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Latrobe boys earn No. 2 seed after strong finish to regular season

| Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, 9:57 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Latrobe's Jake Bass shoots over Fox Chapel's Sam Brown during the first half of their game Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Fox Chapel.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Asa Klimchock (2) celebrates the Centurions' undefeated season following his team's victory over Shady Side Academy on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Carbon. Greensburg Central Catholic won 57-50 to end the regular season with a 22-0 record.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Ryan Quinn (left) and Asa Klimchock (2) celebrate victory over Shady Side Academy on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Carbon. Greensburg Central Catholic won 57-50 to end the regular season with a 22-0 record.

What have you done for me lately?

That was the question the WPIAL basketball committee asked when they sat down to draw up the first-ever playoff pairings in boys' Class 6A.

Latrobe, Penn Hills and Fox Chapel all finished 19-3 overall and 12-2, making it a challenge for the league to seed the teams. All three received section plaques but only one would get the No. 2 seed when the pairings were revealed Tuesday night at the DoubleTree Hotel in Green Tree.

That team was Latrobe, which won the argument as the hottest team in a contentious three-way tie between Section 3 tri-champions. Fox Chapel is No. 3 and Penn Hills is 4.

Pine-Richland (21-1) is No. 1.

All four teams have first-round byes. Latrobe will sit until Feb. 25 when it plays the winner of Butler (14-8) and Baldwin (15-7).

“I would never want their job,” Latrobe coach Brad Wetzel said of the committee. “Wherever they put you, you know you're going to see a good team. In the past, we talked about how they could take into consideration how you finished the season. That looks like what they did with us.”

Latrobe won its last nine games, including wins over Fox Chapel and a thrilling, 76-75 home victory over Penn Hills that ended with Latrobe cutting down a net.

“It was nice to celebrate, and it's nice to know it was for good reason,” Wetzel said.

Pine-Richland and Penn Hills are on the opposite side of the bracket from Latrobe.

“The first decision we made was that we wanted those three at 2, 3 and 4,” committee member Dan O'Neil said. “The consensus was that Latrobe was the hot team at the end of the year. And Fox Chapel beat North Hills, which, we thought, was the most significant out-of-section win out of the three teams.”

Five other Westmoreland teams learned their seeds and matchups.

• Greensburg Central Catholic (22-0), fresh off the first undefeated regular season in school history, is the No. 1 seed in Class 2A and has a first-round bye.

“We will have to approach it one game at a time; as the top seed, we will have a target on our backs and cannot afford to look ahead or take any team for granted,” GCC coach Greg Bisignani said. “We're confident our senior leadership will continue to lead us throughout the playoffs.”

The Centurions won't play until Feb. 24, against the winner of Neshannock (15-7) and California (19-3).

• Southmoreland (18-4), led by 1,000-point scorers Brandon Stone and Tommy Pisula, is seeded No. 5 in Class 3A and will take on Avonworth (14-8) at noon Saturday at Peters Township.

“We thought we could get the 5,” Scotties coach Frank Muccino said.

“It's a reward for our kids' hard work and their successful season.”

• Jeannette (11-11) is No. 6 in 2A and opens at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against Bentworth (10-12) at Norwin. The winner gets No. 3 Sewickley Academy (17-4), the team that beat the Jayhawks in last year's Class A semifinals.

“Everyone is 0-0; we have to be ready and come prepared,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “It's all one-and-done from here.”

• Franklin Regional (12-10) is No. 10 in 5A and will take on No. 7 Trinity (14-8) at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Baldwin.

• Monessen (15-7) is the top seed in Class A and has a bye.

The brackets are expected to be into the quarterfinals by Feb. 25. With six classes, there will be games every day except Sundays leading up to the finals, March 2-4 at Pitt's Petersen Events Center.

Play-in games were eliminated for the PIAA playoffs, in favor of the old follow-the-winner format where teams advance based in the success of teams to whom they lost in the state bracket.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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