The WPIAL releases brackets for the 2024 boys and girls basketball playoffs

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Monday, February 12, 2024 | 2:22 pm


When the WPIAL basketball committee met Monday morning to determine playoff seedings, there was little debate about the No. 1 seeds.

Most of the choices were obvious.

In some brackets, it was difficult to sort two, three and four. But perhaps the hardest part of assembling the brackets this year was the middle seeds, said committee chair Brian Geier, athletic director at Peters Township.

“A lot of times, the first two or four schools are very well-established,” Geier said. “Our ultimate goal is to get the top four teams to the semi-finals. But then we ask: Who are the next four? Who should be in the boroughs?”

“We spend a lot of time rating from one to four, but five to 12 was another difficult task in some cases.”

The presence of so many teams with similar records and similar resumes meant that a number of decisions were up for debate, but that balance may also suggest that these playoffs may be somewhat unpredictable.

“I think this is the best (balance) in years, which should lead to a good tournament,” said Vince Sortino, the WPIAL's chief operating officer, whose job responsibilities include overseeing the postseason.

First-round games are scheduled for Friday through Tuesday based on seeding, with one Division 1 boys division game on Thursday. Class 6A teams begin the playoffs with quarterfinal games on February 22 or 23. The playoffs conclude with 12 championship games from February 29 to March 2 at the Petersen Events Center.

Six of the WPIAL basketball champions will begin their title defense as favorites to win again.

The Imani Christian (Class A), Aliquippa (2A), Deer Lakes (3A) and Lincoln Park (4A) boys basketball teams and the girls' teams from Union (A) and Avonworth (3A) were among the No. 1 seeds in the released WPIAL playoff brackets are Monday.

Also receiving No. 1 seeds were the Mount Lebanon (6A) and Moon (5A) boys, along with Greensburg Central Catholic (2A), Blackhawks (4A), Oakland Catholic (5A) and Norwin girls (6A).

The WPIAL had only one undefeated team: the Oakland Catholic girls, who finished 22-0.

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Only 20 teams finished the season with an undefeated record, meaning half of the division champions had at least one point loss. Eight divisions ended with co-champions.

“There was usually a clear choice on the top four teams, but when you get to six, seven and eight, anyone can beat any team,” Sortino said. “A number of the rankings this year were like that. After your top two teams, you say anyone can win because they beat each other during the year.

The Class 3A boys bracket was a good example.

In Section 1, Mohawk (11-1) beat Neshannock (10-2) for the title, while Deer Lakes (11-1) won the Section 3 title over Shady Side Academy (10-2). Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Seton LaSalle shared the Section 2 title at 11-1, while Yough and Washington tied atop Section 4 at 11-1.

The committee ranked the participating champions fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth, behind defending champions Deer Lakes (first), Mohawk (second), Shady Side Academy (third) and Neshannock (fourth).

Geier said the department's perceived strength was key in determining the rankings.

The Class 5A boys division was also tough. The committee viewed Moon as the unanimous No. 1 seed and then debated Franklin Regional at second, Schaller at third, and Thomas Jefferson at fourth. Section strength once again largely shaped the standings, as did Franklin's mid-January regional win over Schaller.

But the work did not stop there.

“From five to ten, there was a lot of back and forth to decide which teams were better,” Geier said.

The Class 5A and 3A boys brackets weren't the only tough brackets. Geyer said the Class 4A boys division was tough “after the top four” and that the committee “spent too much time” on the Class 1 boys. On the girls side, the most complicated classes were Class A and 3A, which also featured two sets of co-section champions.

WPIAL playoff schedule

children

Class 6A

Quarter-finals

Schedule February 23

TBA Times

Pine-Richland (7-14) at Mount Lebanon (18-3)

North Allegheny (10-11) Baldwin (16-5)

Cannon McMillan (9-12) vs. Central Catholic (13-8) in TBA

Butler (15-5) at Upper St. Clair (16-5)

