WPIAL Girls Basketball Team of the Week: Week ending Jan. 18

Sunday, January 19, 2020 | 8:37 PM

There were two big tests on the Woodland Hills girls basketball team’s midterm report.

The Wolverines passed both, earning an A-plus and sitting on the top of the Section 3-5A honor roll.

Woodland Hills edged rivals Penn Hills and Oakland Catholic in section games before picking up another win Saturday in the Martin Luther King Jr. Showcase the school hosted.

“With winning two key games against two powers in 5A is huge,” Woodland Hills second-year coach Von Pitts said. “It’s been over 10 years since Woodland Hills has defeated both these teams. I’d say our confidence level is through the roof, especially being at the top of the section alone.”

On Tuesday, Woodland Hills hosted Penn Hills and pulled out a 47-46 victory. Senior Joi Burleigh scored 17 points, and junior Peyton Pinkney scored 16 points as the Wolverines came back in the fourth quarter to earn a sixth consecutive win.

“Early in the game, we were in awe of them,” Pitts said. “When you haven’t beaten a team, sometimes it’s hard to convince success. But once we got over that and we could withstand their punch, I knew we would be OK.”

Two days later, Woody High opened the second half of section play with a trip to Oakland Catholic.

The Wolverines were down 12 after one quarter and by 15 early in the second quarter before turning the tide.

Regulation ended with the score tied 50-50. The scoree was tied again 53-53 in the waning seconds of overtime when Pinkney hit a jumper to secure the victory.

“Just the thought of winning at Oakland Catholic was a huge barrier, especially since we’d beat them already,” Pitts said. “To see the elation on our players’ faces was electric.”

Pinkney led the Wolverines with 15 points, and Burleigh scored 11 points in the win over the Eagles.

The big week was capped Saturday when Woodland Hills outscored Lancaster Mennonite, 22-8, in the third quarter on its way to a 69-54 triumph, the eighth straight win for the Wolverines.

“The key to our success has been has been believing in each other and being a part of the puzzle opposed to trying to be the entire puzzle,” Pitts said. “Know your role. Do your part, and everything will fall in place.”

Woodland Hills is 8-0 in the section and 13-2 overall. While Pinkney and Burleigh have been a big part of the success, Pitts realizes it has to be all hands on deck for that to continue.

“When you have role players, the results are normally that you get contributions from everyone,” Pitts said. “As I’ve stated, we could have a different leading scorers every night, but when you have players inside like Joi Burleigh and Peyton Pinkney, why not feed the ball inside?”

So what does Woodland Hills need to do to improve in the second half and into the postseason?

“We’ve got to understand situational basketball, along with being the aggressors,” Pitts said. “Sometimes we don’t respond until we’re punched. As long as Woodland Hills has been bullied, it is now time we throw the first punch in the fight.”

Previous Trib HSSN Teams of the Week:

Week 4 – West Greene Pioneers

Week 3 – Southmoreland Scotties

Week 2 – Bethel Park Black Hawks

Week 1 – Hopewell Vikings


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