Breaking down the PIAA basketball semifinals
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New Castle (29-0) vs. Abington (25-5)
7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Chambersburg
Winner plays: The winner of Chester (25-5) vs. La Salle College (22-6)
How they got here: WPIAL champion New Castle defeated Bethel Park, 71-64, in the first round; North Allegheny, 64-54, in the second round; and Hampton in the quarterfinals 57-55. District 1 sixth-seed Abington defeated Emmaus, 64-51, in the first round; York, 59-53, in the second round; and Martin Luther King in the quarterfinals 56-52.
Notable: New Castle is in the state semifinals for the second consecutive season; the team lost last season to Lower Merion, 67-63. ... The Red Hurricanes never have won a state title but were runners-up three times (1936, 1982, 1998). ... This is Abington's first state semifinal appearance since 1975, when it finished as state runner-up to Schenley from the Pittsburgh City League. A year earlier, Abington beat Peabody in the state final. ... Senior guard Anthony Lee (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) led Abington in the quarterfinals with 19 points. The Galloping Ghosts have three seniors listed at 6-6 and another at 6-5. ... Abington lost to Chester, 63-51, in the District 1 quarterfinals.
Predicted winner: New CastleClass AAA
Central Valley (25-3) vs. Susquehanna Twp. (22-7)
7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Altoona
Winner plays: The winner of Neumann-Goretti (25-4) vs. Philadelphia Electric (19-11)
How they got here: WPIAL champion Central Valley defeated Mars, 67-56, in the first round; Thomas Jefferson, 61-51, in the second round; and Farrell in the quarterfinals 69-62. District 3 champion Susquehanna defeated Imhotep Charter, 65-47, in the first round; Pottsville, 52-45, in the second round; and Lancaster Mennonite in the quarterfinals 75-57.
Notable: Central Valley rallied to beat Farrell, which led 50-39 after three quarters. ... This is the first state playoff run for CV, which became a school in 2010. But Monaca, which merged with Center, won a state title in 1982. ... Senior guard Bud Mack (5-foot-10) led Susquehanna in the quarterfinals with 25 points, while 6-0 sophomore Gabe Mack (12 points, 12 assists) and 6-6 junior Quintin Ward (13 points, 15 rebounds) had double-doubles. ... The Indians last reached the state semifinals in 2008. ... Matt Kline (6-8) leads CV in scoring at 13 ppg. Tony Gates scored 18 and Mike Sims 16 in the quarterfinals.
Predicted winner: Central ValleyClass AA
Greensburg Central Catholic (25-3) vs. Seton-La Salle (28-1)
7:30 p.m. Tuesday at North Allegheny
Winner plays: The winner of Constitution (26-5) vs. E.L. Meyers (22-7)
How they got here: WPIAL champion Seton-La Salle defeated Penns Valley, 82-51, in the first round; Mercyhurst Prep, 61-41, in the second round; and Aliquippa in the quarterfinals 70-44. WPIAL runner-up Greensburg Central Catholic defeated Bald Eagle Area, 92-59, in the first round; West Middlesex in the second round 73-56; and Beaver Falls in the quarterfinals 60-49.
Notable: Seton-La Salle defeated Greensburg Central Catholic, 52-51, in the WPIAL championship game. … Dale Clancy, who averages 15.6 points, had 16 in the previous meeting. … GCC was only 8 for 21 from the foul line. … GCC leading scorer Brian Graytok (17.2 ppg) was held to nine. … Billy Hipp led GCC with 19 points. ... Seton-La Salle won its first 17 games this season. ... The Rebels have played for a PIAA championship once, a 77-72 win over Milton in 1988, well before any of this year's players was born. ... Seton-La Salle coach Mark “Knobby” Walsh is a 1986 grad.
Predicted winner: Seton-La SalleClass A
Lincoln Park (28-1) vs. Bishop Carroll (28-0)
7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Hempfield
Winner plays: The winner of St. John Neumann (30-0) vs. MCS Charter (14-14)
How they got here: WPIAL champion Lincoln Park defeated Johnsonburg, 96-47, in the first round; Forbes Road, 81-28, in the second round; and Vincentian in the quarterfinals, 99-64. District 6 champion Bishop Carroll defeated Clarion-Limestone, 81-42, in the first round; Monessen, 69-65, in the second round; and North Catholic in the quarterfinals 63-59.
Notable: Lincoln Park sophomore guard Maverick Rowan, a Pitt commit, is averaging 30.7 ppg in the PIAA playoffs, up from 25.8 in the regular season. ... Bishop Carroll junior Brandon Martinazzi has scored 1,190 career points, and senior Marcus Lee has scored 1,043. ... It took overtime for Bishop Carroll to escape North Catholic in the quarterfinals, a team Lincoln Park beat 75-58 in the WPIAL semifinals. ... The teams combine for 10 players measuring 6-foot-5 or taller. ... Lincoln Park has outscored its opponents by an average of 36.6 points.
