Chartiers Valley preparing for WPIAL playoffs
After weathering the grind that was Section 2 in Class 5-A, the Chartiers Valley boys’ basketball team is prepared for a similar battle in the WPIAL tournament.
The Colts finished runner-up to Moon and Mars in the division. While the Tigers and Planets tied for first place with 9-3 records, CV posted an 8-4 mark. Hampton followed in fourth with a 6-6 slate. After beating neighboring South Fayette, 76-65, on Feb. 13, Colts enter the playoffs with a 16-6 overall record.
“We had the toughest section. No doubt about it,” CV coach Tim McConnell said. “I believe the teams from our section will be the toughest teams in the tournament.”
If the Colts continue to have the hot hand from beyond the perimeter, then they have a shot at winning their seventh district crown under McConnell. CV’s most recent title occurred in 2015.
Offensively, Ross Wilkerson leads CV. A 1,000-point career scorer, the senior averages 16 a game. Caleb Zajicek, who already owns a WPIAL soccer title, manages 15 points per game while Coleman Vaughn provides 12 tallies an outing. In the win against South Fayette, Zajicek exploded for 27 points and Wilkerson finished with 15 tallies. Joe Pipilo also provided 16 markers.
“These players have had an impact on our success this season. As a matter of fact all of our players have,” McConnell added. “They players who don’t play much help us every day in practice getting us ready for our tough section games.”
Practice will continue to help make the Colts perfect. While their shooting is outstanding, their ball-handling skills could use some improvement if they are to be contenders.
“Our shooting has worked well for us this year,” agreed McConnell. “We need to take care of the ball better in the playoffs if we want to be successful.”
Just the opportunity to be successful is the drawing card in the playoffs.
“The best thing,” said McConnell, “is that we are competing to be champions.”
While Mt. Lebanon, Canon-McMillan and Upper St. Clair are competing to be champions in the WPIAL’s largest classification (see related story), four other Almanac clubs have qualified for the post-season.
Despite their regular-season finale loss to CV, the Lions of South Fayette will compete in the Quad-A tournament. They finished in a three-way tie for second place in Section 3 with McGuffey and Elizabeth-Forward. All posted 10-4 records while Belle Vernon finished at the top of the standings with an 11-3 mark. South Fayette finished the regular season 12-10 overall. The Lions demonstrated a balanced attack against CV with Luke Meindl (17), Matt Thomas (17) and Tim Locher (16) scoring in double digits.
Seton-La Salle enters the Class AAA playoffs seeded second out of Section 2 with a 7-3 slate. The Rebels finished runner-up to Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, which ran the table in the division. They enter the post-season with a sub-par, 9-12, overall record.
In Class AA, Chartiers-Houston and Bishop Canevin enter the playoffs as section champions.
The Buccaneers went undefeated in Section 2, mounting a 12-0 mark. With a 68-47 win against Hopewell on Feb. 13, they improved to 18-4 overall.
A.J. Meyers and Cameron Hanley are a formidable one-two punch for C-H’s opponents to defend. Both rank among the leading scorers in the WPIAL. Meyers averages 23.3 points a pop while Hanley contributes 20.6 tallies on a regular basis. Both were over their averages against the Vikings, registering 30 and 26 points respectively.
Meanwhile, the Crusaders suffered only one loss in Section 3 and finished the regular season at 18-4 overall. Canevin recorded split decisions in its final playoff tune-ups, beating Shenango, 74-53, in Section 3 but falling to Erie McDowell, 67-60, in out-of-league action.
Mitchell King led the attack in both instances. He exploded for 33 points against Shenango and pumped in 17 against McDowell. He averages 19 points per game.