After two-plus months of regular-season play, the WPIAL basketball playoffs begin Friday. A total of 15 boys’ teams from the North area have advanced to the postseason. The playoffs conclude with championship games March 1-2 at Duquesne University’s Palumbo Center.
Here’s a look at where the Road to Palumbo will start for all of the participating North area teams.
Only four teams advanced from each section in Class AAAA, making this the only class with no preliminary-round games. New Castle won the Section 3 title, but section foes North Allegheny, Hampton and Seneca Valley all have what it takes to make a lengthy playoff run. North Allegheny (19-3) is the No. 2 seed and will play No. 15 Canon-McMillan (11-11) Wednesday. No. 3 Hampton (18-4) will be in action Saturday against No. 14 Mt. Lebanon (10-12) at North Allegheny. No. 12 Seneca Valley (15-7) opens up against No. 5 Central Catholic (16-5) Saturday at North Hills. Fox Chapel (16-6) is the No. 10 seed and will take on No. 7 Hempfield (17-5) Wednesday.
Mars is fresh of its first section title since 1987 and just the second in school history. The Section 1 champion Planets (19-3) are the No. 3 seed and will square off against the South Park (12-9)/Steel Valley (12-8) winner Tuesday. Knoch (11-11) opens up with a preliminary-round contest against Mount Pleasant (13-9) Friday at Highlands.
Section 1 co-champion Deer Lakes is having one of the best seasons in school history. The Lancers can call themselves section champions for the first time since 1992 and only the third time ever. The Lancers (16-6) are set to face Shady Side Academy (8-14) in a preliminary-round game Saturday at North Hills. Quaker Valley (18-4) is the No. 6 seed and will play Wednesday against the Riverside (14-8)/West Shamokin (11-10) winner. Avonworth and Northgate both play preliminary-round games Saturday. Avonworth (13-9) will face Aliquippa (9-13) at North Allegheny, while Northgate (13-9) takes on Brownsville (16-5) at Baldwin.
Vincentian Academy is the Section 2 champion and earned the No. 2 seed. The Royals (21-1) play No. 15 Western Beaver (6-14) Friday at West Allegheny. Section 2 rival North Catholic (14-5) is the No. 3 seed and will play No. 14 Rochester (7-15) Friday at North Allegheny. No. 10 Sewickley Academy (8-12) will square off against No. 7 Monessen (9-13) Friday at Keystone Oaks. No. 12 St. Joseph (9-13) will take on No. 5 Clairton (13-6) Friday at Chartiers Valley.