Class 5A Boys Basketball Quarterfinal Preview

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After being off for almost two weeks, the remaining Class 5A boys teams that received byes in the first round will finally hit the court tonight in the quarterfinals. The eight remaining teams will with a chance to keep their WPIAL title hops alive and also earn a berth in the PIAA playoffs.

All games tonight will begin at 8 p.m. on a neutral court.

No. 1 Mars Planets (21-1) vs. No. 8 Shaler Titans (16-7) At North Allegheny

Even after losing the Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year with Robby Carmody graduating last year, Mars hasn’t missed a beat. The defending Class 5A WPIAL champions entered this year’s playoffs as the top-seed with its only loss coming to a team from California in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas. Since then, the Planets have rattled off 16 straight wins. They had a trio of players make first-team all-section with senior guards Andrew Recchia and Khori Fusco and junior forward Michael Carmody getting the recognition. Recchia leads the team with 18 points per game. Fusco and Carmody are averaging 15.8 and 15 points per game, respectively. Mars defeated Hampton in the quarterfinals last year, 72-51…Shaler is coming off its first playoff victory in seven year with a 76-60 victory against McKeesport in Monday. The Titans trailed by three points after the first quarter before taking control of the game. Junior Mekhi Reynolds led the team with 25 points. Senior Matt Bendel poured in 21 and senior Brennan Fugh added 15…This is the third meeting of the season between the section opponents with Mars sweeping the regular season series. The Planets won 68-62 on Jan. 2 and 79-53 on Jan. 22

No. 2 Penn Hills Indians (19-3) vs. No. 7 Montour Spartans (15-8) At Fox Chapel

Penn Hills won the Class 6A WPIAL championship a year ago, and has experienced the same success to this point in Class 5A this season, winning its section by a comfortable three games. The Indians didn’t lose a section game all season and enter tonight’s game on a seven game win streak. They are led by a trio of first-team all-section picks with sophomore Wes Kropp, junior Kyree Hairston-Mitchell and senior Tyree Spencer. Spencer leads the team with 20 points per game and Kropp is averaging 15.4. Penn Hills defeated Central Catholic in the quarterfinals last year, 59-49…Montour pulled away from Hampton on Monday night in its first round matchup for a 60-44 win. The Spartans only held a 29-26 lead at the half. Leading the way for Montour was junior James Eubanks with 21 points. Senior Jaden Nelson finished with 13 points and junior Anthony Tambellini had 12. This is Montour’s first quarterfinal appearance since 2014 when they lost to Central Valley, 50-38…This is the first meeting of the year between these two teams.

No. 3 Moon Tigers (20-1) vs. No. 6 Franklin Regional (17-6) At West Allegheny

Moon was the last boys WPIAL team to suffer a loss this season, and they only suffered one, but they were still put as the third-seed in Class 5A. The loss did come in section play to Chartiers Valley, but they still won the section by two games. The Tigers ended the regular season with back-to-back wins after the loss. They are led by a couple of first-team all-section picks in junior Donovan Johnson and senior Connor Ryan. Johnson leads the team averaging 23 points per game. Ryan is averaging 15.8. Moon will be looking for revenge after losing to Franklin Regional, 28-26, in last year’s quarterfinal round…Franklin Regional kept its hopes of returning to The Pete alive with a 66-41 win against Thomas Jefferson in the first round on Monday. The outcome was never in doubt, as they led 33-18 at halftime. Senior Nick Leopold led for Panthers in double figures with 15 points. Senior Thomas Merante finished with 13 points and junior Logan Summerhill and senior Aidan Wiley finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively…This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams.

No. 4 Woodland Hills Wolverines (18-5) vs. No. 5 Chartiers Valley Colts (17-5) At Mt. Lebanon

This is the lone quarterfinal game that didn’t feature a team that received a bye, as both these teams that finished in second place in their respective sections won their first round game. This will be the second game in a row at Mt. Lebanon for Woodland Hills after they defeated West Allegheny there on Monday night, 69-60. It was the smallest margin of victory out of any of the Class 5A boys basketball first round games. The Wolverines trailed by one at halftime but started to open things up in the second half. They were led by senior Keandre Bowles with 34 points. Senior Markiefe Harvey finished with 22 points. Woodland Hills defeated Canon-McMillan, 57-41, in the quarterfinals last year…Chartiers Valley made easy work of Albert Gallatin in the first round, coming away with a 68-51 win at Peters Township. The Colts opened the game up in the second quarter to take a 39-24 halftime lead. Senior Joe Pipilo led the team with 19 points. Right behind him was junior Jared Goldstrom with 18 points. Sophomore Brayden Reynolds added 15 points. Chartiers Valley last made the quarterfinals two years ago when they defeated Gateway, 46-43…This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams.

For a complete look at the Class 5A bracket, click here.