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Everything is on for WPIAL ..... Back to Geneva College ..... Quarterfinal predictions

Written by Mike White on .

A number of schools in Western Pennsylvania are off today because of the weather, but everything is on as scheduled for the WPIAL in terms of basketball playoffs, and swimming and wrestling championships.

WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said this morning that there are no postponements in anything scheduled for today or tonight. The only change was that the WPIAL pushed back the start of the WPIAL swimming championships at Pitt for a few hours. But the league already decided that yesterday.

With everything on as scheduled, Geneva College will host a playoff basketball for what is believed to be the first time in 23 years.

In one of the top games tonight, Hampton will play New Castle at Geneva at 6:30 in a Class AAA quarterfinal. This is the 11th meeting between the two in the past four seasons. I will be at Geneva to cover the game. The funny thing is I was also at the last playoff game at Geneva - and it was a memorable one.

It was March 20, 1992 and Blackhawk met Beaver Falls in a PIAA Class AAA quarterfinal. It was the fourth time that season that the two played and Blackhawk had won the first three. I remember the game well because Sean Miller watched the game with me in an area for the media. He was there to watch his father, John, the legendary Blackhawk coach. 

I also seem to remember some strange events in the game. Upon checking archives, it was indeed a strange game. The start was delayed 15 minutes because the lights went out. It was delayed another 18 minutes in the third quarter because the scoreboards went out. 

Blackhawk prevailed, 61-60. I remember the technical Blackhawk star Dante Calabria received for taunting. But it was an outstanding game. Blackhawk fell behind in the fourth quarter but came back to win as Calabria scored 18 and Hal Koenemund 17. Scott Weaver hit a free throw with 10 seconds left to give Blackhawk a 61-57 lead. Troy Nesmith hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Beaver Falls.

That was a great Blackhawk team. The Cougars lost only once that season in the season opener to Dunbar (Md.), ranked the No. 1 team in the country at the time. Blackhawk wouldn't lose again that season, capturing a state title.

Predictions

Here are predictions for the WPIAL boys and girls quarterfinals and City League championships, played tonight and tomorrow.

BOYS

CLASS AAAA - Hempfield over Fox Chapel (Pine-Richland couldn't score against Fox Chapel, but Hempfield's Kason Harrell is a big scorer); North Allegheny over Bethel Park (but I think Bethel Park has a real shot at knocking off the No. 1 seed); Mt. Lebanon over North Hills (yes, I have a son who is a North Hills assistant. So picking would North Hills would make me a "homer," right?.); Chartiers Valley over Upper St. Clair.

CLASS AAA - New Castle over Hampton (the winner is the team that shoots 3-pointers better); Mars over Ambridge (could be close); Indiana over Highlands; Beaver Falls over South Fayette.

CLASS AA - Lincoln Park over Quaker Valley; Neshannock over Greensburg Central Catholic (a tossup game); Seton-LaSalle over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (but OLSH is my sleeper team in Class AA and an OLSH win wouldn't be surprising); Aliquippa over Bishop Canevin.

CLASS A - Sewickley Academy over Eden Christian; Monessen over California (Monessen has blown out California twice this season, and this one will be in double figures also); Vincentian over Cornell (Cornell needs more than just a big game from Dane Jackson); Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic over Jeannette.

CITY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP - Allderdice over Obama.

GIRLS

CLASS AAAA - Penn-Trafford over Penn Hills (but Penn Hills has been playing so well lately); Bethel Park over Pine-Richland (isn't it about time Jonna Burke is recognized as one of the WPIAL's best coaches?); North Allegheny over Baldwin; Norwin over Shaler.

CLASS AAA - Blackhawk over Trinity; Chartiers Valley over Beaver; South Fayette over South Park; Elizabeth Forward over McGuffey.

CLASS AA - Seton-LaSalle over Neshannock; Our Lady of the Sacred Heart over Carlynton; Burrell over Chartiers-Houston; Greensburg Central Catholic over Bishop Canevin.

CLASS A - Vincentian over Imani Christian; Quigley over Serra; Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic over Jefferson-Morgan; California over Riverview.

CITY LEAGUE - Obama over Allderdice.

VARSITY XTRA SHOW

Yours truly and colleague Terry Shields talk about the quarterfinals and a few other subjects in this week's Varsity Xtra show.

 

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Ambridge's Carter has a memorable game with 42 points in playoff win

Written by Mike White on .

Ambridge's Daylon Carter had one of the best scoring performances in WPIAL Class AAA playoff history tonight.

Carter, a senior forward, poured in 42 points as Ambridge defeated Uniontown, 84-69, in a first-round game at Canon-McMillan.

