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Breaking down the PIAA basketball championships

| Thursday, March 21, 2013, 11:32 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
South Park's Shelby Lindsay drives into Blackhawk's Halle Denman during the first quarter of their PIAA Class AAA semifinal Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at Chartiers Valley High School.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Bishop Canevin's Carly Forse scores past Seton-La Salle's Natalie Piaggesi during the third quarter of their PIAA Class AA semifinal Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at Chartiers Valley High School.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Vincentian's Brenna Wise drives to the basket between Ellis School's Camille Allen (25) and Madison Kalson during their game Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in McCandless.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Beaver Falls' Elijah Cottrill drives to the basket against Lincoln Park during a game on Jan. 12, 2013, at Geneva College.

CLASS AA BOYS

Beaver Falls vs. Holy Cross

2 p.m., Saturday

Beaver Falls (27-3, WPIAL champion)

Coach: Doug Biega

No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr.

0 Javon Turner G 5-9 So.

2 Cadee Akins G 5-7 Sr.

3 Elijah Cottrill G 6-3 Jr.

10 Drew Cook G 6-2 Sr.

12 Danny Stratton F 6-2 Jr.

Holy Cross (27-5, District 2 champion)

Coach: Al Callejas

No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr.

00 Josh Kosin C 6-6 Sr.

13 Connor Callejas G 5-9 Jr.

22 Kerry Kearney G 5-8 Sr.

24 Corey Joyce F 6-1 Sr.

35 Casey Gaughan G/F 6-2 Sr.

Scoring leaders: HC: Kosin 19.4, Callejas 10.6; BF: Cottrill 16.6, Cook 16.

PIAA history: Beaver Falls was runner-up in 2012, losing in overtime to Philadelphia's Imhotep Charter, 56-54. The Tigers have three state titles, won in 1970, 1994 and 2005. They also were runners-up in 2006. This is the first state title game for Holy Cross, formed in 2007 in a merger of Bishop Hannan and Bishop O'Hara. The Dunmore school lost to Imhotep Charter in the semifinals last year.

Notable: Beaver Falls' lineup looks much different than last year's. Only Cottrill and Cook are returning contributors from a team led by star Sheldon Jeter, now a freshman at Vanderbilt. Kosin will be a challenge for the Tigers, who use a pressing defense to compensate for their lack of height. The center had 27 points and 17 rebounds in the semifinals.

CLASS AAA GIRLS

South Park vs. Bethlehem Catholic

6 p.m., Saturday

South Park (27-2, WPIAL champion)

Coach: Reggie Wells

No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr.

4 Lindsey Noss G 5-5 Jr.

21 Halie Torris F 5-10 Jr.

31 Shelby Lindsay G 5-11 Sr.

34 Breanna Raymond C 6-0 Sr.

35 Allison McGrath F 5-9 Fr.

Bethlehem Cath. (28-2, District 11 champion)

Coach: Bill Lanscek

No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr.

14 Nicole Lacherza G 5-7 So.

20 Janelle Robinson G 5-3 Jr.

23 Cecilia Perez F 5-10 Sr.

24 Bridget Smith F 5-11 Sr.

32 Kalista Walters F 6-0 So.

Scoring leaders: BC: Walters 19.3, Smith 10.6; SP: Lindsay 18.0, Torris 15.7

PIAA history: This will be South Park's first state title game. A season ago, the Eagles lost a quarterfinal in double-overtime to Philadelphia's Archbishop Wood, 59-56. Wood won the title with a 52-33 victory over Lancaster Catholic. In 1993, BC lost to North Catholic in its only title-game trip.

Notable: South Park proved itself as the WPIAL's best after beating Hampton, Hopewell and Elizabeth Forward to win the WPIAL title and then Hopewell (again) and Blackhawk in the state tournament (plus wins over District 10's Hickory and Franklin). The 14-game win streak has been led by Lindsay, a four-year starter. Bethlehem Catholic's Walters, a sophomore, has more than 1,000 career points.

CLASS AA GIRLS

Bishop Canevin vs. York Catholic

Noon, Friday

Bishop Canevin (26-4, WPIAL champion)

Coach: Tim Joyce

No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr.

20 Carly Forse F 5-10 Sr.

21 Erin Waskowiak G 5-11 Sr.

22 Celina DiPietro G 5-10 Sr.

23 Gina Vallecorsa G 5-8 Fr.

32 Johnie Olkosky F 5-9 Jr.

York Catholic (29-2, District 3 champion)

Coach: Kevin Bankos

No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr.

12 Amelia York G 5-8 Jr.

21 Deanna Chesko G 5-6 Jr.

25 Morgan Klunk G/F 5-11 Sr.

35 Zaenna Echevarria F 5-9 Jr.

44 Hannah Laslo F 6-1 So.

Scoring leaders: BC: Waskowiak 14.9, Forse 13.8, DiPietro 12.2; YC: Klunk 17.1, Laslo 11.0.

