Semis, PIAA berths on the line
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A great deal will be on the line for the six remaining area teams in the WPIAL playoffs.
Not only will the Monessen and Elizabeth Forward boys and Ringgold, EF, California and Frazier girls have a chance to move on to the semifinals with wins, but a victory by any of them will guarantee a spot in the PIAA tournament.
On Friday, Monessen (18-5) takes on Wilkinsburg (13-8) at Baldwin in Class A and EF (20-3) plays Uniontown (20-1) at Charleroi in AAA boys' contests. Both games tip off at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, Ringgold (13-9) battles West Mifflin (17-5) at Peters Township at 3 p.m. and EF (19-3) opposes Central Valley (15-7) at West Allegheny at 1:30 p.m. in AAA. California (18-3) meets North Catholic (16-7) at Peters Township at noon and Frazier (16-5) tangles with Vincentian (19-3) at West Allegheny at noon in Class A.
In Class A, the top four teams qualify for the state playoffs. In AAA, the top six teams make it.
In AAA, two of the losers in quarterfinal games will qualify for the states if the team that defeats them reaches the WPIAL title game.
There are several rematches on tap among local teams, including Monessen, Ringgold and EF's girls.
The Greyhounds defeated Wilkinsburg, 73-51, Dec. 21.
Surprising Ringgold and West Mifflin were members of Section 4 and played twice with the teams splitting road wins. West Mifflin won, 47-42, at Ringgold Dec. 19 while the Lady Rams got revenge at West Mifflin, winning 51-43, Jan. 23 to keep their playoff hopes alive.
EF and Central Valley did not meet this season, but the Lady Warriors dumped CV twice in the playoffs a year ago — 66-45 in the WPIAL quarterfinals and 51-44 in the first round of the PIAA tourney.
Streaks on the line
A few teams will put impressive winning streaks on the line this weekend.
The Lady Trojans have the longest streak — 12 games — against North Catholic. Cal's last loss came Dec. 29 against Brentwood, 41-33.
Monessen has won six straight games and 15 of its last 16, with the only loss coming at the hands of AAAA Hempfield, 72-59, Jan. 30.
EF's boys' team has also won six straight games, with the last loss being against Thomas Jefferson, 65-63, Jan. 24.
Ringgold's girls have won seven of their last eight games after a 5-8 start put them in survival mode for the rest of the way. The lone defeat in the latest run was 39-26 to EF Feb. 5.
For those thinking ahead, here are the title dates for the various classes in which area teams are still contending:
• The boys' Class A and AAA title games are set for Feb. 28.
• The girls' Class A title tilt will be played March 1, as will the AAA girls' finale.
All title games will be played at Duquesne University's A.J. Palumbo Center.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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