Carter's 42 points were the fifth-highest all-time in a Class AAA postseason game. And some big names are among the other players who scored 40 in a Class AAA game. (Carter is pictured in a game against Penn Hills earlier this season)

The most points scored in a Class AAA game is 48, by Marc Marotta of Central Catholic in 1980. Marotta went on to play at Marquette. Belle Vernon's Cam Totedo scored 45 in 2000. Both of those performances came in overtime.

T.J. McConnell of Chartiers Valley is next with 44 against Indiana in 2010. McConnell is the point guard now at the University of Arizona. Laurel Highlands' Kaled Ramsey scored 43 in 2007. He went on to play football at Boston College.

The only other player to score 40 or more in a Class AAA playoff game is Yough's Ben McCauley, who had 41 in 2003. McCauley went on to have a nice career at North Carolina State.

 

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Former Steeler Gildon hired as new North Catholic coach

Written by Mike White on .

Former Steeler Jason Gildon was one of the finalists for the vacant Seneca Valley coaching job last month, but Hopewell coach Dave Vestal was selected.

No problem. Gildon simply went a little farther down I-79 South to land his first head coach's job.

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic in Cranberry today named Gildon as its new coach. He takes over for Bob Ravenstahl, who resigned after last season. 

Gildon played for the Steelers from 1994-2003 and Jacksonville in 2004. He has been an assistant coach at Seneca Valley for the past three seasons under Don Holl, who also was a finalist for the North Catholic job. Gildon also was an assistant coach at Peters Township for one season in 2012 before coming to Seneca Valley.

Jason GildonThe picture of Gildon is from 2013 when he was a Seneca Valley assistant. Geez, it looks like he might be able to still play, doesn't it? Gildon was a three-time Pro Bowler and is the Steelers all-time leader in sacks.

He certainly isn't the first former Steeler to coach in the WPIAL. Over the years, a number of Steelers have coached at WPIAL schools as assistant coaches, and a few as a head coach. Ted Petersen is one who comes to mind right away. He coached at Trinity. Eric Ravotti, a former Steelers linebacker, coached Fox Chapel the past four years before resigning.

Gildon lives in Wexford with his wife and four sons, ages 6 to 19. At North Catholic, he will take over a program with expectations. North Catholic won WPIAL and PIAA Class A championships in 2013. Last season, the Trojans' only loss came in the WPIAL semifinals.

North Catholic's enrollment went up considerably this school year after the new school was built in Cranberry. The PIAA uses new enrollment cutoffs for classifications every two years. The next time will be for the 2016-17 school year and North Catholic is expected to be in Class AA. Could the Trojans someday be in Class AAA?

It will be interesting to see how North Catholic's team does under Gildon as the school continues to grow.

 

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State boys and girls basketball rankings

Written by Mike White on .

The boys and girls state basketball rankings are below. But before we get to that, one little piece of basketball news.

The WPIAL board of directors yesterday approved sectional alignments next year for boys and girls basketball. There were only a few changes and mainly because Ford City and Kittanning are closing to form Armstrong High School.

In boys, Armstrong will be in Class AAAA Section 2, along with other teams from the eastern suburbs. Also, Summit Academy will move from Class AA Section 1 to Section 2 to take Ford City's place.

In girls, Armstrong will be in AAAA Section 2. Indiana moves from Section 3 to Section 1. Lincoln Park will have a girls team in the WPIAL next season and will play in Class AAA Section 2. Also, Propel Andrew Street will join in girls basketball and compete in Section 4 of Class A.

Finally, Aquinas Academy will not have a boys team next year.

Now onto Pennlive.com's state rankings.

BOYS

 

