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WPIAL basketball playoff capsules

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011

Friday's games

Boys

Class AAA

Preliminary round

Valley (13-9) vs. West Allegheny (12-10)

8 p.m., North Allegheny

Winner plays: No. 2 West Mifflin (20-2)

About Valley: The Vikings enter the postseason for the first time under coach Anthony Cheatham, but this will be their seventh appearance in the past eight seasons. ... Senior guard Geoff Fuquay is one of the top scorers in Class AAA at 24.9 ppg.

About West Allegheny: The Indians lost only four seniors from a team that reached the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals last year. ... They have won three straight, averaging 67.7 ppg in that stretch. ... Valley and West Allegheny have wins over Class AAAA Plum.

Class A

Preliminary round

Leechburg (9-11) vs. Jefferson-Morgan (6-16)

6:30 p.m., at Yough

Winner plays: No. 1 Rochester (18-3)

About Leechburg: An upset of No. 4-ranked Serra Catholic on Feb. 8 helped validate a playoff appearance for the Blue Devils, who won the WPIAL title in 2007. ... Leechburg also has wins over playoff teams Quigley and Geibel.

About Jefferson-Morgan: An 0-7 start to the season didn't bolster the playoff hopes of fans, but the Rockets rallied to finish 5-5 in Section 3-A and qualify. Jefferson-Morgan averages just 38.2 points per game while allowing 57.

First round

No. 6 seed St. Joseph (19-3) vs. No. 11 Avella (12-9)

8 p.m., at South Fayette

Winner plays: No. 3 Lincoln Park (14-6)/No. 14 Quigley (10-12) winner.

About St. Joseph: The Spartans, in the playoffs for the ninth straight season, had one of their finest regular seasons, scoring 80 or more points nine times and tying for the Section 4-A title. ... Senior 6-foot-3 guard Brian Heinle leads Class A in scoring at 24.8 ppg. ... St. Joseph was 12-2 at home this season and 7-1 on the road.

About Avella: The Section 3-A champs have a double-digit loss to Geibel, a team St. Joseph handled twice in section play.

Girls

Class AAAA

First round

No. 15 Fox Chapel (11-11) vs. No. 2 Shaler (20-2)

8 p.m., at Hampton

Winner plays: No. 7 Penn-Trafford (18-3)/No. 10 Woodland Hills (12-9) winner.

About Fox Chapel: Led by rising 6-3 freshman forward Erin Mathias and steady guard play from senior Lindsey McKamish, the young Foxes finished tied for third in competitive Section 2.

About Shaler: The Section 3-champion Titans are highlighted by talented 6-foot senior forward Val McQuade, a Niagara recruit who averages a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds). ... Shaler has won 14 straight.

No. 12 Plum (12-9) vs. No. 5 Baldwin (16-5)

6:30 p.m., at North Allegheny

Winner plays: No. 4 Oakland Catholic (14-8)/No. 13 Upper St. Clair (9-12)

About Plum: Plum won three of its final five Section 2 games to get into the postseason. ... A young team, the Mustangs have only two seniors on the roster and get key contributions from 6-2 senior center Lindsey Deemer.

About Baldwin: Baldwin, the returning WPIAL runner-up, is fueled heavily by the play of senior guard Belma Nurkic, a Duquesne recruit who averages 18.9 points per game.

Class AA

Preliminary round

Freeport (12-9) vs. Neshannock (15-7)

6:30 p.m., at Hampton

Winner plays: No. 4 Bishop Canevin (18-4).

About Freeport: Freeport is in the playoffs for the second time in coach Bill Burkart's four seasons. ... The Yellowjackets started the season 0-3 but only had one stretch, in early January, where they lost two games in a row.

About Neshannock: Neshannock started the season 6-0 but lost five of its final eight games and settled for third in tough Section 2. ... A pair of players average double figures: Erica Warvell (16 ppg) and Chelsea Kauffman (15 ppg).

Ford City (16-6) vs. Quaker Valley (14-8)

6:30 p.m., at Northgate

Winner plays: No. 2 Riverside (19-3)

About Ford City: Coach Al Davis' program has been a model of consistency having made the playoffs 16 consecutive seasons. ... The Sabers made the semifinals in 2008, when the current seniors were freshmen. ... Ford City is one of four teams from Section 1 that allowed fewer than 40 points per game.

About Quaker Valley: The Quakers, who tied for third in Section 6, upset No. 2-ranked Deer Lakes on the final night of the regular season, 44-35.

Springdale (10-12) vs. Beaver Falls (16-6)

6:30 p.m., at Ambridge

Winner plays: No. 7 Charleroi (20-1)

About Springdale: The injury-hampered Dynamos are in the playoffs for the second straight time. They lost, 34-29, to Washington, in the preliminary round last season and entered that game 10-10.

About Beaver Falls: A well-tested Tigers team owns a pair of wins over Class AAA playoff teams Hopewell and Highlands, and Class AAAA Seneca Valley.

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