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Guido: A-K Valley hoop teams await state playoff fates

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Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart's Brianna Van Volkenburg (left) wrestles for the ball with Deer Lakes' Rebecca Babincak during their playoff game Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. Deer Lakes needs Seton-La Salle to beat Bishop Canevin in the WPIAL Class AA finals to receive a state playoff berth.
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By George Guido
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 12:46 a.m.

While the WPIAL playoff madness continues Wednesday night at North Allegheny with Burrell and Apollo-Ridge trying to advance to the finals, positioning for the PIAA playoffs is already under way.

The Apollo-Ridge boys, along with the Burrell boys and girls, have already secured state playoff spots.

Several other local schools have their seasons in limbo, depending upon how the final two rounds of the WPIAL tournament go.

The PIAA allots state playoff berths contingent upon how many schools each district has in a given classification.

For instance, the schools in District 1 (suburban Philadelphia) have so many large schools that it is allotted 10 of the 32 PIAA Class AAAA bracket slots. The WPIAL (District 7) gets just five since the school enrollments have dropped so severely.

But District 1 gets only one Class A berth because there are few small schools in that area.

District 9, north of the Alle-Kiski Valley, gets three Class A berths since there are so many small schools — the WPIAL gets just five.

By contrast, the WPIAL gets six Class AAA berths and seven Class AA berths because there is an abundance of schools in those categories.

All WPIAL semifinalists automatically make the PIAA tournament, seeds Nos. 5-7 get their berths depending upon how far the teams they lost to in the quarterfinals go.

Here's the status of some other Alle-Kiski Valley schools:

• The Deer Lakes girls need a win by Seton-LaSalle over Bishop Canevin in the WPIAL Class AA finals in order to be part of the PIAA field.

• The Kittanning boys got the bad news Tuesday night. With Beaver losing to Chartiers Valley Tuesday, the Wildcats can put away their equipment after one of the most successful seasons in school history. Kittanning has never played in a PIAA game.

• The Fox Chapel boys need a win by North Allegheny on Wednesday night to keep their PIAA hopes alive. The only way coach Zach Skrinjar's team can advance is if North Allegheny wins the WPIAL title.

• As for the Fox Chapel girls, their season is officially over with Mt. Lebanon's surprising loss to Chartiers Valley on Tuesday night.

• The St. Joseph girls need a win by Quigley over top-seeded Vincentian on Wednesday and a Quigley win in the WPIAL finals in order to see their season continue.

Incidentally, the three local semifinalists represent the most A-K Valley teams in the semifinals since 2007 when four programs — the Leechburg boys, the Fox Chapel boys, the Valley boys and the Ford City girls — all qualified.

Leechburg won the Class A title.

Plum nutritional seminar

Local student-athletes and their parents are invited to a program Wednesday night at Plum High School on improving athletic performance through proper nutrition.

Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, will host the program at 7 p.m. in the Plum auditorium.

Admission is free.

Bonci has coached Usain Bolt, the world's fastest runner, Pens star Sidney Crosby and retired Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward on proper nutrition.

“How Good Can You Get Doing it Right? — Fueling to Optimize Performance” deals with foods that athletes can put on their performance plates and how those foods can have a direct effect on athletic performance.

The secret is when, where and how much an athlete eats.

“If the fuel or fluid isn't right, then regardless of how much you train or what you wear, you will not perform at your best level,” Bonci said.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

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