Franklin Regional scrapping to end in Section 2-AAAA race
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A season-long scrap for playoff spots in Section 2-AAAA boys basketball is down to its final week, and the race remains as murky as ever.
Franklin Regional (13-6, 8-4) began the week locked in a second-place tie with Fox Chapel, Gateway and Pittsburgh Central Catholic for one of three remaining WPIAL Class AAAA playoff spots from the section. First-place Plum (16-2, 10-2) clinched a postseason berth last week.
“It's definitely an exciting feeling,” Franklin Regional coach Brad Midgley said. “I think most of the teams involved kind of thought there was a chance this would happen. We've all kind of beaten up on each other a little bit and put ourselves in a position the last week of the season where if you win a couple games here, you put yourself in a pretty good position at the end of the standings.
“At the same time, you've got to stay focused at what we have to do at hand and hopefully take care of some details and put ourselves in position to try to win some basketball games.”
Each team in the four-way tie for second place had two games remaining entering the week. Franklin Regional hosted last-place Woodland Hills on Tuesday and will travel to play Plum on Friday. Fox Chapel's remaining games were against Plum and Central Catholic, Gateway's were against Central Catholic and McKeesport and Central Catholic's were against Fox Chapel and Gateway.
“Every game means so much to everybody,” senior Matt Fisch said. “You have to win (each) game or you could be the team on the outside looking in at the end of the year.”
What makes the section race especially uncertain this season is that many of the teams tied for second place split their season series against each other. Franklin Regional split its matchups with Central Catholic, Fox Chapel and Gateway, losing to all three on the road and beating all three at home. The WPIAL uses head-to-head competition as the first tiebreaker when it comes to determining playoff spots.
The Panthers picked up a key victory last week, overcoming a nine-point deficit in the third quarter to beat Gateway, 62-53.
“The last thing you want to do is let a team get you twice (because) at the end of the year, you're hoping you don't end up tied with them because they would get that tiebreaker,” Midgley said. “We all know each other so well, and most of us take care of our home court pretty well. As long as you can take care of your home court, sometimes the ball will bounce your way on the road and it puts you in a good position.”
Franklin Regional also won an important road game last week, beating McKeesport, 68-54, on Friday night. The Panthers took advantage of the absence of McKeesport forward Khalil Perdue, outrebounding the Tigers, 42-21. George Brown scored 10 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, Fisch added 14 points and seven rebounds and Matt Renzi scored 21 points.
“We really dominated the offensive rebounding,” Fisch said. “One of their best players wasn't playing, so we had to take a different mindset. We came out strong and handled our business.”
Fisch said the team was taking a “business as usual” approach into its final two games. Tuesday's contest against Woodland Hills ended past the deadline for this week's edition, while the Plum game will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“We've got to go in, win the games and take care of our business and get ready for the playoffs,” Fisch said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Expanded roster helps boost Kiski Area girls
- Kiski Area boys a team in transition after graduation of top scorer
- Steel Valley boys put focus back on basketball
- Steel Valley girls plan to play ‘small ball’
- Latrobe boys look to defend Section 1-AAAA title with experienced lineup
- Derry boys basketball hoping to change losing ways
- Elizabeth Forward boys basketball preparing to fill big shoes
- Fox Chapel boys look to define roles
- Backcourt trio to fuel Highlands boys basketball team’s offense
- New Highlands girls basketball coach ready to run
- East Allegheny boys basketball looks to improve under 1st-year coach