Chartiers Valley, Montour and South Fayette are contenders for the WPIAL Class AAA crown.
Yet, barring ties, one of those three won't finish better than third in its own section now that Chartiers Valley has relocated to Section 5-AAA with those other championship-caliber hopefuls.
“We're probably all among the top five teams (in Class AAA),” Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell said, “but it could be us, Montour or South Fayette finishing third.”
For four seasons, Chartiers Valley was among the top programs in Quad-A, reaching the title game in 2011. But the latest WPIAL section realignment moved the Colts down in classification to where they were in 2010 when they reached the state championship game.
They join a section with plenty of championship-game medals. Montour was PIAA runner-up last season. South Fayette won the Class AA state title in 2010.
“Our section will definitely be the strongest (in Class AAA),” McConnell said, “with Montour and South Fayette, plus South Park is big and (Keystone Oaks) has some good players. It's going to be tough.”
Realignment shifted the landscape of Class AAA. Along with adding Chartiers Valley, the latest shuffle moved out last season's finalists. New Castle (27-1) and Hampton (25-5) now are contenders to win the Class AAAA title.
The Colts could have remained in Class AAAA, but the school favored the move down.
“We're going to play where our numbers fall,” McConnell said. “We're Triple-A this year, and we're excited to be here.”
But they haven't cut all ties with Class AAAA. Chartiers Valley scheduled nonsection games with Upper St. Clair and Mt. Lebanon to maintain those rivalries.
The Colts graduated most of last season's starting lineup that finished 20-3, including leading scorer Wayne Capers (17.2 ppg).
This season's lineup likely will feature seniors Spencer Casson and Mike Boulos, juniors Jared Tuite and Dom Castellano, and sophomore Matty McConnell. Their success could rest with Casson, who McConnell wants to become more selfish.
“Defensively, I think he's going to be really good,” McConnell said. “I need him to be more offensive-minded. He's really unselfish. When you throw the ball into the post, he should be scoring. Instead, he wants to kick it out to our guards to shoot threes.”
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