If there is any doubt about the strength of Section 2-AAA in girls basketball, then the WPIAL laid those sentiments to rest when the seedings for the WPIAL girls basketball tournament were announced on Tuesday night. Twenty teams qualified for the tournament, so preliminary-round games will be played on Saturday, with winners advancing to the first round which begins next Wednesday at sites to be determined.
Three of the top four Class AAA seeds (Blackhawk, Hopewell and Central Valley) play in Section 2-AAA, and await first-round rivals at sites to be determined next Wednesday. Preliminary-round games will be played on Saturday. The tournament's No. 3 seed is South Park (19-2), the champions of Section 5-AAA.
Blackhawk is the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Cougars enter the tournament with an overall record of 22-0 and won Section 2-AAA with a 12-0 record. They will meet the winner of Saturday's preliminary-round game between West Mifflin (9-12), which finished third in Section 4-AAA, and Kittanning (9-13), the third-place team from Section 1-AAA.
Section 2-AAA runner-up Hopewell (19-3) is the No. 2 seed. The Vikings await the winner of a preliminary-round game on Saturday between Keystone Oaks (13-8), the fourth-place team from Section 5-AAA, and Mt. Pleasant (10-12), the fourth-place team from Section 3-AAA.
Central Valley, the third-place team from Section 2-AAA, is the tournament's No. 4 seed and also enters the tournament next Wednesday. The Warriors (17-4) meet the winner of a preliminary-round game between South Fayette (14-7), the third-place team from Section 5-AAA, and Freeport (8-12), the No. 4 team from Section 1-AAA.
Ambridge (14-8), the No. 4 team from Section 2-AAA, meets Uniontown (17-2), the Section 3-AAA champion, in a first-round game at a site to be determined. Uniontown had a very solid season, winning its section with an 11-1 record.
The championship game will be played on Saturday March 2 at the A.J. Palumbo Center. The top six teams in the WPIAL tournament will advance to next month's PIAA Class AAA tournament.
No teams from the West are among the top four seeds, but plenty of teams will be participating in preliminary-round games of a tournament that features 24 teams. The top four seeds are defending WPIAL and PIAA Class AA state champions Seton-LaSalle, WPIAL Class AA finalist Bishop Canevin, Burrell and Deer Lakes.
In a preliminary-round game involving Beaver County teams, Beaver Falls (14-8), the Section 2-AA runner-up, meets South Side Beaver (7-14), the No. 4 team from Section 5-AA, at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Aliquippa High School.The winner of that game meets Greensburg Central Catholic (16-6), the Section 3-AA runner-up next Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (18-4), the No. 2 team from Section 6-AA, travels a short distance to Cornell High School to meet Rivervew (13-7), the No. 3 team from Section 3-AA. The winner of that game meets Deer Lakes (19-3), the No. 2 team from Section 1-AA and the tournament's No. 4 seed, next Tuesday in a first-round game.
Elsewhere, Riverside (14-8), the No. 3 team from Section 2-AA, travels to Keystone Oaks for a preliminary-round game against Springdale (11-11), the No. 4 team from Section 3-AA. The winner of that game meets McGuffey (19-2), the champions of Section 5-AA, in a first-round game next Tuesday.
Carlynton (13-8), which tied with Avonworth for third-place in Section 6-AA, meets Charleroi (15-6), the Section 5-AA runner-up, at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Chartiers Valley High School. The winner meets No. 3 seed Burrell (20-2), the Section 1-AA champions and No. 3 seed in the tournament next Tuesday.
Two more West region teams battle in a preliminary-round game when Beaver Area (16-4), the Section 6-AA champions, meet Chartiers-Houston (14-8), the No. 4 team from Section 4-AA, at 6:30 p.m. Friday at West Allegheny. The winner of that game plays Mohawk (16-6), the Section 2-AA champions next Tuesday.
Neshannock (11-11), the No. 4 team from Section 2-AA, travels to Highlands High for a 6:30 p.m. game on Friday against West Shamokin (12-10), which had a sub-.500 section record (4-6), but went 8-4 against out-of-section opponents. The winner of this game meets No. 2 seed Bishop Canevin (18-4) next Tuesday night.
The championship game will be played Friday March 1 at the A.J. Palumbo Center. The top seven teams will advance to next month's PIAA Class AA tournament.
Half of the first-round games in Class A will be played next Wednesday at sites to be determined. But four first-round games and two preliminary-round games will be played on Saturday. The tournament's top four seeds are defending WPIAL Class A champion Vincentian, Serra Catholic, North Catholic and Quigley.
In games of West regional interest, No. 4 seed Quigley Catholic (16-5), which won Section 1-A with a spotless 12-0 record, meets California High (14-7), the third-place team from Section 3-A, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Peters Township High. The winner of that game meets the winner of another game between Section 3-A champion Avella (13-8) and St. Joseph (10-12), which placed third in Section 2-A.
In another game of local interest, Cornell (11-10), the Section 1-A runner-up, meets Carmichaels in a first-round game at noon on Saturday at West Allegheny High School. The winner of that game meets the winner of another first-round game between North Catholic (13-9), the Section 2-A runner-up and No. 3 tournament seed, and Frazier (10-11), which tied for fourth place with Clairton in Section 4-A.
The other West region teams begin tournament play next Wednesday. Rochester (11-11), the No. 4 team from Section 1-A, takes on Monessen (9-12), the third-place team from Section 4-A. Union (11-10), the No. 3 team from Section 1-A, meets Winchester Thurston (12-8), the Section 4-A runner-up.
The championship game will be played on Saturday, March 2 at the A.J. Palumbo Center. The top five teams advance to next month's PIAA Class A tournament.