WPIAL Girls Basketball Preview

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Friday, February 12, 2016 | 3:19 PM


There are 73 girls teams that begin the Path to the Pete in the hopes of raising one of the four championships at the Petersen Events Center on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh on February 26th or 27th. Here are some factoids to help you get ready for the 2016 WPIAL Girls Basketball Playoffs.

CLASS AAAA

TOP SEED: Norwin (21-0). The Knights are the defending champions and an overwhelming choice as the top seed. They are led by Alayna Gribble, a Pitt recruit who just might be the No. 1 player in the WPIAL this year. Norwin has been impressive offensively, but their defense is absolutely stifling. The Knights allow only 31 points a game.

DEFENDING CHAMP: Norwin.

POINTING THE WAY: Johnasia Cash, McKeesport, 21 ppg; Alayna Gribble, Norwin, 20.0.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: North Allegheny is the No. 2 seed and definitely a team to watch. But the Tigers lost to Norwin, 68-59, earlier this season. North Allegheny is coached by Spencer Stefko, who won the past two WPIAL AA titles at Seton-LaSalle. North Allegheny has won so many titles in many sports, but the Tigers have never won a basketball title – boys or girls. … Guard play is so important in the playoffs and that’s why Penn Hills is a title contender. The Indians have two excellent guards in Jady Ely and Desiree Oliver. … Look for someone from Section 4 to make noise in the playoffs. That could be either Peters Township, Canon-McMillan or Bethel Park. They are seeds 4, 5 and 7. … McKeesport is led by Cash, the cousin of former McKeesport star and WNBA player Swin Cash.

DID YOU KNOW? Eighteen years ago, Swin Cash scored 40 points in the WPIAL title game against North Allegheny. That is still tied for the most points in a Class AAAA postseason game.
 

CLASS AAA

TOP SEED: South Fayette (18-3). The Lions surprised some people last year, making it to the WPIAL title game. This year, they are the favorite to win it all. At least that’s what the WPIAL thinks. The Lions are new kids to the WPIAL elite class. Last year was the first time they played in a title game, and this year is the first time they won a section title. They feature 6-4 Emily Anderson.

DEFENDING CHAMP: Blackhawk.

POINTING THE WAY: Maris Seto, Brownsville (24.0), Bella Posset, Beaver, 19.7.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Blackhawk is the two-time defending champion, but the Cougars were beaten out by Ambridge for the Section 2 championship this year. Ambridge got the No. 3 seed and Blackhawk No. 4. Blackhawk’s leading scorer is Madison Amalia, the daughter of highly successful Blackhawk baseball coach Bob Amalia. Bob also is a Blackhawk girls assistant coach. … Trinity is a team to watch because of two potent scorers – Sierra Kotchman and Mary Dunn. The Hillers are the No. 2 seed. … One of Hampton’s top players is Laryn Edwards. She is the sister of James Edwards, who is the leading scorer for the Plum boys team.

DID YOU KNOW? Four years ago, a freshman named Chassidy Omogrosso tied the WPIAL Class AAA playoff record for 3-pointers in a game with eight against West Mifflin. Omogrosso is now a starting guard for the Duquesne University womens team.
 

CLASS AA

TOP SEED: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (19-3). It doesn’t seem like there is an overwhelming team in Class AA this season. The Chargers are a well-balanced team, with no player averaging even 15 points a game. Their defense has been tremendous, allowing only 31 points a game. Can that defense hold down good teams in the playoffs?

DEFENDING CHAMP: Seton-LaSalle.

POINTING THE WAY: Natalie Myers, Burrell, 22.5 ppg; Amani Johnson, East Allegheny, 21.4.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: This Seton-LaSalle team isn’t as good as some of the recent championship teams, but still is a title challenger. The Rebels – the No. 3 seed and WPIAL champs four of the past five years – have won nine in a row and only two teams have scored 40 points or more on them during that streak. … Burrell is the No. 2 seed. A few other teams to watch are Neshannock and Riverside. … Myers was sixth in the WPIAL in scoring during the regular season and Johnson No. 7.

DID YOU KNOW? Thirty-seven years ago, Burrell’s father, Joey, was one of the star players on a Burrell team that made it to the WPIAL AAA final at the Civic Arena, before losing to Beaver Falls.
 

CLASS A

TOP SEED: Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (20-2). The Trojanettes have won more WPIAL titles (16) than any school. Title No. 17 will likely go through Vincentian. The two teams split two games in the regular season. The WPIAL gave North Catholic the No. 1 seed, though. The Trojanettes feature one of the WPIAL’s top juniors in forward-center Sam Breen, who already has Division I scholarship offers. Breen was the third-leading scorer in the WPIAL during the regular season at 26.5.

DEFENDING CHAMP: Vincentian.

POINTING THE WAY: Cali Konek, Imani Christian, 45.9 ppg; Gabbie Smith, Quigley, 30.1.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Konek had by far the highest regular-season average of any girl in WPIAL history. Quigley’s Smith was the second-leading scorer in the WPIAL, and Smith and Konek meet in a first-round game tomorrow afternoon at North Allegheny. It is the first time the top two leading scorers have ever met in a playoff game. … Vincentian is trying to win a fifth consecutive title. Only one school has won five WPIAL championships or more. Penn Hills won seven from 1986-92. Quigley is the No. 3 seed and Ellis No. 4. Ellis has Dayna Rouse, the No. 3 scorer in the WPIAL at 25.3 ppg.

DID YOU KNOW? Thirty-seven years ago, Avonworth set a Class A playoff record for points scored when it had 97 against Carmichaels.

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