WPIAL Class 3A boys basketball championship breakdown: South Allegheny vs. Ellwood City

Sunday, March 14, 2021 | 8:56 PM

WPIAL Class 3A boys basketball championship

No. 1 South Allegheny vs. No. 11 Ellwood City

5 p.m. Monday at North Allegheny

On the air: TribHSSN.TribLive.com (video stream)

Winner plays: Winner of District 5 or 9 in PIAA quarterfinals, March 20

How they got here: South Allegheny defeated No. 17 Ligonier Valley, 75-36, in the first round; No. 9 Seton LaSalle, 58-30, in the quarterfinals; and No. 4 Aliquippa, 62-50, in the semifinals. Ellwood City beat Valley, 72-20, in the preliminary round; No. 6 Avonworth, 58-53, in the first round; No. 3 Shady Side Academy, 81-73 in overtime in the quarterfinals; and No. 2 Neshannock, 60-51, in the semifinals.

Starting lineups

South Allegheny (17-4)

Coach: Tony DiCenzo

No., Player, Pos., Ht., Yr.

2, Ethan Kirkwood, G, 6-1, Jr.

3, Dillion Hines, G, 6-1, Jr.

4, Bryce Epps, G, 6-0, Sr.

5, Antonio Epps, G, 6-0, Sr.

24, Omar Faulkner, F, 6-5, Sr.

Ellwood City (13-4)

Coach: Steve Antuono

No., Player, Pos., Ht., Yr.

1, Alexander Roth, F, 6-2, Jr.

3, Steve Antuono, G, 6-0, Jr.

5, Daniel Ditri, G/F, 6-1, Sr.

20, Milo Sesti, G, 5-9, Jr.

35, Joseph Roth, G/F, 6-4, Fr.

Title-game history: Both teams are seeking their first WPIAL title.

Notable: Ellwood City has been the “underdog” throughout the playoffs but hasn’t looked like one. The Wolverines have won eight straight, including a thrilling semifinal win over Section 1 rival Neshannock, which beat Ellwood City twice during the regular season. This is Ellwood City’s first finals appearance since 1986. The Wolverines are led by the trio of juniors Steve Antuono (18 ppg) and Alexander Roth (17 ppg) and freshman Joseph Roth, a 6-4 forward who averages 20 points and 16 rebounds. … South Allegheny enters the championship game battle-tested against some of the best the WPIAL has to offer. Their losses came against Class 5A Mars, Class 4A finalist Lincoln Park, Class 2A champion OLSH and Class 3A No. 3 seed Shady Side Academy. The Gladiators, who allow just 43.1 points per game, lost in the WPIAL semifinals to North Catholic last year. Antonio Epps, a Duquesne football recruit who ran for 3,614 yards and scored 57 touchdowns in his career, had 17 points and his younger brother, Bryce Epps, had 14 points, for SA in the semifinals. Dillion Hynes added 15 points. Omar Faulkner, a 6-5 forward, also is a force at both ends for the Gladiators.

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

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