High school notebook: A-K Valley teams to play Saturday playoff doubleheader
A-K basketball fans will get a treat Saturday with a local boys playoff doubleheader at Plum. The pair of Class AA quarterfinal games features Apollo-Ridge (17-7) against No. 4 seed Jeannette (18-4) at 1 p.m., followed by Burrell (17-6) and No. 2 Greensburg Central Catholic (22-1) at 2:30 p.m.
Other Saturday game sites also were announced. No. 10 Fox Chapel (17-6) plays No. 2 North Allegheny (20-3) in WPIAL Class AAAA boys quarterfinal action at 3 p.m. at North Hills, while the Class A No. 12 St. Joseph girls (11-12) take on No. 4 Quigley (17-5) at 1 p.m. at Northgate.
Arcuri picks Westminster
The Alle-Kiski Valley's scoring champion said he would pick a college after the season. He honored his word, and he didn't take much time to decide.
St. Joseph's 6-foot senior point guard Johnny Arcuri verbally committed to play at Division III Westminster.
Arcuri averaged 25 points per game and finished with exactly 1,000 career points — the ninth player in coach Kelly Robinson's 14-year tenure to reach the milestone. He only played three seasons at St. Joseph after transferring from Riverview, where he played as a freshman.
Arcuri, who also considered Juniata, scored 30 or more points six times this season.
It's been a good year to play a No. 5 seed in the WPIAL basketball playoffs. Three local teams knocked off teams with that tag in the first round. Kittanning's boys clipped Central Valley in Class AAA, Apollo-Ridge shocked Sto-Rox in the Class AA boys' bracket and the St. Joseph girls upset Avella in Class A.
Leading a team from a three-win season to 18 wins and a spot in the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals has its advantages.
That's what Fox Chapel 6-foot-3 junior forward Erin Mathias has done, and now she's been nominated for the Gatorade National Player of the Year.
Mathias missed last season after having minor knee surgery. But she's come back strong to lead Fox Chapel back to prominence, providing double-doubles on an almost nightly basis.
She's among the top scorers in Class AAAA at 17 points per game.
On the mat
The WPIAL wrestling individual postseason continues for Class AA and begins for Class AAA this weekend.
The Class AA championships will be Friday and Saturday at Chartiers Valley. Class AAA sectionals are at various sites on Saturday, with Section 1 at Gateway.
Four local wrestlers take undefeated records into the weekend.
Burrell senior Dakota DesLauriers (182 pounds) and Kittanning junior Jason Nolf (132) are two of only three individuals who have not lost in Class AA, while Kiski Area senior Matt McCutcheon (195) and junior teammate Shane Kuhn (285) are the only remaining wrestlers with unblemished records in Class AAA.
DesLauriers (26-0) and Nolf (35-0) are seeking their third WPIAL titles. McCutcheon (29-0) is going after a third section title and second WPIAL championship. Kuhn is 31-0.
Nolf and McCutcheon each have one PIAA title.
Cheswick Christian Academy's boys basketball team is reaping the rewards of a stellar season. The Chargers, who are 20-6 after Thursday's victory, had four players named to the All-Southwest Christian Athletic Conference team.
Sophomore Antione Malloy and senior Andrew Maust were first-team picks, with Malloy picking up East Division MVP honors.
Senior Tyler Knupp made the second team, while junior JuJuan Malloy was a third-team pick.
Harvest Baptist junior Noah Kile was the West MVP.
On the girls' side, Cheswick Christian's all-conference selections were senior Natalie Merola (second team) and junior Ariel Festa (third team).
Plum athletic director Bob Alpino said the school is scheduled to hire a new football coach at Tuesday's board meeting.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.