The WPIAL proved to be a tough out in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA boys basketball tournament. Five of the six WPIAL qualifiers won, including another big victory for Chartiers Valley, 96-66, against Central Tech.
The tournament is only in the second round, but six of those eight games Tuesday will feature either WPIAL or District 12 teams.
Archbishop Carroll (23-4), the District 12 third seed and defending champion, beat District 1 winner Holy Ghost Prep, 37-30, while District 12 champion Neumann-Goretti pounded Susquehanna Township, 64-44, and runnerup Dobbins (17-8) defeated Springfield Delco, 57-52.
With Oliver, Greater Johnstown and East losing, Chartiers Valley and surprising Bradford (22-2) of District 9 are the only No. 1 seeds at the bottom half of the bracket.
You know what that means? See you in State College, T.J.
After Chartiers Valley (26-1) plays West Allegheny for the fourth time Tuesday, the Colts will be tested by the Lancaster Catholic/York Suburban winner. Both are 23-5.
Prediction: CV routs West Allegheny again and, eventually, finds itself in the Western Final, giving WPIAL runnerup Hampton another chance. CV is 3-0 against West Allegheny and 2-0 against Hampton.
One more thought: One of those District 12 teams will reach the Bryce Jordan Center, opposite Chartiers Valley, in the final March 26.
T.J. McConnell’s 3 3s Friday gave him a WPIAL record 327 for his Chartiers Valley career. … Lincoln Park’s Chaquille Pratt scored 46 points in an 89-53 Class A victory against Penns Manor of District 6. … Serra Catholic, the fourth Class A seed from the WPIAL, lost to District 5 champion Southern Fulton, 48-43, after Serra’s Rob Heatherington turned an ankle in the second quarter and played the second half at half-speed. Heatherington still scored seven of his team-high 16 points on that bad wheel. … Mt. Lebanon and Baldwin are the only local teams left in the Class AAAA girls tournament, and they could stage a WPIAL title-game rematch in the quarterfinals next Friday. … If I didn’t have to work Tuesday, I’d buy a ticket to see the Jeannette/Avonworth girls in the Class AA second round. Lots of desire, lots of talent, lots of coaching savvy on both benches. … It’s hard to believe that Greensburg Central Catholic is the only one of seven WPIAL AA teams that lost in the first round. … Doesn’t matter, though: Villa Maria (24-2) and Notre Dame recruit Kayla McBride are coming out of the bottom half of the bracket where half of the eight remaining teams are from the WPIAL.
Has any noticed that Mt. Lebanon coach Dori Oldaker is chasing her fourth state title, including two at Blackhawk? That’s the only stat this season more impressive than McConnell’s 327 3-pointers.
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