Some items that fell off my laptop
The crowd for tomorrow night's Beaver Falls vs. New Castle game is expected to be large. In fact, big enough that it forced the WPIAL to change a game site.
The WPIAL announced this morning that the Beaver Falls-New Castle contest in the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals will be played as a single game at Geneva College, starting at 7 p.m. Also, Geneva College officials said that only a limited number of tickets would be available at the gate tomorrow night. Maybe a couple hundred at most.
The WPIAL originally scheduled the game as part of a doubleheader at Geneva, starting at 6 p.m. The second game was supposed to be a girls matchup between Carlynton and Seton-LaSalle. But WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said the presale for tickets was so good at New Castle and Beaver Falls that the league thought it would be best to move the girls game to a different site. Geneva said capacity will be about 2,800.
So, the Seton-LaSalle vs. Carlynton game has been moved to West Allegheny as the third game of a tripleheader. The first two games will be "play-in" games for the PIAA playoffs. Those games will be at 5 p.m. and 6:30.
Forget the good seats
The WPIAL basketball championships will be Saturday at Petersen Events Center. But if you're a fan, you can forget about sitting on the first level.
According to O'Malley, Pitt will not open the first-level seats where the "Zoo" student section sits for Pitt games. The first level on the other side of the court is private boxes. So that means there will be no first-level seating for any fans. That's terrible.
I addressed the situation on this blog a few wees ago, hoping things wouldn't be the same as when the WPIAL played championship games at the "Pete" once before (2006). Pitt did the same thing that year. It pushed back the first-level seats. It was like a cavern on that side of the court. It takes away a lot of the atmosphere.
The City League championships were played at the "Pete" on Saturday. The lower-level seats again were not available. I talked to someone who was there. They said it was like an empty feeling on the court.
O'Malley said it's Pitt's decision not to open the lower-level seats. O'Malley said Pitt's reasoning is who do they allow to sit in those lower-level seats? How do they separate students from different schools who want to sit in the lower-level seats?
This isn't seating science. How about this: You don't let student sections sit in those lower-level seats. They sit in either the end zone or on the second level on the side of the court. For years, there was no problem putting the student sections in the end zone at Palumbo. You couldn't do the same at the "Pete?"
And Pitt says it has a predicament on what fans should be allowed to sit in that lower level? C'mon, man. Here's a novel idea: Maybe the fans who come first and want to sit in the lower level should be allowed, no matter who they are. Is that really complicated?
It worked fine at Palumbo. That place has lower-level seating on both sides and it was never a problem. Who sat there? Anybody who wanted. First come, first serve. So what if there were fans from competing schools mixed in the lower-level seats at the Pete.
Sorry, but any explanation of this doesn't hold up. It doesn't make sense. You offer to host the championships and don't let anyone sit in the best seats.
This and that
**** It's that time of year when the subject of players of the year comes up. I think it's pretty easy. For boys basketball, it's a two-horse race between Chartiers Valley's Matt McConnell and Hempfield's Kason Harrell. Who knows? Maybe they will meet in the championship. There is a possibility of that.
For the girls, I think it's also a two-horse race between Vincentian's Brenna Wise and Blackhawk's Chassidy Omogrosso.
**** Here's a good trivia question: Can you name a coach who has taken four different teams to the WPIAL semifinals? I've got one: Mark Jula.
Jula has Ambridge in the semifinals. In his career, he also took Moon, Butler and North Allegheny to the semifinals. He took Butler and North Allegheny to title games and won one championship with Butler.
Ambridge hasn't made it to the championship game since 1984.
**** North Hills plays Mt. Lebanon tonight in a quarterfinal game. Mt. Lebanon is trying to make the semifinals for the seventh time since 2002 and for the 16th time in school history. North Hills is trying to make the semifinals for only the third time in school history.
**** Turning to football, there has been a change in the Pennsylvania roster for the Big 33. Record-setting quarterback Ben DiNucci of Pine-Richland has elected not to participate in the game. DiNucci is a Pitt recruit. DiNucci's spot will be taken by West Allegheny quarterback Andrew Koester, a St. Francis, Pa., recruit.