Teams battling for playoff positioning
Upcoming section battles determine playoff contenders
A fight to the finish. That describes the impending action in scholastic boys’ basketball action, particularly in Section 4-AAAA, as each club in that division has a shot at a playoff spot.
Heading into action this week, with six section games remaining on their schedules, all eight clubs remained in contention for a post-season berth.
While adversaries Bethel Park (8-0, 14-1) and Upper St. Clair (7-1, 11-3) appeared to have the clearest path to the playoffs, heading into their fray Jan. 22, five teams, including locals Canon-McMillan, Peters Township and Mt. Lebanon were jumbled together in third place with 3-5 records while Baldwin pulled up the rear with a 2-6 mark.
The top four teams in each of the four Quad-A sections clinch a tournament berth. League play ends Feb. 8.
Peters Township took a step in the right direction when the Indians avenged a previous loss and defeated Mt. Lebanon, 57-45, in league action last Friday.
Gabe Pritz exceeded his 19.8 average when he exploded for 29 points in the triumph. Nick Parello followed with 10 tallies, for the Indians, who stretched a 26-22 halftime advantage to 38-30 after three frames.
For the Blue Devils, Johnny Heagy, Eddie Jenkins and Matt Hoffman each finished with eight points.
While Lebo visits Baldwin on Friday, Jan. 25, PT hosts Trinity, which is 3-5 in the section but sports the best overall record (9-7) of the tied third-place teams in the division.
Meanwhile, USC visits Canon-Mac on Jan. 25. The Panthers are coming off a 45-40 victory at Trinity.
J.J. Conn and Jordan Grabowski topped out with 15 and 11 tallies for the Panthers, who led 21-20, at intermission before holding 12-10 scoring edges in the two, second-half quarters.
The Big Macs are coming off a disappointing defeat at Bethel Park last week. In their 62-49, CM held a 27-20 halftime lead, but suffered a scoring slump in the third quarter. BP out-scored CM, 20-6, in the critical frame.
Brett Haney exploded for 20 points, 15 in the first frame. Seth Bohn pitched in with 11 markers.
In Section 4-AA, Seton-La Salle remained in the driver’s seat after the Rebels’ 78-60 triumph over Chartiers-Houston.
Heading into this week’s battles at home with Brentwood and on the road at Fort Cherry, the Rebels sported a 7-0 section slate and a 13-2 overall mark.
Against the Bucs, Ryan Norkus (19), Dale Clancy (12), Christian DelGreco (12) and Levi Masua (10) finished in double digits.
Alec Ferrari and Kodie Hanley fired in 16 and 14 markers for the Bucs, who are 5-10 overall.
The Bucs, who are 2-5 in the section, host Burgettstown on Friday, Jan. 25.
In Section 5-AAA, Keystone Oaks visits South Fayette on Friday, Jan. 25.
The Golden Eagles and Lions are both recent victims of Chartiers Valley, which leads the division with an undefeated record in seven outings and a 13-1 overall slate.
In a 100-55 loss to the Colts, Jared Skolnicki fired in 17 points for the Golden Eagles (3-4, 6-9). Taylor Lehman and Braydon Griffiths each followed with 13 tallies.
In addition to the loss to CV, South Fayette also succumbed to South Park, 71-58, on the road.
C.J. Rudisill pumped in 18 points followed by Justin Watson’s 16 markers.
For the second straight game, Evan Bonnaure was held under his 20-plus scoring average. He finished with 10 tallies.