Boys Class 5A WPIAL Quarterfinal Preview
The boys’ basketball Class 5A quarterfinal will have a mixture of familiarity with two of the match-ups featuring section rivals and one other one pitting two teams that have already played each other once before this season.
All four games will take place on Friday Night at 8 p.m.
Below are capsules on each game.
No. 1 Mars Planets (18-4) vs. No. 8 Hampton Talbots (11-12) At Butler
Mas was the top-ranked team in Class 5A throughout the whole season and will be viewed as the favorite in this game and moving forward if they were to advance. The Planets have won their last three regular season games entering the playoffs. They are averaging 75.2 points per game and are allowing 57.2 points per game. Mars swept Hampton this year on its way to the Section 2-5A title. On Jan. 16, they defeated the Talbots 85-60 at home and 57-44 on Feb. 9 on the road. The Planets are led by senior Robby Carmody, who is a first-team all-section pick and Notre Dame recruit. Junior Andrew Recchia joined Carmody on the first team. Sophomore Mike Carmody was named to the second team. Mars defeated Laurel Highlands 64-47 in the quarterfinals last year…Hampton grinded out a 52-50 win against Gateway in the first round to reach this point. Senior Adam Bittner led the team with 20 points. Sophomore Colby Mignogna and junior Josh Winek each chipped in with 11 points. Sophomore Isaac DeGregorio has led his team throughout the season, earning first-team all-section accolades. The Talbots defeated McKeesport 78-70 in the quarterfinals last year and defeated Mars in the semifinals.
No. 2 Highlands Golden Rams (17-4) vs. No. 7 West Allegheny Indians (11-11) At Fox Chapel
Highlands received a bye into the quarterfinals after being named co-section champions in Section 3. The Golden Rams won their last five regular season games, but the last game was 11 days ago. They are averaging 63.7 points per game and are allowing 50.8 points per game. This will be the first meeting of the season for these teams. Highlands put two players first-team all-section with senior Shawn Erceg and sophomore Jonny Crise. They had three more on the second team with seniors Romello Freeman and Christian Tanilli and junior Luke Cochran. They are led by the co-section coach of the year, Tyler Stoczynski. Highlands was last in the quarterfinals in 2015-16 when they defeated Hampton, 62-50…West Allegheny advanced the quarterfinals with a 63-54 win against Laurel Highlands. It was the Indians’ third straight win. Senior Isaiah Crowe led the team with 20 points. He was also the lone Indian to make the first-team all-section. Sophomore Jackson Faulk, a second-team pick, finished with 16 points. Also making the second team was senior Jared Konop and sophomore Kam Kruze. They are also led by the section coach of the year, Andrew Tsangaris. The Indians are coming off a 1-21 season and last made the quarterfinals in 2015-16 when they lost to New Castle, 76-47.
No. 3 Franklin Regional Panthers (18-4) vs. No. 6 Moon Tigers (18-5)
These teams are fairly similar in their body of work but Franklin Regional received the bye after being named co-section champs with Highlands. They won seven straight games entering the playoffs. Before that they lost back-to-back games, with the first one coming to the hands of Moon on Han. 19, 52-48. The Panthers are averaging 61.7 points per game and are allowing 47.9 points per game. They had two players named to the all-section first-team with seniors Nate Leopold and Hunter Stonecheck. Senior Aidan Sadoski made the second team and senior Mike Bartolacci and junior NIck Leopold were honorable mentions. They are led by co-section coach of the year, Steve Scorpion. Franklin Regional was ousted by Moon in the quarterfinals last year, 75-61….Moon, the defending WPIAL champion, advanced the quarterfinals with a 59-44 win against Albert Gallatin in the first round. Junior Austin Ryan led the Tigers with 16 points and Connor Ryan had 15 points. The Ryan brothers both made the all-section first-team. Junior Jioni Smith finished on the second team.
No. 4 McKeesport Tigers (15-8) vs. No. 5 Trinity Hillers (19-4) At Baldwin
These two teams battled it out in Section 1 all season long, but it was McKeesport who won the section. The two teams split during the season series. Trinity won the first matchup on Dec. 19, 65-62. McKeesport won the rematch on Jan. 23, 83-72. The Tigers defeated Armstrong 61-42 in the first round. Sophomore Deamontae Diggs led the team with 18 points. Seniors Jordan Grayson and Tobias Green both chipped in with 11 points. Grayson and seniors Layton Jordan and Terron Taylor all made the first-team all-section. McKeesport lost to Hampton, 78-70, in the quarterfinals last year…Trinity rallied to defeat Greensburg Salem in the first round, 61-52. It was the seventh straight win for the Hillers. Senior Joey Koroly led the team with 16 points. Koroly and senior Zach Ecker both made all-section first-team. Senior Dylan Kern finished with 13 points in the first round win. Kern and senior Jeff Ecker were named to the second team. Trinity last made the quarterfinals in 2011-12 when they lost to Beaver, 53-47.
For a complete look at the updated bracket, click here.