CLASS AAAA

No.  School                                            Rec    Pvs

1.     Roman Catholic (12)                     21-2       1

2.     Martin Luther King (12)                19-6       2                           

3.     LaSalle College (12)                      18-5       4

4.     Parkland (11)                                 24-1       5

5.     Abington (1)                                   22-3       6

6.     St. Joseph’s Prep* (12)                   18-5       3

7.     Pennsbury (1)                                 20-5       7

8.     North Allegheny (7)                       21-2      10                               

9.     Allderdice (8)                                 20-2        9

10.   York (3)                                          21-4     OW

Others to watch: Abington Heights (2) 19-3, Academy Park (1) 17-6, Allentown Allen (11) 17-7, Archbishop Wood* (12) 18-6, Bethel Park (7) 16-7, Bethlehem Liberty (11) 18-7, Carlisle (3) 16-6, Cedar Cliff (3) 22-2, Cedar Crest (3) 23-2, Central York (3) 18-7, Chartiers Valley (7) 20-3, Chester (1) 14-9, Coatesville (1) 16-8, Conestoga (1) 21-3, Downingtown West (1) 21-4, George Washington (12) 19-6, Harrisburg (3) 17-7, Hazleton (2) 18-5, Hempfield (3) 15-7, Hempfield (7) 19-2, McCaskey (3) 19-7, McDowell (10) 16-6, Methacton (1) 22-3, Mount Lebanon (7) 17-5, Northeastern (3) 21-3, Pennridge (1) 21-3, Phoenixville (1) 18-6, Pine-Richland (7) 17-5, Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1) 21-2, Reading (3) 21-4, Ridley (1) 20-5, Stroudsburg (11) 19-5, Upper St. Clair (7) 17-6.

CLASS AAA

 No.  School                                             Rec     Pvs

1.     Neumann-Goretti (12)                   22-1         1

2.     Archbishop Carroll (12)                 18-5         2

3.     Imhotep Charter (12)                    17-8         3

4.     Susquehanna Twp. (3)                   17-5         4

5.     Scranton Prep (2)                           19-3         5

6.     Mars (7)                                         21-1         6

7.     Pottsville (11)                                 24-0         7

8.     Indiana (7)                                      20-2         8

9.     Beaver Falls (7)                              19-2         9

10.  West Mifflin (7)                               19-2      OW

Others to watch: Allentown Central Catholic (11) 14-9, Ambridge (7) 14-7, Berks Catholic (3) 15-9, Bishop McDevitt (3) 17-4, Cathedral Prep (10) 16-6, Cocalico (3) 16-7, Crestwood (2) 20-3, Del-Val Charter (12) 17-8, GAR Memorial (2) 18-4, Glen Mills (1) 16-6, Hampton (7) 18-4, Hollidaysburg (6) 15-7, Jersey Shore (4) 17-5, Lewisburg (4) 20-2, Lower Moreland (1) 23-1, Manheim Central (3) 22-2, Meadville (10) 20-2, Milton (4) 19-5, New Castle (7) 18-4, Octorara (1) 22-2, Pottsgrove (1) 18-6, Salisbury (11) 20-4, Shamokin (4) 17-7, Somerset (5) 19-3, South Fayette (7) 17-4, Steelton-Highspire (3) 18-5, Steel Valley (7) 14-7, Strong Vincent (10) 15-7, Tamaqua (11) 19-5, Uniontown (7) 18-4, West York (3) 17-6.

CLASS AA

 No.  School                                                  Rec    Pvs

1.     Aliquippa (7)                                        21-0        1

2.     Lincoln Park (7)                                    20-2        2

3.     Conwell-Egan (12)                                15-8       3

4.     Seton-La Salle (7)                                  20-2       5

5.     West Middlesex (10)                            19-3        6

6.     Greensburg Central Catholic (7)          19-2        7

7.     Loyalsock (4)                                         20-3        4

8.     Lancaster Mennonite (3)                      18-5        8                                       

9.     Fairview (10)                                         19-2        9

10.   Washington (7)                                     15-7     OW

Others to watch: Apollo-Ridge (7) 16-6, Bellwood-Antis (6) 17-6, Berlin Brothersvalley (5) 18-4, Bishop Canevin (7) 16-6, Blairsville (6) 18-4, Camp Hill (3) 17-4, Church Farm (1) 15-10, Danville (4) 17-5, Dunmore (2) 16-6, Hanover (3) 20-2, Holy Cross (2) 16-5, Holy Redeemer (2) 16-6, Mahanoy Area (11) 18-5, Meyers (2) 15-7, Mid Valley (2) 19-4, Minersville (11) 18-4, Mount Union (6) 18-4, Our Lady of Sacred Heart (7) 14-7, Penns Valley (6) 16-4, Quaker Valley (7) 17-5, Shady Side Academy (7) 16-7, Towanda (4) 20-4, Trinity (3) 15-7, Tyrone (6) 18-3, Universal Audenried (12) 15-3, Wellsboro (4) 17-5, West Branch (6) 18-3.

