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High school notebook: A-K playoff picture becoming clear

Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Plum's Krista Pietropola (right) drives to the hoop against Gateway's Jada Epps during their game at Plum High School on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013.

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Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, 1:00 a.m.

With a week left in the basketball regular season, nine girls teams and seven boys teams from the A-K Valley have secured WPIAL playoff spots. They are:

Girls — Fox Chapel and Plum in Class AAAA; Freeport and Kittanning in Class AAA; Deer Lakes, Burrell, Ford City and Riverview in Class AA; and St. Joseph in Class A.

Boys — Kiski Area and Fox Chapel in Class AAAA; Kittanning in Class AAA; Deer Lakes, Burrell and Apollo-Ridge in Class AA; and St. Joseph in Class A.

The Leechburg, Knoch and Freeport boys remain in contention, as do the Springdale girls.

Valley baseball coach

Valley is expected to hire a baseball coach at a special meeting Monday evening. The board is down to four candidates, according to athletic director Mark Kaczanowicz.

Bruce Campana has coached the team for the past six seasons, but the school operates on one-year contracts and could hire a new coach. Campana took over in 2007 and has gone 42-53 with one playoff appearance, in 2008.

Family ties

The second meeting of the season between Section 2-AAAA boys basketball foes Fox Chapel and Central Catholic on Friday will have enough meaning on the surface because the teams usually play each other closely.

But the game, which will conclude a five-game homestand for the Foxes and conclude section play for both teams, also features a personal rivalry between a couple of players. Fox Chapel sophomore guard Billy Urso and Central senior guard David Urso are cousins. Both scored in double figures in the first showdown. David, who lives in Franklin Park, hit four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 21 points, while Billy had 14, including three 3s.

Central won the first meeting, 67-62.

Orange crush

“White Outs” and “Pink Outs” are almost a weekly occurrence during WPIAL basketball season, but teams are getting creative — and for another good cause.

Apollo-Ridge basketball will host an “Orange Out” on Monday against Penns Manor to raise money for multiple sclerosis research.

The Apollo-Ridge girls will play at 4:30 p.m., with the boys at 7. Both junior varsity teams also will play.

Last year, Apollo-Ridge raised $1,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Record in her future?

Plum basketball standout Krista Pietropola is just a junior, and she could get to 1,000 points this season. She also is on pace to become the school's all-time leading scorer. In fact, she could ease past the record next season.

Pietropola has 906 points with three games left in the regular season, and Plum is playoff-bound.

Plum's all-time leading scorer is 1999 grad Jill Markowski Kiss with 1,201 points.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. He can be reached at

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