WPIAL releases winter sports alignment for next 2-year cycle

Monday, February 19, 2018 | 6:00 PM

With six classifications, it’s almost impossible to keep all the sections similarly sized and still create geographically friendly sections.

“It’s awful, it’s terrible,” WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said. “It’s not good, but what are you going to do?”

That became clear again Monday when the WPIAL board approved winter sports alignments for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.

Among those making longer commutes will be the Norwin girls basketball team, which joins a Class 6A section that’s based in the north hills. Because 6A shrunk from 18 girls teams to 16, it also shrunk from three sections to two.

Norwin joins Butler, Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley and Shaler.

The committee considered shifting Mt. Lebanon north, but eventually chose Norwin, in part because of its proximity to the turnpike.

Striving for balance, the WPIAL decided to divide each classification into roughly seven- or eight-team sections. Among the 36 basketball sections, 30 have either seven or eight teams.

“If you have 16 (teams), you have two eights,” O’Malley said. “You couldn’t have two eights in one (classification) and four fours in another. But in doing that, you run into geographical issues.”

Class 5A girls, which shrunk from four sections to three, now has a section that stretches from Oakland Catholic to Albert Gallatin.

Among the boys teams that relocated, Beaver Falls dropped into a Class 3A section that already included Aliquippa and Lincoln Park.

The WPIAL basketball committee debated breaking up Section 2 in Class 4A boys, which features Quaker Valley and New Castle, the top two seeds in this year’s playoffs. But there were no scenarios that worked logistically, O’Malley said.

Braddock Hills, a Propel charter school, is a new addition in both girls and boys basketball. The Imani Christian girls did not request a WPIAL schedule for next season.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

Here’s a look at the section breakdown:

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