Class 5A

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Introductory role

Friday schedule

Woodland Hills (8-13) at Trinity (9-12), 7 p.m

first round

Schedule for February 19

Woodland Hills/Trinity at Moon (18-3), 7 p.m

North Hills (11-9) at Fox Chapel (12-10) at 8 p.m

Penn Trafford (11-11) and Thomas Jefferson (18-3), 8 p.m

Kiski Area (14-7) at Peters Township (16-5), 7 p.m

Mars (10-12) at Franklin Regional (19-2) at 7 p.m

Penn Hills (13-7) at Gateway (15-6), 7 p.m

Chartier Valley (11-11) at Shaler (20-2) at 7 p.m

Bethel Park (11-10) at South Fayette (13-8), 7 p.m

Class 4A

first round

Friday schedule

Freeport (6-14) at Lincoln Park (19-3), 7 p.m

Beaver (12-9) at Notch (14-7), 7 p.m

Quaker Valley (10-11) at Uniontown (19-3), 7 p.m

Elizabeth Forward (14-7) at North Catholic (13-7), 7 p.m

Central Valley (13-8) at Hampton (19-3), 7 p.m

Belle Vernon (12-7) at South Allegheny (16-6), 7 p.m

Southmoreland (16-6) at Montour (18-3), 7 p.m

Highlanders (14-7) at Avonworth (15-7), 7 p.m

Class 3A

first round

Schedule for February 19

Stowe Rocks (10-12) at Deer Lakes (17-4), 7 p.m

Ellwood City (15-7) at Washington (15-7), 7 p.m

Mount Pleasant (8-13) at Neshannock (17-3), 7 p.m

Deere (13-6) vs. Ulsch (17-4) at Fox Chapel, 6 p.m

McGuffey (14-8) at Mohawk (15-7), 7 p.m

South Park (13-8) at YOG (18-4), 7 p.m

Beaver Falls (7-13) at Shadyside Academy (14-7) at 7 p.m

Burrell (13-6) vs. Seton LaSalle (16-5) at Thomas Jefferson, 6 p.m

Class 2A

first round

Schedule February 20

Nazareth Prep (6-12) at Aliquippa (5-17) at 7 p.m

Chartier-Houston (16-6) at Serra Catholic (15-7), 7 p.m

Winchester Thurston (11-8) vs. Fort Cherry (16-5) in Avila, 7 p.m

Burgettstown (16-6) at Bishop Canvin (12-9), 7 p.m

Fraser (11-11) at Greensburg Catholic Central (20-2), 7 p.m

Eden Christian (12-9) at Shenango (12-9), 7 p.m

Clairton (10-12) at Northgate (16-4), 7 p.m

Sewickley Academy (12-9) at Jeannette (14-7), 7 p.m

Class A

first round

Schedule for Thursday

Hillel Academy (7-9) at Al-Ittihad (12-10) at 7 p.m

Friday schedule

My Christian Faith (10-11) Goodbye

Avila (9-13) at West Greene (14-8), 7 p.m

Summit Academy (4-12) at Monessen (17-4) at 7 p.m

Neighborhood Academy (16-5) Bye

California (7-15) vs. Aquinas Academy (14-7) in Peters Township, 8 p.m

St. Joseph (3-18) at Rochester (15-5), 7 p.m

Jefferson Morgan (13-9) at Carlinton (6-14), 7 p.m

girls

Class 6A

Quarter-finals

February 22 schedule

TBA Times

Seneca Valley (12-10) at Norwin (18-3)

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Wadi Chartiers (14-6) in Mount Lebanon (12-10)

Pine-Richland (7-13) at Peters Township (20-1)

Upper St. Clair (12-10) at North Allegheny (19-2)

Class 5A

Introductory role

Friday schedule

Penn Hills (10-11) and Thomas Jefferson (9-12), 7 p.m

first round

Schedule February 20

Penn Hills/Thomas Jefferson winner at Oakland Catholic (22-0), 7 p.m

Bloom (13-8) at North Hills (13-8) at 7 p.m

Penn Trafford (14-8) at Lincoln Park (19-2), 7 p.m

Latrobe (11-11) at Armstrong (17-4), 7 p.m

Hampton (12-10) at McKeesport (18-3), 7 p.m

Moon (14-8) at Indiana (17-5), 7 p.m

Woodland Hills (9-10) at Trinity (17-5), 7 p.m

Mars (12-10) over South Fayette (14-8) at 7 p.m

Class 4A

first round

Schedule February 20

Blackhawks (20-2) bye

Hopewell (10-11) at Greensburg-Salem (15-7), 7 p.m

The Highlanders (16-6) have a bye

Quaker Valley (5-15) at Laurel Highlands (18-2), 7 p.m

North Catholic (14-7) bye

West Mifflin (10-8) at Central Valley (11-10), 7 p.m

Elizabeth FW (19-2) bye

Belle Vernon (10-12) at Notch (12-9), 7 p.m

Class 3A

first round

Saturday schedule

Apollo Ridge (8-13) at Avonworth (19-1), 2 p.m

Burrell (16-4) vs. Keystone Oaks (15-6) at South Park, noon

Brownsville (12-9) at Neshannock (15-7), noon

Mount Pleasant (14-7) at South Park (15-6), 2 p.m

Mohawk (13-9) at Shadyside Academy (19-2), noon

Ellwood City (15-7) vs. Ulsch (15-7) at Avonworth, noon

McGuffey (14-7) at Beaver Falls (14-6), noon

Seton LaSalle (12-8) at Waynesburg (19-2), noon

Class 2A

first round

Friday schedule

Northgate (6-14) at Greensburg Central Catholic (16-5), 7 p.m

Rochester (15-7) at Burgettstown (14-9), 7 p.m

Beth Center (11-10) vs. Fort Cherry (17-4) in Peters Township, 6 p.m.

Southside (12-9) at Chartier-Houston (16-5), 7 p.m

California (10-11) at Aliquippa (19-2), 7 p.m

Clairton (16-4) at Freedom (12-10), 7 p.m

Brentwood (10-12) at Serra Catholic (18-4), 7 p.m

Winchester Thurston (10-12) at Washington (14-8), 7 p.m

Class A

first round

Schedule for February 19

Al-Ittihad (16-5) bye

Gannett (8-9) at West Greene (9-13), 7 p.m

River view (15-6) Goodbye

Leechburg (8-10) at Monessen (16-5), 7 p.m

Aquinas Academy (15-6) Bye

Eden Christian (8-13) vs. Gable (15-6) at YOG, 6 p.m

Saint Joseph (19-2) bye

Mapletown (6-14) at Bishop Canvin (6-13), 7 p.m

WPIAL basketball brackets matchup

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@tribive.com.

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