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Girls Basketball: Four solid teams advance to the WPIAL playoffs from Section 4-AAAA

Written by Joe Koch on .

With a final tune-up game taking place tonight for many girls basketball teams, thoughts will gravitate toward the WPIAL tournament that begins in all four classifications later this week.

It's the last time this playoff configuration will take place as schools will be placed in one of six classifications beginning with the next school year.

While that's an adjustment, what is certain this postseason as that there are four outstanding teams advancing to the tournament from Section 4-AAAA.

There's hardly any spread between the first- and fourth-place teams as Peters Township and Canon-McMillan have tied for the section title with matching records of 11-3. Bethel Park and Mt. Lebanon are right behind the two front-runners with matching records of 10-4.

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Girls Basketball: South Park, South Fayette head into playoffs as section champions

Written by Joe Koch on .

Both South Park and South Fayette high schools have enjoyed solid reputations as winning girls basketball programs.

Both schools hope to take their excellence as far as possible when the WPIAL Class AAA girls basketball tournament begins later this week.

South Fayette ran the table in Section 5-AAA with a 12-0 record. The Lions are 17-3 overall. Joining the Lions in the postseason are three other South-area teams: Trinity (10-2), Chartiers Valley (8-4) and Keystone Oaks (5-7). The Golden Eagles edged out Quaker Valley, 4-8, for the final qualifying spot.

South Park appeared headed for a perfect record, too, in Section 4-AAA. But that dream dissipated when the Eagles lost to runner-up Brownsville, 49-46, on Jan. 25. The Eagles, though, won their last four section games to finish with an 11-1 section record. Brownsville was 9-3 in section play. Ringgold (8-4) and Belle Vernon (4-8) secured the other trips to the postseason. Belle Vernon finished in a three-way tie for fourth place with West Mifflin and Elizabeth Forward. But the Leopards earned the playoff bid due to tiebreakers.

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Girls Basketball: Seton-LaSalle, Washington earn top Class AA honors in South

Written by Joe Koch on .

Seton-LaSalle had to claw its way back to the top in order to regain its familiar position as regular-season champions in Section 3-AA. To do that, the Rebels had to defeat Bishop Canevin, which found itself in a first-place tie with the Rebels going into the final night of section play this past Friday.

What happened was a gritty effort on the Rebels' part, and they emerged with a 44-38 victory over the Crusaders. The win gave them an 11-1 record and avenged an earlier 53-28 loss to Bishop Canevin on the Crusaders' floor on Jan. 11. Canevin finished section play at 10-2 and 18-4 overall. Their other section loss was a 41-36 loss to Chartiers-Houston on Jan. 25.

Since that setback to the Crusaders in the first game, the Rebels haven't lost. They've won nine games in a row and are 15-6 overall. Their latest victory was a regular-season ending 47-38 victory over Riverview this past Saturday in the Cancer Classic at Shady Side Academy. Joining the Rebels and the Crusaders in the postseason from Section 3-AA are Chartiers-Houston (8-4) and Brentwood (7-5).

Washington, meanwhile, forged a similar path to the top of Section 4-AA. The Little Prexies finished 11-1 overall, two games ahead of fellow qualifiers Charleroi and Frazier. Beth-Center grabbed the other qualifying spot with a break-even section record of 6-6.

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Girls Basketball: Jefferson-Morgan rockets way to Section 3-A title

Written by Joe Koch on .

It's hard to argue with the season the Jefferson-Morgan High girls basketball team has compiled. Winners of 20 of their 21 overall games, the Rockets earned the Section 3-A title with a stellar record of 14-0. They likely will be one of the top four seeds when the WPIAL reveals its pairings for the WPIAL Class A girls basketball tournament that begins later this week.

Joining Jefferson-Morgan in the postseason from its section are California, West Greene and Fort Cherry. California finished second at 12-2, and West Greene had a very solid season with a record of 10-4. At 7-7, Fort Cherry finished a game ahead of Avella for the last qualifying spot from the section.

Jefferson-Morgan has had a solid combination of offense and defense that put the Rockets in the postseason. They are averaging 54.9 points a game and giving up 31 points a game, the stingiest average in Class A.

California's Trojans are right with the Rockets defensively in that they are giving up 31.1 points a game. For offensive strength, though, West Greene's Pioneers are doing well with a 60.9 points per game average, the fourth-best in Class A.

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Photo Journal: Girls Basketball - Seton-LaSalle vs. Bishop Canevin (Feb. 5)

Written by Marilyn Schwilm on .

