Valley News Dispatch WPIAL basketball playoff capsules
Kittanning (18-4) vs. Yough (8-14)
8 p.m. Friday at Gateway
Winner plays: No. 5 seed Central Valley (16-6), Tuesday (time, site to be determined).
Layups: Kittanning put together one of its finest regular seasons, starting 10-0 and averaging 64.5 points per game. The Wildcats are one of the tallest teams in the playoffs, with all five starters over 6-foot-1. Senior guard Sterling Henry has 1,012 career points and leads the Wildcats at 17.6 points per game. Kittanning hasn't won a playoff game since 1984. ... Yough is in the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The Cougars are coached by former Valley assistant and Freeport graduate Wayne Greiser. Senior 5-10 guard Ben D'Amico is the team's leading scorer at 15.4 points per game. Senior 6-2 forward Dom Miele is next at 13.5, and 6-0 junior swingman Josh Sterner averages 11.4.
Mt. Pleasant (13-9) vs. Knoch (11-11)
8 p.m. Friday at Highlands
Winner plays: No. 1 seed Chartiers Valley (19-3), Tuesday (time, site to be determined).
Layups: Mt. Pleasant, the third-place team from Section 3, won five of its final six regular-season games to make the playoffs. The Vikings have just two seniors on the roster and have three double-figure scorers in junior 6-3 forward Marcus Malara (11.4 ppg), 6-4 sophomore forward Ryan Gumbita (11.3) and senior guard Cody Monroe (10.2). Gumbita is the quarterback of the football team. ... Knoch, led by first-year coach Ron McNabb, has been an effective half-court team. The Knights enter the playoff having lost four of their last five, but they put a scare into No. 1 seed Chartiers Valley, the team they could see next. Knoch led the Colts at halftime before falling, 65-51. Knoch has nice inside-outside balance with forwards Marc Vaughan, Dakota Bruggeman and Matt Zanella and guards Austin Miller and David Galllagher.
Leechburg (7-13) vs. Mapletown (6-16)
5 p.m. Friday at Chartiers Valley
Winner plays: No. 1 seed Lincoln Park (17-5), Tuesday (time, site to be determined).
Layups: Leechburg had help getting into the playoffs with Section 4 champion Imani Christian ineligible for the postseason, allowing four out of five teams from the section to advance. But the Blue Devils ended the regular season with a 64-59 win over fellow playoff team St. Joseph. Senior 6-3 forward Jake Iellimo consistently has provided double-doubles for the Blue Devils since making his first start in December. But guards Ben Ritchie, Randy Smail and Chris Swank all have had big games on different occasions. Leechburg is the last A-K team to win a WPIAL title (in 2006-07). ... Mapletown sputtered to fourth place in Section 3. The Maples are powered by 5-11 junior Derreck Riggleman, one of the top scorers in the WPIAL at 22.5 points per game. The long-bombing guard gets many of his points from behind the 3-point line.
No. 12 St. Joseph (9-13) vs. No. 5 Clairton (13-6)
8 p.m. Friday at Chartiers Valley
Winner plays: No. 4 seed Union (16-5)/No. 13 Quigley (11-11) winner Feb. 22
Layups: No stranger to the WPIAL playoffs, St. Joseph enters the tournament having lost four of its last five games. The Spartans have been led by A-K Valley scoring leader Johnny Arcuri. The 6-foot senior point guard is averaging 25.5 points per game and has seven games of 30 or more. Arcuri is looking to become the ninth player in coach Kelly Robinson's 14-year tenure to score 1,000 career points. He has 974. The Spartans have been on their share of up-and-down games. They are allowing 67 points per game, second most in Class A. ... Clairton, a former section opponent of St. Joseph, started the season late as it worked football players back into the basketball mix. The Bears, who won a section title for the first time in 15 years, have been one of the top defensive teams in the WPIAL, allowing just 46.8 points per game. Senior 5-9 guard Byron Clifford averages 18.4 points per game to lead the team.
OLSH (18-4) vs. Riverview (13-7)
6:30 p.m. Friday at Cornell
Winner plays: No. 4 seed Deer Lakes (19-3), Tuesday (time, site to be determined)
Layups: OLSH, which took second place in Section 6, won eight of its final nine regular-season games to ease into the postseason. The Chargers rely heavily on their defense. They take pride in only allowing 28.1 points, second fewest in Class AA to section foe Beaver, the section champion. Cornell, the game site, is 1.8 miles from OLSH. ... Riverview, a team with numerous underclass players, won five of its final six games, including a 60-54 upset of Jeannette, the No. 5 seed, and a 58-37 win over section rival Springdale. Impressive backcourt teammates senior Ashley Bruni and freshman Sadie Buchser have guided the Raiders. Buchser averages 13.1 points; Bruni, 12.4. Riverview upset No. 4 seed Monessen last season in the quarterfinals.
Washington (12-10) vs. Ford City (14-8)
6:30 p.m. Friday at Yough
Winner plays: No. 1 seed Seton-La Salle (21-1), Tuesday (time, site to be determined).
Layups: A young Washington team finished third in Section 5 despite losing a key player to a season-ending injury in 5-8 junior forward Andrea Sharp. Others have stepped up in her absence, including a pair of 5-9 forwards in Tajah Haley and Mikala Maltony. Junior guard Sarah Ward is another key player for the Little Prexies. ... Ford City, in the WPIAL playoffs for the 18th straight time, played a part in the defensive prowess of teams from Section 1-AA. The Sabers allowed an average of 34.8 points per game. First-place Burrrell (27.1) and second-place Deer Lakes (34.5) had better averages. Junior forward Allyson Cujas leads the young Sabers in scoring at 15.2 points per game. Sophomore 5-8 guard Christina Davis has played well since returning from a leg injury that cost her several games last season. Junior guard Bethany Meyer has been a welcome addition after arriving from now-defunct Elderton.
Springdale (11-11) vs. Riverside (14-8)
6:30 p.m. Friday at Keystone Oaks
Winner plays: No. 6 seed McGuffey (19-2), Tuesday (time, site to be determined).
Layups: Springdale won six of its final eight games to get into the playoffs, finishing fourth in Section 3. The Dynamos haven't experienced playoff success in some time. Their last playoff win was Feb. 13, 1998, a 43-27 win over Charleroi in a Class AA preliminary round game at Hempfield. Senior 5-8 forward Maddy Glamp leads the Dynamos in scoring at 11.6 points per game, followed by junior guard Amanda Koprivnikar is next at 10.1. ... Riverside won five in a row and nine of 10 heading into the playoffs. The Panthers rely on a deep bench, but get a large portion of their scoring from senior guard Alex Deep, the fifth-leading scorer in Class AA at 17.9 points per game. Senior forward Nicole Mansfield and senior guard Adriana Kelly also are key contributors.
—Bill Beckner Jr.