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Alle-Kiski Valley basketball playoff capsules

Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch - Plum's Courtney Zezza (44) grabs a rebound from Kiski Area's Megan Majersky during a basketball game at Kiski Area High School on December 10, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Erica Hilliard  |  Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Plum's Courtney Zezza (44) grabs a rebound from Kiski Area's Megan Majersky during a basketball game at Kiski Area High School on December 10, 2012.
- Kittanning's Noah Kunst drives by Blake Shields (left) during a 65-59 home win over Indiana on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.
Kittanning's Noah Kunst drives by Blake Shields (left) during a 65-59 home win over Indiana on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.

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By Bill Beckner Jr. and Bill West
Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

Friday's games

Boys

Class AAA

Preliminary round

Kittanning (7-15) vs. Mt. Pleasant (15-6)

8 p.m. Friday at Penn Hills

Winner plays: No. 1 Chartiers Valley (21-1).

Layups: Kittanning enters the WPIAL postseason for the third straight season and will face a team it never has played before in the playoffs. The Wildcats rely on 6-foot-2 guard Noah Kunst (16.3 ppg) on the perimeter and 6-7 Eric Hulings inside.

Mt. Pleasant, the second-place team from Section 3, takes a three-game winning streak into the playoffs. Four players averaged in double figures for the Vikings during the regular season: Luke Liprando (11.5 ppg), Ryan Gumbita (11.4), Mitch Matlas (11.1) and Marcus Malara (10.7).

Class A

First round

No. 12 St. Joseph (8-14) vs. No. 5 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (17-5)

8 p.m. at Northgate

Winner plays: No. 13 Winchester Thurston (11-9)/No. 4 North Catholic (13-9) winner.

Layups: St. Joseph leads all A-K Valley boys basketball teams in consecutive playoff appearances with 12 — and 14 of 16 under coach Kelly Robinson. The Spartans, though, have lost five consecutive games heading into the playoffs.

OLSH averaged 68.8 points and features the WPIAL's second-leading scorer in 6-6 Cameron Johnson (28.1 ppg).

Girls

Class AAAA

First round

No. 10 Plum (15-7) vs. No. 7 Penn-Trafford (16-6)

6:30 p.m. at Penn Hills

Winner plays: No. 15 Gateway (13-8)/No. 2 Mt. Lebanon (15-5) winner.

Layups: Plum might have cringed when it saw its opening-round opponent because the Mustangs have not beaten Penn-Trafford since 2007, a span of five games. But this senior-led team has good-enough talent to be considered a sleeper in Class AAAA. Youngstown State recruit Krista Pietropola averages 17.2 points.

Co-Section 1 champion Penn-Trafford knocked Plum out last year's playoffs in the first round 50-40. Guard Maria Palarino leads the Warriors with 18.7 ppg.

Class AA

Preliminary round

Ford City (14-7) vs. Laurel (12-9)

6:30 p.m. at Butler

Winner plays: No. 3 Greensburg Central Catholic (17-4).

Layups: In the playoffs for the 19th consecutive season, Ford City allows 32.8 points per game, which is the fourth-lowest total in Class AA. The Sabers last won a postseason game in 2010.

Ellen Shaffer, a 5-10 junior guard, averages a team-high 13.8 points for Laurel, which lost four of its last five games. The Spartans are in the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Apollo-Ridge (14-7) vs. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (14-7)

6:30 p.m. at Northgate

Winner plays: Fort Cherry (14-6)/Avonworth (12-9) winner.

Layups: Senior Ashley Emminger excels in the paint, averaging nine points and six rebounds for Apollo-Ridge, while junior Julia Demeno (11.8 ppg, four assists per game) operates best along the perimeter. The Vikings last won a playoff game in 2009.

OLSH, in the postseason for the 10th straight year, last lost an opening-round playoff game in 2005.

Riverview (13-9) vs. West Shamokin (12-10)

6:30 p.m. at Plum

Winner plays: No. 1 Seton-La Salle (18-4).

Layups: When the teams met in the 2010 preliminary round, West Shamokin won 48-32 to secure its first postseason victory in program history.

Sophomore guard Sadie Buchser leads a Riverview lineup that includes only one senior. Buchser averaged 14.5 points during the regular season.

Senior Kelly Clowser paces a balanced West Shamokin offense with a team-high 8.7 points per game.

— Bill Beckner Jr. and Bill West

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