WPIAL Class 3A girls basketball breakdown
By: Bill Hartlep
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 | 8:57 PM
Preseason Player of the Year
Bella Burrelli, Neshannock
5-11, Sr., forward
17.9 ppg last season
Players to watch
Ariana Goitz, Shady Side Academy
5-6, Sr., G, 19.0 ppg
Maura Huwalt, South Park
6-0, Sr., F, 13.0 ppg
Amaia Johnson, East Allegheny
5-8, Jr., G/F, 12.2 ppg
Karly McCutcheon, Mohawk
5-9, Jr., G, 14.5 ppg
Hayden Robinson, Avonworth
5-9, Sr., F, 19.0 ppg
Preseason Top 5
1. Neshannock (20-5 last season)
Neshannock reached the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA playoffs a year ago behind Burrelli, who averaged nearly 18 points for the Section 1 champs. Guards Alexandra Zarilla and Brie Dean also return.
2. Avonworth (16-8)
The Lopes move over from Section 3, where they were runners-up to Bishop Canevin last season. It should make for several tough contests. Robinson returns to lead the way.
3. South Park (13-10)
Four starters are back for the Eagles, who dropped from Class 4A after reaching the playoffs last season. Huwalt, an Auburn track and field recruit, averaged a double-double a year ago. Point guard Cassidy Zandier (12 ppg) also returns after helping the soccer team to a WPIAL title.
4. Mohawk (21-6)
McCutcheon returns to lead the 2017-18 Section 1 runner-up. The Warriors reached the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals, losing to Bishop Canevin in both rounds.
5. East Allegheny (27-2)
Scoring sensation Amani Johnson took her talents to Kennesaw State, but her sister, Amaia, returns after averaging 12.2 points a year ago as the Wildcats rolled to the Section 2 title and reached the WPIAL title game and PIAA semifinals, falling to Bishop Canevin both times.
• WPIAL Class 3A girls basketball features three sections and 24 teams, up from 21 last season.
• Bishop Canevin, Laurel and South Side Beaver dropped to Class 2A. Bishop Canevin has won three straight WPIAL titles.
• Beaver, Deer Lakes, Derry, Valley and South Park moved down from Class 4A.
• Beth-Center and Washington moved up from Class 2A.
• Apollo-Ridge moved up to Class 4A.
• Shady Side Academy looks to contend for the Section 3 title behind Goitz, a 19 ppg scorer last season. The Indians finished 11-10 last season.
Section 1: Avonworth, Beaver, Beaver Falls, Ellwood City, Freedom, Mohawk, Neshannock, Riverside
Section 2: Beth-Center, Brownsville, Charleroi, McGuffey, Seton LaSalle, South Park, Washington, Waynesburg
Section 3: Carlynton, Deer Lakes, Derry, East Allegheny, Shady Side Academy, South Allegheny, Steel Valley, Valley
— Bill Hartlep
Bill Hartlep is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at email@example.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.