The WPIAL finals are upon us, beginning Friday night as Beaver Falls will play Indiana at 9 pm in the AAA championship game at the Petersen Events Center.
Beaver County will be represented in two other championship games: AA boys and AAA girls, as Aliquippa will take on Seton-LaSalle, and the Blackhawk girls will play South Fayette. Out of the four classifications, three of my predicted winners are still alive, so I’ve included updated predictions.
Class A Girls
The Quigley Catholic girls’ had their WPIAL championship hopes dashed Wednesday night, falling to #1 seed Vincentian 68-46 at Chartiers Valley High School. Gabbie Smith led Quigley with 23 points in the loss.
It was Quigley’s second consecutive trip to the semifinals. The Spartans also got a monster performance in the quarterfinals from Smith. Smith dropped 18 points and 19 rebounds in a 52-35 win over Serra Catholic at Ambridge.
Prediction: Vincentian over Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic
Class AAA Girls
The Blackhawk girls continued their quest toward another championship after blasting Trinity in the quarterfinals, 83-44, behind 35 points from Chassidy Omogrosso and 24 from Courtney Vannoy.
The Lady Cougars then punched their ticket to the AAA title game with a 64-52 win over Chartiers Valley Wednesday night at Moon. Omogrosso again turned in another ridiculous performance, dropping 33 points.
Blackhawk will now look to repeat Saturday at 3 pm at the Petersen Events Center where they will face South Fayette.
The Beaver girls saw their WPIAL postseason come to an end after losing to Chartiers Valley, 54-40, at Baldwin. Lexi Posset led Beaver with 16 points. However, the 12th seeded Bobcats kept their season alive by qualifying for the PIAA playoffs with a play-in win over Trinity Tuesday night. Lexi Posset had 28, and was the only Bobcat to reach double figures.
Prediction: Blackhawk over South Fayette
Class AA Boys
Only one team from Beaver County remains alive in the WPIAL tournament: the undefeated Aliquippa Quips. The Quips breezed past Bishop Canevin in the quarterfinals, 74-51, and slammed #4 seed Greensburg Central Catholic in the semifinals, 85-61, at Canon-McMillan to earn a spot in the AA championship game.
The Quips are in the title game for the first time since 2007, and will face Seton-LaSalle, who is coming off an 80-63 beat down of Quaker Valley. Stephon McGinnis led the Quips in the semifinals with 30 points.
The #2 seed Lincoln Park Leopards suffered their third setback of the season at the most inopportune of times to #7 seed Quaker Valley. The Quakers pulled off a mild upset, 64-55, over the Leopards at Ambridge. Nelly Cummings led Lincoln Park with 23 points.
In the first play-in game, Lincoln Park defeated Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Tuesday night at Ambridge, 50-47. Antonio Kellem had 15 points in the win, while the Leopards played the majority of the game without Nelly Cummings, who suffered a knee injury in the first half.
Lincoln Park will now play Neshannock Thursday to determine the 5th and 6th seeds in the state tournament.
The much anticipated match-up between Aliquippa and Lincoln Park may now never transpire, or could take place in the coming weeks in the PIAA Western Final.
Prediction: Aliquippa over Seton-LaSalle
Class AAA Boys
The glass slipper fit the Ambridge Bridgers through two rounds after a dramatic 46-45 win over #1 seed Mars in the quarterfinals at North Hills. The Bridgers were one of three teams from section 2-AAA to advance to the semifinals – Beaver Falls and New Castle are the others.
But Ambridge’s WPIAL championship hopes came to an end Tuesday night at the hands of #4 seed Indiana Fox Chapel, 54-45. Daylon Carter had 18 points in the loss. Ambridge will now open up play in the PIAA tournament March 6.
In the other semifinal, Beaver Falls outlasted New Castle for the third time this season in a thrilling 52-49 win in front of 3,000 people at Geneva’s Metheny Fieldhouse. New Castle took a one point lead with under 15 seconds left, but Beaver Falls’ Keyan Gibson played the role of hero, draining the game winning three-pointer with 10 seconds to go to put the Tigers up for good. Donovan Jeter had 21 points in the win.
Beaver Falls got to the semis by taking down South Fayette, 69-46, in the quarterfinals, behind impressive performances from Donovan Jeter and Josh Creach.
Predictions: Beaver Falls over Indiana