What to watch in WPIAL sports March 18, 2023: New Castle, Reading to meet for first time in state playoffs


Friday, March 17, 2023 | 11:54 p.m

Two state basketball powers will meet for the first time in the PIAA postseason on Saturday afternoon when New Castle takes on District 3 champion Reading.

The Red Hurricane look for their 50th all-time state playoff win (49-24) when they meet the Red Knights in Altoona at 2 p.m.

With all of its wins, New Castle has just one PIAA tournament win against a District 3 opponent.

That happened last year when the Canes beat Northeastern York in the first round 63-50.

New Castle was 0-2 against D-3 teams in the postseason before this win.

They lost to Harrisburg in the 1998 Class 4A state championship game, 69-53, and fell to Bishop McDevitt in the 2016 quarterfinals, 77-68.

Co-champions clash

One was co-champion in Section 1-3A, the other shared the title in Section 3-3A.

Now they square off, one step away from the PIAA Final Four.

Neshannock (20-7) is riding six- and seven-game winning streaks this season. After falling to defending district champion Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the WPIAL semifinals, 53-50, the Lancers won their first two state playoff games by a combined six points over Oil City and Brookville.

Deer Lakes (19-8) defeated OLSH to win its first WPIAL championship two weeks ago and eliminated Seneca and Loyalsock Township to extend its postseason winning streak to six games.

The teams meet at North Allegheny at noon in the PIAA 3A quarterfinals.

Finally they meet

When the WPIAL playoff brackets were announced in mid-February, Aliquippa was the top seed and defending champion Bishop Canevin was the No. 2 seed.

The clash between the Section 1-2A and Section 2-2A champions never materialized in the district playoffs as BC lost to Northgate in the semifinals 63-54.

However, after two wins in the state playoffs, we finally get a matchup between the Quips and the Crusaders in Peters Township at 1:30 p.m.

Eagles vs. Tigers: Take 4

The McKeesport girls basketball program is enjoying an incredible season, winning 23 of 28 games.

However, the Tigers lack district gold and a section crown to show for all their success thanks to one team, Section 3-5A vs. Oakland Catholic (24-4).

The Tigers lost both of their sectional games to the Eagles and finished two games behind them in the standings.

The third time wasn’t a charm for McKeesport as they again lost to Oakland Catholic in the WPIAL semifinals, 58-51.

The fourth meeting of the year between the two 5A powerhouses takes place in Peters Township at noon.

In the other 5A girls quarterfinal game on the “west” side of the bracket Saturday, WPIAL champion South Fayette (26-2) will battle District 10 champion Erie Cathedral Prep in Sharon at 1 p.m.

WPIAL Finalists vs. District Champions

The two finalists in the WPIAL 4A girls basketball playoffs are still alive and heading to the state quarterfinals.

Now they face a pair of district champions.

District 7 winner North Catholic (24-3) will take its 18-game winning streak into Saturday’s game against District 3 champion Wyomissing (28-2) at Bald Eagle at 2 p.m.

WPIAL runner-up Blackhawk (23-4) faces District 10 champion Fairview (21-8) in Sharon at 2:30 p.m.

Blackhawk and Camp Hill Trinity are the only teams left in 4A that have not won their district championship.

District champions survive

Only the district champions remain on the west side of the state bracket in the Class A girls basketball playoffs.

It will be WPIAL vs. District 6 and District 5 vs. District 9.

Union (20-6) is the only District 7 team left in the bracket. The WPIAL champions defeated a pair of District 9 teams in Clarion and Elk County Catholic.

The Scots defended, allowing a combined 44 points in the two wins.

They will face a Williamsburg (28-1) team that defeated St. Joseph of the WPIAL in the first round by 46 points.

The match is played at Armstrong from 1:00 p.m

The other game has Berlin-Brothersvalley out of D-5 against Otto-Eldred of D-9.

Final swim

Saturday marks the final day of the 2023 PIAA Class 3A Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell University.

Saturday will begin with five preliminary races beginning 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 boys diving championship is set for 12:35 p.m

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