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A-K Valley high school basketball playoff capsules

| Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, 1:16 a.m.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Fox Chapel's Brian Papich (24) drives to the hoop past Peters Township's Connor Freely during their game at Fox Chapel on Monday, Feb. 8, 2014. Papich scored his 1,000th career point in the second half.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Freeport's Macy Smolic (left) goes to the basket against Apollo-Ridge's Ashley Emminger on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Apollo-Ridge's Maurice Stankus (left) plays defense against Leechburg's Taylor Oberdorf on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013.


Class AAAA

First round

No. 8 seed Fox Chapel (17-5) vs. Bethel Park (17-5)

3 p.m. at North Hills

Winner plays: No. 16 Latrobe/No. 1 New Castle winner Layups: Fox Chapel is considered a sleeper because the Foxes have two of the top players in Quad A in 1,000-point scorers Matt D'Amico and Brian Papich. But the Foxes haven't won two playoff games in a season since 2006-07 when they made the semifinals under now-Bethel Park coach Ben O'Connor. The Foxes lost to Bethel Park, 55-44. ... Bethel Park also is a quiet contender having won seven of its last eight. Junior guard Joe Mascaro averages 18.4 points.

Class AA

Preliminary round

Apollo-Ridge (18-3) vs. California (10-12)

1:30 p.m. at Elizabeth Forward

Winner plays: No. 7 Quaker Valley (20-2) Layups: Apollo-Ridge rode the coattails of unexpectedness all the way to the WPIAL semifinals last season, and returned most of the players who made its run happen. That includes floor leader Tre Tipton, a junior guard who averages 14.5 points and is one of three double-figure scorers. ... California, which went 18-4 last year and lost in the preliminary round, won four of its final five section games to get in this year. It lost to Section 4 champion Brownsville twice by a combined seven points. The Trojans beat Apollo-Ridge in the 2010 preliminary round, 59-54.

Burrell (6-15) vs. Washington (16-6)

Noon at Chartiers Valley

Winner plays: No. 8 Summit Academy (15-5) Layups: Burrell defeated Washington, 61-50, in the first round last season on the way to the WPIAL championship game. But this is a much different team, from its coaches to its starting lineup. Sophomore guard Brendan Lettrich leads the Bucs with 16.4 points per-game and freshman Max Garda averages 10.7. ... Fast-paced Washington finished second to top-seeded Seton-La Salle in Section 4. A key inside player is 6-foot-1 senior forward Quorteze Levy. The Little Prexies have made the playoffs 18 of the last 19 years, missing out in 2011.


Class AAA

Preliminary round

Kittanning (14-7) vs. Greensburg Salem (9-13)

3 p.m. at Plum

Winner plays: No. 1 Blackhawk (19-2) Layups: In the playoffs for the sixth year in a row, Kittanning seeks its first postseason win since 2010. Senior guard Emily Knepshield, who recently scored her 1,000th point, paces a Wildcat offense that averages 45.7 points per game. … Senior forward Karly Mellinger and junior guard Claire Oberdorf are a one-two punch for Greensburg Salem. … When the teams met in the first round in 1997, Kittanning won 36-35.

Freeport (10-11) vs. West Mifflin (15-5)

Noon at Plum

Winner plays: No. 5 Indiana (18-4) Layups: Freeport won consecutive games just twice this season. Sophomore Zoe Soilis anchors the Freeport offense at 15.5 points per game. … West Mifflin, in the postseason for the 12th straight season, leans on seniors Ciara Patterson (16.7 ppg) and Taylor Thomas (16.4 ppg) for the bulk of its offense. The Titans won their opening-round game each of the past eight seasons.

Class A

First round

No. 4 St. Joseph (18-4) vs. No. 13 Jefferson-Morgan (12-10)

Noon at Elizabeth Forward

Winner plays: Winner of No. 5 Quigley (16-5)/No. 12 West Greene (11-10) Layups: St. Joseph 6-foot-1 senior Mallory Heinle leads WPIAL Class A in scoring at 23.7 points per game. The Spartans have won 10 games in a row, including nine by at least 10 points. … While St. Joseph averages 58.7 points per game, Jefferson-Morgan manages just 39.8 per contest. The Rockets' roster lacks seniors and includes just three juniors.

— Bill Beckner Jr. and Bill West

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