Bishop Canevin and Seton-LaSalle meet Friday, February 6, 2016 in a game that decides the first place position in WPIAL AA, section 3.  Seton-LaSalle won that postion defeating Bishop Canevin 44-38.

click here to see video highlights of the game

Photos by Marilyn Schwilm Tri-State Sports & News Service

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Photo Journal: Girls Basketball - Bishop Canevin at Seton-LaSalle (Feb. 5)

Written by Marilyn Schwilm on .

Bishop Canevin and Seton-LaSalle meet Friday, February 6, 2016 in a game that decides the first place position in WPIAL AA, section 3.  Seton-LaSalle won that postion defeating Bishop Canevin 44-38.

click here to see video highlights of the game

Photos by Marilyn Schwilm Tri-State Sports & News Service

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Alumni Update - Mitch Stahara (Westminster)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – The Westminster College men's and women's swimming & diving teams swept. TheStahara Westminster University of Mount Union in their final dual meet of the season on Senior Day.

The Titan men's team (9-2) won 174-109, while the Titan women's team (6-5) won 169.5-127.5. Both Mount Union teams dropped to 7-3 overall.

Westminster won a total of 21 events (12 for the men's team and nine for the women's), not including two events in which Westminster used exhibition swimmers.

The men's 400 medley relay team broke a 14-year-old pool record as it finished first with a time of 3:29.29. The quartet consisted of senior Austin Karper (Carlisle, PA / Carlisle), senior Matt Baurle,  sophomore Brad Kolesar, and sophomore Mitch Stahara.

Stahara, a Bethel Park graduate, also accounted for a team-high three individual wins as he won the 200 freestyle (1:45.38), the 100 freestyle (48.16), and the 500 freestyle (4:56.28).

 

(photo courtesy of Westminster College)

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Alumni Update - Kylie Cook (Westminster)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – The Westminster College women's basketball team lost 105-31 at No.1-rankedCook Westminster Thomas More College in a Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) contest Saturday afternoon.

Titan sophomore Kylie Cook, a Mount Lebanon graduate, scored a team-high 13 points.

 

(photo courtesy of Westminster College)

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Alumni Update - Addy Knetzer (Waynesburg)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

WAYNESBURG, Pa. – Despite another big game from sophomore forward Addy Knetzer, the Waynesburg UniversityKnetzer Waynesburg women's basketball team was unable to get past Grove City in Saturday's Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) showdown. The Yellow Jackets trailed by 13 at halftime and never recovered during the 70-49 defeat.

Knetzer, a Chartiers-Houston graduate, was the bright spot for Waynesburg in the loss, as she recorded her seventh double-double in her last eight games by posting game highs in both points (24) and rebounds (11).

 

(photo courtesy of Waynesburg University)

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Brad Everett's South High School Basketball Notebook (Feb. 5, 2016)

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett has this week's South High School Basketball Notebook.

"By definition, the word "trinity" means three.

The Trinity girls basketball team will certainly settle for two, though.

Coming into this week, the Hillers boasted two players – Sierra Kotchman and Mary Dunn – averaging better than 17 points per game. No other WPIAL or City League team could lay claim to that, as Trinity's terrific tandem could be the best in Class AAA.

"Without question. I would think so because of the numbers they're putting up," Trinty coach Bob Miles said."

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Girls Basketball: Coach's return sparks Canon-McMillan

Written by Ed Phillipps on .

Ed Phillipps profiles the Canon-McMillan girls basketball team.

2016 0205 CanonMcMillan GBasketball(Photo: Canon-McMillan's Cheyenne Trest tries to get around Peters Township's Ally Zuccarini in a game last Saturday. Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette)

"It's a pretty common narrative in sports: A key member of the team goes down and their return lifts the squad to new heights.

But the Canon-McMillan girls basketball team put a new twist on that familiar story line. It wasn't a player who went down early in the season, but rather first-year coach Lou Waller, who was hired Aug. 13.

Shortly before the season tipped off, Waller's lower intestine required an emergency surgery due to an obstruction. That put him in the hospital for nine days, and Waller would eventually miss the first 10 games of the season.

"It was extremely difficult," said Waller. "I credit my staff because we were all new. It wasn't like we had a routine from years past.""

 

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Basketball: Winning tradition continues for Mt. Lebanon grad

Written by Joe Bendel on .

Joe Bendel profiles Mt. Lebanon graduate Madison Cable, who is now a standout basketball player at Notre Dame.

"Baylor All-American Nina Davis was on her way to what appeared to be an uncontested layup in the Elite Eight of the 2015 NCAA women's tournament.

Madison Cable of Notre Dame had other ideas.

