What to watch in WPIAL sports March 17, 2023: New Castle to meet PIAA foe


Friday, March 17, 2023 | 00:08 in the morning

In the four years from 2012-15, Cathedral Prep (23-3) owned the WPIAL and City League in the PIAA boys basketball playoffs.

In those four seasons, the Ramblers were 8-1 overall against Districts 7 and 8, with the lone loss coming in the 2013 Class 4A quarterfinals to New Castle, 80-70.

Since then, Cathedral Prep has come back down to earth against the D-7 and is just 1-2 against WPIAL teams in the state playoffs.

The Ramblers defeated New Castle in the 2021 Champions Only bracket, 52-50 in overtime.

Their season ended in 2017 with a 72-61 loss to Mars and in 2018 with a 45-42 loss to Trinity.

On Friday, the District 10 champions take on the WPIAL champions when they take on Penn Hills (23-3) in Sharon at 7 p.m.

This is the fourth time the Ramblers and Indians have faced each other in the PIAA basketball postseason.

Penn Hills won twice, beating Cathedral Prep in the 1987 first round, 65-64, and knocking off the Ramblers in the 1999 first round, 52-48.

ECP’s only win was in a semifinal game in 1994 when they beat the Indians 62-43.

The other 5A quarterfinal game on the “west” side of the bracket pits WPIAL runner-up Peters Township (24-4) against District 3 champion Exeter Township in Bold Eagle at 6 p.m.

Home cooking

The road to Hershey has become a road hardly traveled for WPIAL 4A boys champion Lincoln Park.

The Leopards were at home in the first round against WPIAL #7 South Allegheny in the schedule and won 80-63.

In the second round, Lincoln Park met WPIAL No. 4 seed Highlands at North Allegheny and prevailed 84-72.

Lincoln Park (27-1) now heads east … to Norwin to battle WPIAL No. 3 seed Laurel Highlands (24-3) at 7:30 p.m.

These powers met again over the holidays in the Central Valley Holliday Tournament, with the Leopards defeating the Mustangs, 70-66.

In the other quarterfinal in the west half of the bracket, Uniontown (22-5) will face North Catholic.

Four games?

Carlinton (19-7) had a fantastic boys basketball season, winning 19 games, reaching the WPIAL Final Four and now participating in the PIAA sweet 16.

However, the one puzzle the Cougars haven’t been able to solve is WPIAL champion Union (24-3).

Carlington lost seven games, three of them to Union.

The Scotties swept both Section 1-A regular season games, winning two sweeps by scores of 62-60 and 57-54.

When the teams battled in the district semifinals, it wasn’t as close as Union won big, 80-58.

Game #4 is Friday at North Allegheny at 7:30 p.m

It will be the nightcap of a Class A state meet at North Allegheny.

In the first game, it’s the WPIAL champion vs. District 10 winner as Imani Christian (20-6) takes on Farrell (22-4) at 6 p.m.

Looking to level the scores

After Upper St. Clair earned the top spot in the 6A playoffs by winning Section 2 and putting together an impressive resume, the debate over who should be the No. 2 seed began.

North Allegheny (22-5) and Norwin (23-4) were tied for the section crown and split their two regular-season meetings with each winning at home.

Norwin won by 21 points in early January, while North Allegheny prevailed by seven points in late January. Using the “what have you done for me lately” tiebreaker, the Tigers were #2 and the Knights were #3.

The rubber game came in the WPIAL semifinals when North Allegheny came back to defeat Norwin at Fox Chapel in a defensive battle, 38-36. NA would later defeat Upper St. Clair to win the district title.

Norwin now looks to even the score as the two meet again in Fox Chapel on Friday at 7:30 p.m., with a berth in the PIAA semifinals at stake.

District 7 runner-up Upper St. Clair (23-3) remains alive after two wins in the state playoffs and will mess with perfection on Friday. The Panthers take on District 3 champion Cedar Cliff (28-0) in Altoona at 6 p.m.

Strange twist

Four WPIAL 3A girls basketball teams survived the first round of the PIAA playoffs and advanced to the second round on Tuesday.

Two of them were winners and two saw their season end.

However, the interesting twist was that the two WPIAL finalists, Avonworth and Laurel, fell short.

In fact, the two teams that Avonworth beat in the quarterfinals and semifinals now advance to the third round of the state playoffs.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (21-7) will face District 6 runner-up Westmont-Hilltop (27-2) at 6 p.m. in the first game of a 3A girls doubleheader at Armstrong.

The second game pits Shady Side Academy (25-3) against District 6 champion River Valley (27-2) at 7:30 p.m.

Only two

After two rounds of the PIAA postseason, the WPIAL has just two live Class 2A girls basketball teams, and they will be split at one after facing each other.

Greensburg Central Catholic (23-5) will challenge WPIAL champion Shenango (24-4) at Fox Chapel at 6 p.m.

The winner will face the Kennedy Catholic/Bishop McCort winner in Monday’s semifinals.

3A condition splashes

Friday marked the first of two days for Class 3A swimmers and divers at the 2023 PIAA Championships at Bucknell University.

Friday will consist of six preliminaries starting at 8:10 a.m. for the 3A girls and 10:45 a.m. for the 3A boys.

Consolations and finals in these events will be held from 15:25 for the girls and 18:05 for the boys.

The 3A girls diving championship is set for 12:35 p.m

Tags: Avonworth, Carlynton, Greensburg CC, Laurel Highlands, Lincoln Park, North Allegheny, North Catholic, Norwin, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Penn Hills, Shady Side Academy, Shenango, Union, Uniontown, Upper St. Clair

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