The WPIAL basketball championships are tomorrow and Saturday at Duquesne's Palumbo Center and everywhere you look there are bloodline storylines.
Let me apologize ahead of time if I miss any father-son or family stories involving the championships, but let's start with father-son teams. There are three head coaches whose sons play for them. In the Class AAA title game, there is Chartiers Valley's Tim McConnell, whose son, Matty (pictured), is a starting junior guard and the team's leading scorer. Tim McConnell is trying to win a second title with a son. In 2010, his oldest son, T.J., was the star guard for Char Valley when it beat Hampton for the title.
In the Class AAAA final, there is Hampton coach Joe Lafko, whose son, Joe, is a starting junior guard for the Talbots.
In the Class AA championship, there is Greensburg Central Catholic coach Greg Bisignani, whose son, Colin, is a starting senior center.
But there are more father-son teams in the title games. Anthony Richards is the all-time leading 3-point shooter at New Castle, which plays Hampton in the Class AAAA final. Richards' father, Dave, is a New Castle assistant.
New Castle also has guard Robert Natale, whose father, Bob, is a New Castle assistant.
In Class A, Lincoln Park's Maverick Rowan is averaging 32 points in three playoff games. His father, Ron, is a Lincoln Park assistant. Ron Rowan played at St. John's and Notre Dame and briefly in the NBA. He had a long professional career overseas. The "throwback" photo is of Ron during his college days.
And how about the father-son team coaching the South Park girls? Reggie Wells (pictured) is South Park's head coach and his son, Reggie Jr., is one of his assistants. The two six next to each other on the bench. Like I've said before, if anything "goes down" at Palumbo this weekend, I'm aligning myself with the South Park bench. Dad Reggie is a former state policeman and son Reggie a former NFL offensive lineman.
No, how about the family ties in these championships? They're everywhere. Here are some of them (again we apologize if we missed anyone):
***** Seton-LaSalle boys coach Mark Walsh has guided his team to the Class AA title game. His niece, Cassidy Walsh, is a starting guard for the Seton-LaSalle girls team. Their two families live next to each other.
And I have to mention this again about the Walsh boys. Mark Walsh is known to everyone as "Knobby." Cassidy's father, Kevin, also is known as Knobby. So is Danny Walsh, Mark and Kevin's brother. And the Walsh's father (Cassidy's grandfather) is known as Knobby.
As for Cassidy Walsh (pictured)? You can just call her Cass, thank you.
***** There are the Luther twins at Hampton (Ryan and Luther).
***** New Castle has the Allen twin brothers - Stew and Drew. Both have signed to play football in college. Stew will play at Duquesne and Drew at Robert Morris. The twins will play against each other because Duquesne and Robert Morris football teams are in the same conference.
***** Sisters Megan and Katie Sieg are two of the top players for the Serra girls team that will play in the Class A final.
***** Burrell girls coach Meghan Ziemianski has guided Burrell to a WPIAL title game for the first time in the program's history. Her brother, Zack, and her father, Mark, are her two assistants. Burrell is undefeated.
***** Jerrad Tuite is Matty McConnell's cousin and a standout point guard for Chartiers Valley.
***** Senior Monica Burns is the star player for Hempfield, averaging 20 points a game. Her freshman sister, Michelle, also plays for the Spartans and had 11 points in the quarterfinals against Bethel Park.