The Mt. Lebanon High School graduate went into Lebron James mode. She feverishly raced downcourt, launched skyward and swatted the attempt out of bounds.

It was a game-changer. Notre Dame would preserve its six-point lead with 5:40 remaining and advance to the Final Four. Davis had 24 points prior to the block. She scored once after."

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Basketball: Serra Catholic alum married to his job

Written by Joe Bendel on .

Joe Bendel profiles Serra Catholic graduate Marc Rozanski, who is now a college basketball coach.

"A combination of timing, serendipity and a progressive head coach launched Marc and Cassi Rozanski directly into college basketball's spotlight.

You can call them the First Couple of Division I hoops.

"It's different, for sure" said Marc Rozanski, a 2008 Serra Catholic High School graduate. "This is definitely something you don't see often."

Marc and Cassi are husband and wife, married this past June. They are also staff members for the men's team at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley."

 

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Photo Journal: Boys Basketball - Steel Valley vs.Thomas Jefferson (Jan. 29)

Written by Marilyn Schwilm on .

The number one team in WPIAL AAA, Sec. 4, Steel Valley, hosts number two team in the same section, Thomas Jefferson, Friday, January 29, 2016.  Play was intense in this section rivalry, keeping it close in this high scoring game.  Steel Valley managed to stay on top despite a valiant effort from Thomas Jefferson, winning 75-70.

click here to see video highlights of the game

Photos by Marilyn C. Schwilm, Tri-State Sports & News Service

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Photo Journal: Boys Basketball - Thomas Jefferson at Steel Valley (Jan. 29)

Written by Marilyn Schwilm on .

The number one team in WPIAL AAA, Sec. 4, Steel Valley, hosts number two team in the same section, Thomas Jefferson, Friday, January 29, 2016.  Play was intense in this section rivalry, keeping it close in this high scoring game.  Steel Valley managed to stay on top despite a valiant effort from Thomas Jefferson, winning 75-70.

click here to see video highlights of the game

Photos by Marilyn C. Schwilm, Tri-State Sports & News Service

DSC 0043

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Hockey: Black Hawks closing in on securing another playoff bid

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Even though Bethel Park (7-9-1) has stumbled in its last couple of games, the team has a magic number of two to clinch a PIHL Class AAA playoff berth.

 

All the Black Hawks need to do is win one of their final three games or have Upper St. Clair (4-11-2) lose one of their last three to qualify for the postseason. They even have a chance to back into the tournament before their next game Thursday against North Allegheny if the Panthers lose to Cathedral Prep tonight.

 

Matthew Finn has been the offensive leader for Bethel Park with eight goals and 19 points and is tied for 18th in the classification in scoring. Goaltender Adam Seeton has four wins and has a 3.91 goals-against average and a .855 save percentage.

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Hockey: Eagles playing well in run-up to postseason

Written by Keith Barnes on .

With four games remaining Serra Catholic has already clinched a playoff spot and can go no higher than fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

 

To stay there, the Eagles (8-9-1) will have to tread lightly and perhaps come up with an upset or two as they head down the stretch.

 

Serra Catholic will begin its run to the postseasontonightwhen it hosts third-place Freeport (13-4-0), which can move past Bishop McCort (13-4-2) and into second point, within one point of first place Franklin Regional. The Eagles are 2-0-1 in their last three games and have won their last two despite just one assist from PIHL leading scorer Roman Kraemer, who needs two goals to reach 50.

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Hockey: South Feature Athlete – Bishop Canevin senior Thomas Krivak

Written by Keith Barnes on .

 

Name: Thomas Krivak

School: Bishop Canevin

Grade: 12

Sport: Hockey

 

Background: Was selected to play in the PIHL Class AA all-star game on Sunday at Brady’s Run. Is the leading scorer for the Crusaders this season with 22 goals and his 33 points place him 11th in the classification in scoring. Has scored goals in each of his last four games with eight goals and 10 points in that span.

 

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Alumni Update: Rocco Contristano (Pitt-Greensburg)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

GREENSBURG, Pa:  Pitt-Greensburg's "big four" pumped in over 80% of its points as they earned an 82-72 home court victory over PennContristano PGU State Altoona.

UPG improves to 12-6 on the season and remains in second place in the AMCC with a 9-2 mark.  Altoona drops to just 4-12 on the season and 3-9 in league play.

The "big four" for the Bobcats combined to score 67 of their 82 points, led by senior forward Rocco Contristano, a Keystone Oaks graduate, with 21 points.

 

(photo courtesy of Pitt-Greensburg University)