Predicted winner: Lincoln ParkClass AAAA
North Allegheny (25-2) vs. Spring-Ford (26-6)
6 p.m. Tuesday at Chambersburg
Winner plays: The winner of WC Rustin (24-6) vs. Cumberland Valley (26-5)
How they got here: WPIAL fourth-place finisher North Allegheny defeated Penn-Trafford, 64-39, in the opening round; State College, 58-44, in the second round; and Hempfield, 73-47, in the quarterfinals. District 1 runner-up Spring-Ford beat Red Lion, 51-45, in the first round; Mechanicsburg, 42-35, in the second round; and Abington, 50-40, in the quarterfinals.
Notable: Spring-Ford, which is 8-1 in the state playoffs the past two years, is the defending PIAA champion. Sammy Stipa, who was first-team all-state last season, averages 13.5 points, and forward Shelby Mueller (5-foot-10) averages 12 points for Spring-Ford, which allows about 35 points as a team. ... SF forward Maggie Locke (6-0) has returned from a three-week absence after suffering a concussion. ... North Allegheny is seeking its first trip to the PIAA championship game. ... Devvin LaBarge leads the Tigers at 12.2 ppg, while Taylor Brennan (10.9) and Taylor Lake (10.2) also average double figures. Lake scored 17 in the quarterfinals, and Danielle Wall poured in 20.
Predicted winner: North AlleghenyClass AAA
Blackhawk (26-2) vs. Palmyra (25-4)
6 p.m. Tuesday at Altoona
Winner plays: The winner of Archbishop Wood (25-3) vs. Holy Redeemer (21-5)
How they got here: WPIAL champion Blackhawk defeated Mercyhurst Prep, 51-34, in the first round; Villa Maria Academy, 51-37, in the second round; and Hickory, 48-45, in the quarterfinals. District 3 fifth-place finisher Palmyra beat Susquehanna, 49-40, in the opening round; Merion Mercy Academy, 69-57, in the second round; and Elizabeth Forward, 51-44, in the quarterfinals.
Notable: Bucknell recruit Carly Richardson scored 17 points and had 12 rebounds, and Josie Stovall had 14 points in the quarterfinals for Palmyra. ... Richardson averages 10 points and has recovered from an ankle injury suffered earlier in the postseason. ... Blackhawk won PIAA titles in 1999 and 2000. The Cougars lost to eventual champion South Park in last year's state semis. ... Blackhawk is led by Duquesne recruit Chassidy Omogrosso, a junior who averages 21.7 points. Senior forward Courtney Vannoy (11.8 points), who had a double-double in the second round and quarterfinals, and senior guard Halle Denman (11.1 points) will play at Loyola and IUP, respectively. ... Blackhawk has been ranked among the top five teams in the state all season.
Predicted winner: BlackhawkClass AA
Burrell (28-1) vs. Seton-La Salle (25-4)
6 p.m. Tuesday at North Allegheny
Winner plays: The winner of Neumann-Goretti (28-0) vs. Dunmore (27-2)
How they got here: WPIAL runner-up Burrell defeated Clarion-Limestone, 55-27, in the first round; Bellwood-Antis, 34-29, in the second round; and General McLane, 62-48, in the quarterfinals. WPIAL champion Seton-La Salle defeated Blairsville, 58-37, in the first round; Greensburg Central Catholic, 61-43, in the second round; and Bishop Canevin, 65-44, in the quarterfinals.
Notable: First-time semifinalist Burrell had away 25 turnovers against Seton-La Salle before falling 55-34 in the WPIAL title game. Burrell trailed 11-0 before its first basket. Junior guard and Pepperdine recruit Sydney Bordonaro scored 14 points, and made four 3-pointers. ... Seton-La Salle has been to the state semis four straight seasons. The Rebels two years ago finished 30-0 and won the state championship. ... Seton-La Salle seniors Yacine Diop and Naje Gibson and junior Cassidy Walsh have committed to Pitt. ... Diop, who transferred from Oak Hill Academy (Va.), scored 15 points, and had 14 rebounds, and Gibson scored 10 against Burrell. ... Fast starts have been the key for the Rebels. They went up 16-0 on Canevin in the quarterfinals.
Predicted winner: Seton-La SalleClass A
Vincentian Academy (25-4)vs. Bishop Guilfoyle (23-5)
6 p.m. Tuesday at Hempfield
Winner plays: The winner of Old Forge (22-3) vs. Phil-Mont Christian (26-4)
How they got here: WPIAL champion Vincentian Academy defeated Port Allegany, 53-36, in the first round; Berlin-Brothersvalley, 61-48, in the second round; and Kennedy Catholic, 56-29, in the quarterfinals. District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle beat Venango Catholic, 49-40, in the first round; Serra Catholic, 65-63, in the second round; and Clarion, 55-45, in the quarterfinals.
Notable: Vincentian is 103-9 over the past four seasons, including a 59-42 loss to Tri-Valley in the 2013 state title game. … Maybe a sign of things to come, the Royals won the 2002 title after finishing second in 2001. ... Vincentian is led by junior forward Brenna Wise, a Division I prospect who averages 18.8 points. ... These two teams met in the 2013 PIAA semifinals, with Vincentian earning a 45-40 win. ... A pair of freshmen have stood out for Bishop Guilfoyle: Guard Macy Adams scored 20 points in the quarterfinals, and Lili Benzel averages 19.1 points and scored 33 in the second round. ... Bishop Guilfoyle played in the PIAA finals four times between 2007-11 and won three times.
Predicted winner: Vincentian
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