Class 5A Boys Basketball WPIAL First Round Preview
The WPIAL basketball playoffs get revved up today, including the start of the Class 5A boys basketball playoffs. The 13 team field will feature byes for the top three seeds, Mars, Penn Hills, and Moon, respectively.
All games will begin at 8 p.m. and will be played on a neutral court.
No. 4 Woodland Hills Wolverines (17-5) vs. No. 13 West Allegheny Indians (9-13) At Mt. Lebanon
West Allegheny tying for fourth place in Section 2 is the reason Woodland Hills doesn’t have a bye in the first round. The Wolverines finished second in Section 1 behind Penn Hills. Woodland Hills started the season hot, winning nine out of its first 10 games. They are led by the leading scorer in the WPIAL and first-team all-section, senior Keandre Bowles. Bowles is averaging 29.4 points per game. The Wolverines advanced to the semifinals in the Class 6A playoffs last year…West Allegheny snuck into the last spot in the playoffs. Entering tonight’s game, the Indians have won three of four games. They are led by junior first-team all-section, Jackson Faulk. Faulk is averaging 20.8 points per game. West Allegheny defeated Laurel Highlands, 63-54, in the first round last year…This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams.
No. 5 Chartiers Valley Colts (16-5) vs. No. 12 Albert Gallatin Colonials (5-14) At Peters Township
Chartiers Valley endured a coaching change at the beginning of the season, and it has paid off as they enter the playoffs as one of the contenders to win it all. The Colts have a season long winning streak of seven games, including handing Moon its only defeat of the season. They are led by senior first-team all-section, Joe Pipilo. Pipilo is averaging 18 points per game. The Colts missed the playoffs a year ago…Albert Gallatin only had five wins this year, but they were all in section and it was enough to get them into the playoffs. The Colonials lost their last two regular season games. They are led by sophomore all-section first-team, Nate English. English is averaging 18.4 points per game. The Colonials lost in the first round last year to Moon, 59-44…This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams.
No. 6 Franklin Regional Panthers (16-6) vs. No. 11 Thomas Jefferson Jaguars (11-10) At Norwin
Franklin Regional finished second in Section 3 to undefeated Mars. The Panthers enter tonight’s game on a three game winning streak. They are led by senior all-section first team, Nick Leopold. The Panthers advanced all the way to the WPIAL Championship game last year before falling to Mars…Along with West Allegheny, Thomas Jefferson tied for fourth place in their section to sneak into the playoffs. The Jaguars have lost three out of their last five games entering tonight’s game. They are led by junior second-team all-section, Isaac McNeil. Thomas Jefferson did not make the playoffs last year…This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams.
No. 7 Montour Spartans (14-8) vs. No. 10 Hampton Talbots (12-9) At North Allegheny
Montour was one of three teams to finish with double-digit wins in their section and ended up in third place. The Spartans are one of the hottest teams entering the playoffs, winning seven out of eight games entering tonight. They are led by senior first-team all-section guard, Jaden Nelson. Nelson is averaging 17.9 point per game. Montour did not make the playoffs last year…Hampton finished fourth in their section but did so by still winning eight section games. The Talbots have lost two straight games entering tonight, but those losses came to No. 1 Mars and Class 6A No. 5 Butler. They are led by junior first-team all-section forward, Ben Ringeisen. Ringeisen is averaging 18.7 points per game. Hampton defeated Gateway in the first round last year, 52-50…This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams.
No. 8 Shaler Titans (15-7) vs. No. 9 McKeesport Tigers (11-9) At Fox Chapel
Shaler dropped down from Class 6A this year and the move has paid off as they finished third in its section and finished with 10 section wins. The Titans have won four of six games entering tonight’s first round matchup. They have two players who made first-team all-section with senior Justin DeSabato and junior Mekhi Reynolds. Reynolds is averaging 17.2 points per game and DeSabato has 16.4. Shaler missed the playoffs last year…McKeesport also finished third in its section as well behind Penn Hills and Woodland Hills. The Tigers have won five of seven games entering tonight. They are led by junior first-team all-section forward, Deamontae Diggs. Diggs is averaging 20.1 points per game. McKeesport defeated Armstrong in the first round last year, 61-42…This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams.
For a complete look at the bracket, click here.