Valley News Dispatch WPIAL basketball playoff capsules
WPIAL PLAYOFF CAPSULES
Class AAA: Quarterfinals
• Kittanning (20-4) vs. No. 6 Beaver (18-3)
8 p.m. Friday at North Allegheny
Winner plays: No. 1 Chartiers Valley (20-3)/No. 9 South Fayette (14-9) winner Tuesday (time, site to be determined).
Layups: Unseeded at the onset, Kittanning suddenly is seeking a rarity — three straight wins in the WPIAL postseason. Back-to-back wins in the playoffs was something the Wildcats hadn't done since 1925. But senior Sterling Henry scored 30 points as the team upset No. 5 seed Central Valley, 67-62, on Tuesday, to accomplish the feat. Kittanning won three playoff games in 1925 but lost to Charleroi in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats also played Beaver in the playoffs since 1977. Beaver averages 65.7 points, Kittanning 65.1. ... Fast-paced Beaver is led by 6-foot-5 senior center Aaron Barlow, who, in addition to being a solid rebounder and shot blocker, averages 21.3 points. The Bobcats own a 59-55 win over top-seeded Chartiers Valley and split a pair of games with Central Valley, the team Kittanning beat in the first round. Beaver and Central Valley shared the Section 2 title.
Class AAAA: Quarterfinals
• No. 8 Fox Chapel (18-5) vs. No. 1 Mt. Lebanon (21-2)
6:30 p.m. Friday at North Allegheny
Winner plays: No. 13 Upper St. Clair (12-11)/No. 5 Chartiers Valley (17-6) winner Tuesday (time, site to be determined).
Layups: Fox Chapel is one of the youngest teams in the Class AAAA bracket with only three seniors on the roster, but the Foxes have the talent to surprise the tournament's No. 1 seed. In the first round, senior Alexa Yaksich scored a team-high 13 points and freshman Kayla Slovenec had 10 in a 45-36 win over ninth-seeded Butler. Fox Chapel's previous playoff win came in 2010 and the Foxes also played Mt. Lebanon in the quarterfinals, but lost to the Blue Devils. Junior 6-3 forward Erin Mathias, a Duke recruit, hit her cheekbone off the court in Tuesday's game and was shaken up, but returned and will play Friday. Fox Chapel's last semifinal appearance was in 2009. ... Mt. Lebanon takes a 14-game winning streak into the second round. The Blue Devils have captured six straight section titles and won three of the past four WPIAL championships. A deep lineup has several scoring threats, including 6-1 senior forward Jordan Holmes, 6-1 junior forward Christine Ehland, 5-9 senior guard Alex Ventrone and 5-4 junior guard Margie McCaffrey.
Class AA: Quarterfinals
• No. 3 Burrell (21-2) vs. No. 6 McGuffey (20-2)
6:30 p.m. Friday at Keystone Oaks
Winner plays: No. 2 Bishop Canevin (19-4)/No. 7 Mohawk (17-6) winner Tuesday (time, site to be determined).
Layups: Youthful Burrell continues to look like a team that has been in the postseason before, using pressure defense to hold teams at bay. The Bucs have been one of the WPIAL's top defensive teams all season, yielding a WPIAL-best 27 points per game. Eleven opponents have scored 25 or fewer. Sophomore guard Sydney Bordonaro and freshman forward Natalie Myers have been a formidable one-two scoring punch, with several role players complementing their play. Burrell hasn't been in the quarterfinals since 1995, when it lost to Aliquippa. The Bucs haven't won a second-round game since 1994 (49-40 over Apollo-Ridge). ... McGuffey also looks to have a bright future. It is led by sophomore scoring sensation Sammie Weiss, a 5-10 guard who can put up points in a variety of ways. Weiss has scored more than 800 career points. She is averaging 27.5 points and led the Highlanders to their first section title since 1990. Weiss also averages seven steals per game. McGuffey averages 67.1 points.
Class AA: Quarterfinals
• No. 4 Deer Lakes (20-3) vs. No. 5 Jeannette (16-6)
6:30 p.m. Friday at Fox Chapel
Winner plays: No. 1 Seton-La Salle (22-1)/No. 8 Greensburg C.C. (17-6) winner Tuesday (time, site to be determined).
Layups: Deer Lakes lost to Jeannette on back-to-back occasions in the playoffs; now, the Lancers will look to make it two straight wins over the Jays. The Lancers lost to Jeannette in the first round in 2010 and the quarterfinals in '11 (in overtime at Fox Chapel). Earlier this season, senior guard Becca Babincak scored a career-high 30 points to lead the Lancers to a 76-56 nonsection win. Jeannette was upset by another local team when Riverview stunned the then-No. 4 Jayhawks, 60-54. Deer Lakes hasn't advanced past the quarterfinals since 1991. ... Jeannette is powered by senior guard Ciara Gregory, the WPIAL's scoring leader. A UNC-Charlotte recruit, Gregory was sensational in the first round, scoring 41 points — 31 after halftime — to lead Jeannette to a 68-60 win over Steel Valley in a game also played at Fox Chapel. Gregory, who has more than 2,000 career points, has scored 680 this season. She had 32 against Deer Lakes this season.
— Bill Beckner Jr.