Tuesday's WPIAL semifinals were games for the ages

Written by Mike White on .

The four WPIAL boys semifinals played Tuesday night were all thrillers as all four games went to the final buzzer. As a group, those games made WPIAL history.

Since the WPIAL went to four classifications in the 1983-84 season, neither the Class AAA semifinals nor the Class A semifinals have had games that were so close.

The two Class AAAA games were decided by a total of four points. Highlands defeated No. 1 seed New Castle, 79-76, in overtime. Beaver Falls edged Mars, 59-58. (Pictured is Beaver Falls' Josh Creach against Mars' John Castello.)

The two Class A games were decided by a total of three points. Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic defeated Monessen, 79-77, in overtime. Sewickley Academy beat Jeannette, 69-68.

So it was four games decided by a total of seven points. Wow! Great stuff.

Since the 1983-84 season, the next closest Class AAA semifinals were in 1984 when the games were decided by six points. Beaver Falls defeated Aliquippa, 62-57, and Sto-Rox edged Freedom, 50-49. In 1985, the semifinals were decided by seven points when Beaver Falls beat Aliquippa, 74-73, and Ellwood City beat Deer Lakes, 77-71.

The closest Class A semifinals before this year were in 2007 when they were decided by six points. California beat Clairton, 68-63, and Leechburg beat Serra, 56-55. The 2006 semis were decided by seven points when Clairton beat Serra, 60-55, and Duquesne edged Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 59-57.

We can only hope the championships are just as good.

TV games

FYI: There will be no live TV for the WPIAL championships, but Comcast Xfinity will again show the games "On Demand," starting a day or two later.

Boy-girl winners

Three schools still have a chance to win both boys and girls championships. They are Bishop Canevin, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and Greensburg Central Catholic.

The Bishop Canevin girls and Greensburg Central Catholic girls have both advanced to the finals and play for the Class AA title Friday. Their boys teams play in semifinal games tonight.

The Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic boys have advanced to the title game and the girls team plays in the semifinals tonight.

In the history of the WPIAL, a school has won a boys and girls title in the same year only 13 times. The first was Beaver Falls in 1985. But it has happened four times in the past seven years - North Catholic (2009), Mt. Lebanon (2010), Vincentian (2013) and Seton-LaSalle (2014).

Check this out

*** The Griggs family in Hampton could have two daughters playing for WPIAL championships - on different teams.

Seem strange? Maybe. But Lexi Griggs transferred from Hampton to Vincentian before the 2014-15 season (her junior year). She was Hampton's leading scorer as a sophomore. But while Lexi left, her sister, Aaryn, stayed at Hampton. Aaryn is a junior who scored 10 points in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

Both Vincentian and Hampton play in semifinal games tonight.

**** Gotta hand it to P-G colleague's Paul Zeise's kids. They have the best directions to get to championship games.

Elijah Zeise, now a receiver at Pitt, played in WPIAL title games as a football player at North Allegheny. Brother, Isaiah, played in the WPIAL Class AAAA boys basketball title game last year for North Allegheny.

Now, sister, Hailey, is in a title game. Hailey (pictured) scored 23 points for the North Allegheny girls in a semifinal victory against Penn Hills Tuesday. NA will play defending champ Norwin Saturday at 7 at the Pete.

**** Mars' Robby Carmody missed a free throw that would've sent the WPIAL Class AAA semifinal against Beaver Falls into overtime. He also didn't shoot well or finish off drives. Not one of his best games, but it's one game. I still really like the kid's game and understand why he already has more than a half dozen offers from major colleges.

**** Let's play what if?

What if the Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and Vincentian girls teams both win tonight and meet in the title game? That would mean either North Catholic coach Molly Rottman or Vincentian coach Ron Moncrief would move into sole possession of fourth place on the list of most titles by a girls coach. Rottman and Moncrief are tied with former coaches George Bortz of Geibel and Ernie Koontz of Upper St. Clair with five titles.

North Catholic's Don Barth is first with 11 championships, followed by Penn Hills' Bill Lind and Mount Alvernia's De Proucznik with eight each.


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