PIAA history: Bishop Canevin had never reached the state championship. York Catholic will participate in its seventh Class AA title game in the past eight years. The Irish won three straight from 2006-08 and were runners-up in ‘09, ‘10 and ‘12. They lost to Seton-La Salle, 71-47, last year.

Notable: After losing eight in a row to section rival Seton-La Salle, Bishop Canevin beat the Rebels in the two biggest matchups — the WPIAL championship (56-47) and PIAA semifinals (41-36). The Crusaders have won with defense, holding four PIAA opponents to 37 points or fewer. But York Catholic has had three different leading scorers (Klunk 14 in semifinal, Laslo 14 in quarterfinal and Echevarria 21 in second round).

CLASS A GIRLS

Vincentian Academy vs. Tri-Valley

Noon, Saturday

Vincentian Academy (29-1, WPIAL champion)

Coach: Ron Moncrief

No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr.

4 Torrieonna Cash G 5-7 Fr.

12 Ally Bartoszewicz G/F 5-11 Jr.

14 Kayla Key G 5-6 Jr.

15 Abbey G 5-6 Sr. Bartoszewicz

50 Brenna Wise F 6-1 So.

Tri-Valley (27-3, District 11 champion)

Coach: Robert Felty Jr.

No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr.

10 Juli Weber G 5-7 Sr.

15 Kylie Spickler G 5-5 Jr.

30 Taylor Troutman F 5-9 Sr.

34 Chelsea Stutzman G 5-7 Sr.

35 Tara Nahodil C 6-4 Sr.

Scoring leaders: T: Nahodil 18, Weber 14.5, Troutman 12.4; V: Wise 22.

PIAA history: Vincentian returns to the state title game for the third time and first since successive trips to the Class AA championship in 2001 and 2002 (both against District 3's Trinity). The Royals lost the first attempt but won the rematch. To reach its first title game, Tri-Valley eliminated two-time defending champion Steelton-Highspire in the quarterfinals.

Notable: Tri-Valley reached Hershey behind a pair of Division I recruits. Seton Hall bound Nahodil had 23 points in the semifinals. Facing the senior will be a challenge for Vincentian's star sophomore Wise, a two-year starter who typically holds the height advantage and averages a double-double. Weber has a softball scholarship from South Florida.

Class AAAA boys

Chester vs. Lower Merion

8 p.m., Saturday

Notable: District 1 champ Chester (28-3) has won the past two PIAA titles and has eight overall. … Chester, which has won 18 straight, defeated Lower Merion, 60-46, in the District 1 title game. … The Clippers are led by 6-foot-7 senior Rondae Jefferson, who has committed to Arizona. … Lower Merion (23-3) is led by 6-6 senior forward B.J. Johnson, a Syracuse recruit who scored 24 points and had 10 rebounds in a semifinal win over New Castle. … Lower Merion's 6-8 senior forward Yohanny Dalembert and 6-3 junior Justin McFadden are D1 prospects.

Class AAA boys

Imhotep vs. Archbishop Carroll

8 p.m., Friday

Notable: Imhotep (27-5) won the past two PIAA Class AA titles and three of the past four but moved to Class AAA. … Providence recruit Brandon Austin leads the way for Imhotep at 16.8 ppg. …The Panthers, who lost to Neumann-Goretti in the District 12 title game, dress five players taller than 6-6. … Archbishop Carroll (23-6), the fourth-place team from District 12, defeated Montour in the semifinals, 50-45. ... Sophomore Derrick Jones averages 15.8 ppg for AC.

Class A boys

Vaux vs. Johnsonburg

2 p.m., Friday

Notable: District 9 champion Johnsonburg (30-2) shocked Lincoln Park in the semifinals, 59-53, to qualify for its first PIAA title game. … The Rams have won 13 straight. … Johnsonburg is led by Cole Peterson (15.8 ppg) and Cameron Grumley (15.4 ppg), and each scored 22 against Lincoln Park. … District 12 champion Vaux (23-8) is scheduled to close in June. … Vaux is led by 6-foot sophomore Sammy Foreman, who scored 28 in a semifinal upset of MCS Charter. … Rysheed Jordan set the Public League record with 45 points in the district title game.

Class AAAA girls

Spring-Ford vs. Cumberland Valley

6 p.m., Friday

Notable: District 3 fifth-place finisher Cumberland Valley (26-6) topped Chartiers Valley, 54-39, in the semifinals. … The Eagles last won a state title in 2002, topping Oakland Catholic. … CV is led by 6-1 senior forward Jackie Falconer (15.5 ppg), who scored 18 in the semifinals. … District 1 champion Spring-Ford (31-2) has won 23 straight games. … Sammy Stipa (11.2), Shelby Mueller (10.7) and Sara Payonk (10.2) average double figures for Spring-Ford.

— Compiled by Chris Harlan and Bill Hartlep

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