CLASS A

 No.  School                                                   Rec    Pvs

1.     Constitution (12)                                  18-7        1

2.     Farrell (10)                                          19-3         2

3.     Elk County Catholic (9)                        23-1        3

4.     Math, Civics & Sciences (12)               11-13      4

5.     Vincentian (7)                                      15-8         5

6.     Monessen (7)                                       16-6         6                                   

7.     Kennedy Catholic (10)                          18-4        7

8.     Ridgway (9)                                          21-3         8

9.     Bishop Carroll (6)                                 21-1         9

10.   Sewickley Academy (7)                        21-0       10

Others to watch: Cameron County (9) 21-2, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (7) 14-8, Clarion-Limestone (9) 20-3, Conemaugh Twp. (5) 15-8, Coudersport (9) 18-4, DuBois Central Catholic (9) 18-5, Erie First Christian (10) 16-6, Homer-Center (6) 20-2, Impact Academy (3) 9-8, Jeannette (7) 14-7, Lincoln Leadership Academy (11) 15-7, Mansfield (4) 19-5, Nativity (11) 14-8, Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg (11) 20-2, Phil-Mont Christian (1) 20-5, Plumstead Christian (1) 15-9, Portage (6) 17-5, Shanksville-Stonycreek (5) 22-1, Southern Fulton (5) 22-1, St. John Neumann (4) 22-1.

*-season complete

 

GIRLS

 

CLASS AAAA

1. Cumberland Valley (3) 23-1 — previously: 1

2. Central Bucks West (1) 24-1 — previously: 2

3. Penn-Trafford (7) 21-1 — previously: 3

4. North Allegheny (7) 20-2 — previously: 4

5. Boyertown (1) 25-0 — previously: 5

6. Central Dauphin East (3) 20-1 — previously: 6

7. Bethel Park (7) 18-4 — previously: 9

8. Abington (1) 21-4 — previously: 8

9. Mount St. Joseph (1) 22-2 — previously: HM

10. Palmyra (3) 21-3 — previously: 10

HONORABLE MENTION

Archbishop Carroll (12) 15-6, Bayard Rustin (1) 18-5, Bishop Shanahan (1) 22-3, Cardinal O’Hara (12) 18-5, Cedar Crest (3) 21-4, Central Bucks South (1) 17-5, Central Tech (10) 18-4, Dallastown (3) 18-6, Downingtown East (1) 19-6, Garnet Valley (1) 22-2, Governor Mifflin (3) 19-7, Hazleton (2) 18-3, Mechanicsburg (3) 20-2, McDowell (10) 15-7, Mount Lebanon (7) 13-9, Nazareth (11) 17-6, New Oxford (3) 17-6, North Penn (1) 18-6, Norwin (7) 18-4, Parkland (11) 15-8, Pine-Richland (7) 19-4, Pottsville (11) 19-4, Pittston (2) 19-3, Red Lion (3) 14-7, Shaler (7) 19-4, Spring-Ford (1) 15-8, State College (6) 15-7, Upper Dublin (1) 18-5, Warren (10) 19-2.

CLASS AAA

1. Blackhawk (7) 19-3 — previously: 1

2. Archbishop Wood (12) 20-3 — previously: 2

3. Bethlehem Catholic (11) 24-1 — previously: 3

4. Scranton Prep (2) 21-1 — previously: 4

5. Hickory (10) 21-0 — previously: 5

6. West York (3) 25-0 — previously: 7

7. Allentown Central Catholic (11) 23-2 — previously: 6

8. Mercyhurst Prep (10) 19-3 — previously: 8

9. Villa Maria (10) 17-5 — previously: 9

10. Indiana (7) 20-1 — previously: 10

HONORABLE MENTION

Ambridge (7) 17-5, Athens (4) 20-4, Beaver Area (7) 16-7, Berks Catholic (3) 20-4, Bonner-Prendergast (12) 13-9, Conrad Weiser (3) 17-7, Danville (4) 18-3, Donegal (3) 19-5, Elizabeth Forward (7) 17-5, Fleetwood (3) 15-7, Ford City (7) 18-3, Forest Hills (6) 18-2, Girard (10) 15-6, Greencastle-Antrim (3) 20-3, Gwynedd Mercy (1) 20-4, Hampton (7) 17-5, Honesdale (2) 18-4, Juniata (6) 21-3, Lancaster Catholic (3) 20-3, Mars (7) 18-4, McGuffey (7) 17-6, Mifflinburg (4) 19-3, Mount Pleasant (7) 15-7, Nanticoke (2) 19-3, Northwestern Lehigh (11) 16-9, North Pocono (2) 20-2, Pope John Paul II (1) 17-6, Saucon Valley (11) 15-7, Southern Lehigh (11) 18-3, Trinity (7) 16-6, West Perry (3) 20-3.

