Uniontown receives first-round bye
On Tuesday night, the WPIAL announced the high school basketball playoff pairings, as five local teams learned how their championship quests would begin.
The Connellsville boys as well as the Geibel and Laurel Highlands girls will play on Monday night. The Geibel boys will be in action on Tuesday night. The Uniontown boys received a first-round bye and won't play until the end of next week.
The Falcons (22-2) are the Section 2-AAAA champs and have won five straight heading into the playoffs. Their opponent in the first round will be Norwin, at 8 p.m. at Gateway High School. The Knights (12-10) finished second in Section 1-AAAA.
"We're pretty happy with it," Connellsville coach Nick Bosnic said of his team's number three seeding. "We figured we'd be seeded anywhere from three to seven. Now, we'll just go in and give it our best shot."
The Falcons are coming in on a hot streak, having won five straight games to close the regular season.
"Norwin is a big inside physical team and they are well-coached," Bosnic said. "But I definitely think we are starting to peak here at the end."
Another team that has picked it up at the end of the season is the Lady Gators (15-8). The Geibel girls finished as the third-place team in Section 2-A. They will take on Farrell, at 6:30 p.m. at Upper St. Clair High School.
"I thought it was pretty fair," Geibel coach George Bortz said of the pairings. "I figured we'd be in the middle of the pack somewhere, and they didn't hurt us."
The Lady Steelers (14-8) finished second in Section 1-A, and Bortz knows his team is in for a challenge. But the Lady Gators have won four straight and eight of their past nine.
"I don't know much about Farrell," Bortz said. "But if we play the way we are capable of playing, I feel good going against Farrell. We just have to win one, then worry about the second one."
The Geibel boys also will be taking it one game at a time, and their first one will be against Duquesne, at 8 p.m. at Monessen High School.
The Gators (14-8) finished second in Section 2-A after falling to California in the season finale. But prior to that setback, Geibel had won three straight.
The Dukes (9-15), despite a losing record, finished as co-champs with St. Joseph in Section 4-A.
The Fillies (15-8) will face a tough test right off the bat as they tangle with Section 1-AAAA champion Hempfield, at 6:30 p.m. at Ringgold High School. Laurel Highlands ended the regular season as the second-place team in Section 2-AAAA. Prior to a season-ending loss to section champ Albert Gallatin, the Fillies had won two straight and five of six. The Lady Spartans (20-4) come into the game on a nine-game winning streak.
The only local squad to get a guaranteed pass into the quarterfinals was Uniontown. The Red Raiders (20-3) finished as champs of Section 3-AAA. They will get the winner of a Monday match-up between Hampton (17-7) and South Allegheny (20-4).
Uniontown will carry a nine-game winning streak into the playoffs.
|Local teams in action next week|
Monday, Feb. 17
Connellsville Falcons vs. Norwin at Gateway High School, 8 p.m.
Geibel Lady Gators vs. Farrell at Upper St. Clair High School, 6:30 p.m.
Laurel Highlands Fillies vs. Hempfield at Ringgold High School, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 18
Geibel Gators vs. Duquesne at Monessen High School, 8 p.m.