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Alle-Kiski Valley preview: Tuesday's WPIAL basketball playoffs

Erica Dietz | Valley News Disp - Knoch's #23 Chris Kier attempts a lay-up past Mars' #15 Ethan Lewis during the basketball game at Mars High School on Tuesday, January 14, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Erica Dietz  |  Valley News Disp</em></div>Knoch's #23 Chris Kier attempts a lay-up past Mars' #15 Ethan Lewis during the basketball game at Mars High School on Tuesday, January 14, 2014.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch - Fox Chapel's Erin Mathias, left, is defended by Plum's Krista Pietropola as she goes to the hoop during girls basketball action on Friday night at Plum High School, January 10, 2014
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Bill Shirley  |  For The Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Fox Chapel's Erin Mathias, left, is defended by Plum's Krista Pietropola as she goes to the hoop during girls basketball action on Friday night at Plum High School, January 10, 2014
Nick Mitrakos | For the Valley News Dispatch - Lower Burrell's Sydney Bordonaro (21) forces her way into scoring distance on Thursday night's game against Ford City.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Nick Mitrakos  |  For the Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Lower Burrell's Sydney Bordonaro (21) forces her way into scoring distance on Thursday night's game against Ford City.

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By Bill Beckner
Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, 7:00 a.m.
 

WPIAL basketball playoff preview

Tuesday's games

Boys

Class AAAFirst round

No. 6 Knoch (16-4) vs. No. 11 Blackhawk (11-11)

8 p.m. at North Allegheny

Winner plays: No. 14 West Allegheny (13-10)/No. 3 Thomas Jefferson (20-2) winner.

Layup lines: Knoch finished in a three-way tie for first in Section 1-AAA and got the top seed out of a trio that also included Indiana and Mars. The Knights have allowed a WPIAL-low 40.2 points per game. They won a preliminary-round game last season for their first postseason win since 2006. ... Blackhawk has its own suite in the WPIAL playoffs, qualifying for the 32nd straight time. The Cougars' record is deceiving because their schedule is dotted with quality teams, and Section 2 is fairly strong. They allow more points (59.8) than they score (58.1).

Girls

Class AAAAFirst round

No. 3 Fox Chapel (17-4) vs. No. 14 Pine-Richland (14-8)

8 p.m. at North Hills

Winner plays: No. 6 Norwin (16-5)/No. 11 Penn Hills (14-8) winner.

Layup lines: Fox Chapel won the Section 2 title by two games over Plum and is aiming for a second straight spot in the quarterfinals. Shot-altering senior Erin Mathias, a 6-foot-3 Duke recruit, has helped power the Foxes to the best defensive average in Quad-A (36.4 ppg). ... Pine-Richland never has played Fox Chapel in the playoffs. The Rams have used balanced scoring with Amanda Kalin (14.9 ppg), Kaitlyn Jenkins (13.1) and Makenzie Jenkins (13.0) averaging in double figures.

Class AAFirst round

No. 2 Burrell (22-0) vs. No. 15 Shenango (13-9)

6:30 p.m. at Plum

Winner plays: No. 7 McGuffey (19-3)/No. 11 Brentwood (15-6) winner.

Layup lines: A semifinalist last season, Burrell put together its best regular season, capping the undefeated gem with a 63-61 win over Class-AAA Mt. Pleasant, but the Lady Bucs will have gone nine days without playing a game. Junior point guard Sydney Bordonaro, a Pepperdine recruit, scored a career-high 35 in her last game, but Burrell's postseason success could lie in the play of senior role players Jaila Manga, Jess Cercone and Kelsey Oddis. ... Shenango's top scorers are sophomore guards Sam Seaburn (15.5 ppg) and Angelina Sibeto (15.3). Sibeto had 15 and Seaburn 13 in a preliminary-round win over Charleroi.

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