced returnees in senior guard Haley Hamilton, senior forward Hannah Valenty, junior guard Grace Bradley and sophomore forward Emily Schuck. Hamilton, who won WPIAL and PIAA cross country titles in the fall and will run at Duquesne next year, is a four-year starter who led the team in assists last season at 3.0 per game.

5. Frazier (14-8)

Frazier won eight of its final 10 games last season to finish second in Section 3. The Commodores welcome back two starters, including guard/forward Sierra Twigg, a junior all-section and all-Fayette County performer who averaged 16.3 ppg. Also back is guard/forward Kaelyn Shaporka, along with senior Lindsey Somers, junior McKenzie Miller and sophomore Eliza Newcomer.

Notable

• Brentwood (20-5) reached the WPIAL title game for the first time since 1994 and lost to OLSH, 50-48. The Spartans also reached the PIAA second round to complete one of the best seasons in program history. Guard Natalie Murrio, who had 27 points in the title game, and five other key players graduated.

• A year after reaching the WPIAL quarterfinals, Ellis School (16-8) will be led by junior guard Natalie Jasper, who averaged nearly 20 points last season.

• Laurel (20-6) reached the WPIAL semifinals last season but will miss graduate Caroline Gibson (Slippery Rock), who averaged better than 20 points.

• Riverview (9-13) brings back five starters, including senior guard Francesca Lio, who averaged 10.4 points and 10.2 rebounds, and senior guard Sydney McDonough, who averaged 4.6 assists.

• Burgettstown (12-11) boasts five returning starters after finishing third in Section 3 last season. The group includes senior guard Emily Prasko (10.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg), as well as a talented freshman class.

Alignment

Section 1: Aliquippa, Laurel, New Brighton, Northgate, OLSH, Shenango, South Side, Sto-Rox

Section 2: Brentwood, Ellis School, Jeannette, Riverview, Serra Catholic, Springdale, Winchester Thurston

Section 3: Bentworth, Bishop Canevin, Burgettstown, Carmichaels, Chartiers-Houston, Frazier, Fort Cherry

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.

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