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Let the games (after games after games) begin


The 19-day PIAA basketball tournament gets underway Tuesday with 20 play-in games, leading to the first round Friday and Saturday.

The crowning of the eight WPIAL champions set up the seedings for the state tournament.
The Class AA boys field looks like the deepest in terms of quantity (eight teams) and quality (a supremely talented Shady Side Academy team is the fourth seed from the WPIAL).

And how about those 19-2 Greensburg Central Catholic girls? They are the seventh seed from the WPIAL after a loss to Beaver in the quarterfinals. The brackets are designed in such a way — not on purpose — that GCC wouldn’t have to meet WPIAL champion Jeannette until the state semifinals.

The championship games are March 26-27 at Penn State.

Here are the WPIAL entrants, with their seedings and records:

Class AAAA boys

1. Mt. Lebanon (25-1)

2. Gateway (18-5)

3. Upper St. Clair (15-9)

4. North Allegheny (19-5)

5. McKeesport (15-7)

I like a possible second-round matchup of Mt. Lebanon and North Allegheny.

Class AAA

1. Chartiers Valley (25-1)

2. Hampton (21-3)

3. West Allegheny (15-9)

4. West Mifflin (14-8)

5. Trinity (15-5)

6. Montour (14-8)

CV will coast into the quarterfinals where it could meet the third seed from District 1.

Class AA boys

1. North Catholic (23-2)

2. Rochester (23-3)

3. South Fayette (19-5)

4. Shady Side Academy (18-4)

5. Washington (18-5)

6. Greensburg Central Catholic (18-4)

7. Beaver Falls (14-9)

8. Jeannette (16-8)

Shady Side Academy, with its great young talent, may get a crack at North Catholic in the second round.

Class A boys

1. Sewickley Academy (22-2)

2. Lincoln Park (18-7)

3. Cornell (18-6)

4. Serra Catholic (20-3)

5. Neshannock (16-8)

I like that possible Serra/Lincoln Park matchup in the second round.

Class AAAA girls

1. Mt. Lebanon (23-2)

2. Baldwin (20-4)

3. Peters Township (13-12)

4. Bethel Park (18-6)

5. Fox Chapel (18-4)

Weird; A 12-loss Peters Township team would avoid Mt. Lebanon until the quarterfinals, but four-loss Fox Chapel gets the Blue Devils in the first round, if it beats Hollidaysburg.

Class AAA girls

1. New Castle (21-3)

2. Hopewell (25-1)

3. Indiana (21-2)

4. Chartiers Valley (20-5)

5. Hampton (16-8)

6. Blackhawk (14-8)

I can really see a New Castle/Hopewell rematch in the state semifinals.

Class AA girls

1. Jeannette (24-2)

2. Seton-La Salle (20-6)

3. Beaver (18-6)

4. Avonworth (22-2)

5. South Fayette (17-7)

6. Sto-Rox (17-5)

7. Greensburg Central Catholic (19-2)

8. Bishop Canevin (17-6)

Jeannette needs to be careful in the second round — a wounded, angry Avonworth team and its veteran coach Bob Schulz may be waiting.

Class A girls

1. Vincentian (16-7)

2. North Catholic (22-4)

3. Quigley (19-3)

4. Monessen (18-5)

5. Rochester (19-4)

How far can a seven-loss Vincentian team go? Hey, no one thought the Royals would beat North Catholic, 57-31.

Finally, one self-serving comment:

When Trib Total Media writers Chris Harlan, Pat Mitsch, Keith Barnes and Paul Schofield put their heads together the night the brackets were released and picked the champions of each classification, they were on target with seven of eight. You could look it up.
That included New Castle knocking off undefeated Hopewell.

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