So far, the west has been best.
For all the much-deserved praise eastern Pennsylvania basketball receives, the state’s western half more than held its own Friday during the first day of the PIAA basketball championships. Three of the four titles went to schools from the far west:
Class AAAA girls: Mt. Lebanon (over Archbishop Ryan of Philadelphia)
Class AA girls: Villa Maria from Erie (over York Catholic)
Class A boys: Sewickley Academy (over Reading Central Catholic)
The only eastern victory was by Philadelphia’s best team, Neumann-Goretti, in the Class AAA boys title game. Neumann-Goretti was ranked No. 2 in the nation by ESPN and No. 7 by USA Today. But even that game was much closer than most expected.
East will meet west twice Saturday: In Class AA boys, South Fayette (23-5) plays Strawberry Mansion (28-1) of Philadelphia’s Public League. In Class AAA girls, Indiana (25-2) plays Archbishop Wood (25-5) of Philadelphia’s Catholic League.
The other two games are regional matchups: In Class AAAA boys, suburban Philadelphia rivals Plymouth-Whitemarsh (29-2) and Penn Wood (27-3) meet for the title. In Class A girls, Northern Cambria (24-5) will face Altoona’s Bishop Guilfoyle (29-0).
Time schedule: Class A girls, noon; Class AA boys: 2 p.m.; Class AAA girls, 6 p.m.; Class AAAA boys 8 p.m. (all games televised by PCN)
— Chris Harlan (email@example.com)