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PIAA Class AA: Haven’t we seen this before?

The second round of the PIAA Class AA boys basketball tournament has turned into a jumbled repeat of the WPIAL tournament.
Seven WPIAL teams remain alive among the surviving 16 and six will play each other Wednesday.
The best game may be WPIAL champion North Catholic vs. Shady Side Academy and its two freshmen, Geno Thorpe and Michael Young.
Thorpe scored 18 points Saturday against District 10 runnerup Fairview, just adding to the pain felt in Shaler where Thorpe was an outstanding eighth grader last year before transferring to Shady Side.
Shaler, which nearly upset WPIAL champion Mt. Lebanon in a first-round game Feb. 23, might still be playing with Thorpe in its lineup.
Speaking of what might have been, Shady Side would have met North Catholic at Palumbo last week, if not for an overtime loss to Rochester in the WPIAL semifinals.
The other state second-round games at the bottom of the bracket Wednesday are South Fayette vs. Washington, Beaver Falls vs. Rochester and Greensburg Central Catholic vs. Mercyhurst Prep.
None of those local teams played each other in the WPIAL tournament.
The only outsider is District 10 champion Mercyhurst Prep, who ordered Jeannette to the sidelines with a 73-42 victory Saturday.
Ordered? Yeah, that’s right. Ordered!
Mercyhurst Prep is led by 6-foot-9 center Josh Chojnacki, a candidate for an appointment to West Point, who scored 24 points and had 11 rebounds against Jeannette.
It was Jeannette’s earliest exit from the state playoffs in seven years.
AAAA SHOWDOWN
If you’re thinking of going to a game Wednesday, don’t forget to consider Mt. Lebanon and North Allegheny in Class AAAA boys.
Mt. Lebanon is talented, well-coached and tested, but the Blue Devils have a tough road ahead.
North Allegheny (21-5) put on a show, beating District 10 champ Erie Strong Vincent, 74-59, on Saturday.
Sophomore Anthony Dallier led the Tigers with 26 points and 13 rebounds.
And people thought we were crazy when we put North Allegheny in the Trib’s preseason top five, despite losing almost everyone from its 2009 team.

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