CLASS AA

1. Neumann-Goretti (12) 23-0 — previously: 1

2. Holy Redeemer (2) 21-1 — previously: 2

3. Greensburg Central Catholic (7) 18-2 — previously: 3

4. Burrell (7) 19-3 — previously: 4

5. Seton-La Salle (7) 15-7 — previously: 5

6. Dunmore (2) 19-3 — previously: 6

7. North Schuylkill (11) 21-2 — previously: 10

8. Delone Catholic (3) 20-5 — previously: 9

9. York Catholic (3) 20-5 — previously: 8

10. Minersville (11) 22-2 — previously: 7

HONORABLE MENTION

Bellwood-Antis (6) 22-1, Bishop McCort (6) 19-3, Camp Hill (3) 18-4, Carlynton (7) 17-5, Everett (5) 19-4, Franklin (10) 16-5, Harbor Creek (10) 15-6, Holy Cross (2) 15-6, Imhotep Charter (12) 18-4, Karns City (9) 20-3, Marian Catholic (11) 15-8, Mohawk (7) 16-5, Montoursville (4) 20-2, Mount Carmel (4) 19-2, Neshannock (7) 17-3, North Star (5) 21-2, Notre Dame (Green Pond) (11) 22-3, Our Lady of Sacred Heart (7) 18-3, Palmerton (11) 21-4, Salisbury (11) 17-6, Sharpsville (10) 18-4, St. Basil Academy (1) 15-8, Tyrone (6) 17-4, Westmont Hilltop (6) 15-7, Wyalusing Valley (4) 22-3.

CLASS A

1. Vincentian Academy (7) 22-1 — previously: 1

2. Kennedy Catholic (10) 20-1 — previously: 2

3. Blairsville (6) 20-2 — previously: 3

4. Port Allegany (9) 20-1 — previously: 4

5. Elk County Catholic (9) 24-0 — previously: 5

6. California (7) 21-1 — previously: 6

7. Bishop Guilfoyle (6) 18-4 — previously: 8

8. Pittsburgh Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (7) 17-5 — previously: 10

9. Faith Christian (1) 21-3 — previously: HM

10. Phil-Mont Christian (1) 21-3 — previously: 7

HONORABLE MENTION

Bishop Carroll (6) 15-5, Christian School of York (3) 18-6, Cochranton (10) 17-5, Harrisburg Christian (3) 21-4, Halifax (3) 16-8, Jefferson-Morgan (7) 20-2, Jenkintown (1) 15-6, Keystone (9) 19-3, Mansfield (4) 17-5, Millville (4) 17-5, Portage (6) 20-2, Quigley Catholic (7) 17-4, Serra Catholic (7) 13-7, Shade (5) 19-4, Shenandoah Valley (11) 19-4, Smethport (9) 17-4, Tussey Mountain (5) 19-3.

 

 

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Vincentian's Wise close to membership in 2,000-1,000 club

Written by Mike White on .

Vincentian girls basketball player Brenna Wise already has done plenty in her career. But she is about to enter another elite club.

Wise needs only seven rebounds to reach 1,000 for her career. That would put her as one of the select players in WPIAL history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds.

Brenna WiseWise (pictured) is a 6-foot-1 senior and a Pitt recruit who surpassed 2,000 points a few weeks ago. She could get her 1,000th rebound when Vincentian plays Imani Christian in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals Saturday at a site and time to be determined.

Think about it: Scoring 2,000 points and grabbing 1,000 rebounds is a terrific accomplishment, especially for someone like Wise, who plays guard much of the time. This year, she is averaging 18.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.5 blocks. She is shooting 60 percent from the field, 56 percent from 3-point range and 76 percent on free throws.

It is not known how many WPIAL players are part of the 2,000-1,000 club. But it's not many. Only 39 WPIAL players have scored 2,000 points and that list is filled with guards.

One of the WPIAL players with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds is a WPIAL legend. McKeesport's Swin Cash had 2,678 points and 1,782 rebounds. At least one other former WPIAL player had 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Albert Gallatin's Loui Hall had 2,440 points and 1,225 rebounds.

Wise already is a member of an elite club. She is one of only six players in WPIAL history to win a WPIAL title, a PIAA championship and also score 2,000 points.

Almost 40

The blog turns from Wise to Weiss.Sammie Weiss

McGuffey girls basketball player Sammie Weiss came close to joining elite company when she scored 39 points in the Highlanders' 68-44 victory against Deer Lakes in the first round of the WPIAL AAA playoffs Saturday.

Weiss, a senior guard, was one point away from becoming only the 11th girl in WPIAL history to score 40 points or more in a WPIAL playoff game. The last time it happened was 2001. That year, Steel Valley's Jess Strom scored 45 against Blackhawk, and Clairton's Kamela Gissendanner scored 44 against Mount Alvernia.

The WPIAL record for most points in a WPIAL playoff game is 56, by East Allegheny's Brooke Stewart against Geibel in 1997.

Weiss has more than 2,000 career points.

 

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