Class 6A Boys Basketball First Round Preview
The top boys basketball classification begin the WPIAL playoffs tonight. The 12-team bracket will feature byes for the top four teams. The top four seeds are Pine-Richland, Latrobe, Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair, respectively.
All games will start at 8 p.m. at a neutral site.
No. 5 Butler Golden Tornado (17-4) vs. No. 12 Connellsville Falcons (8-14) At Canon-McMillan
Butler could have easily received a first round bye after finishing in second place in Section 1, but that was awarded to Upper St. Clair. The Golden Tornado were one of the favorites to win it all when the season started. They have won eight of nine games entering the playoffs, with the only loss coming to top-seed Pine-Richland. Butler is led by junior first-team all-section point guard, Ethan Morton. Morton is third in the WPIAL, averaging 27.7 points per game. Butler lost in the first round last year to Latrobe, 73-66…Connellsville benefitted from a weaker section, only winning three section games, which was good enough for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Falcons have lost four of five games entering tonight. They are led by junior first-team all-section forward, Jalen Rogers. Rogers is averaging 18.5 points per game. Connellsville missed the playoffs last year…This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams.
No. 6 Fox Chapel Foxes (15-7) vs. No. 11 Seneca Valley Raiders (11-10) At North Allegheny
Fox Chapel finished second in its section behind Latrobe, and have wins against Pine-Richland and Upper St. Clair on its resume. The Foxes have won six of seven games entering the playoffs. They have three players who made first-team all-section with senior guard Ryan Kerr, and junior guards Sam Brown and Arnold Vento. Vento is averaging 16.8 points per game and Kerr 16.2. Fox Chapel had a bye in last year’s first round…Seneca Valley beat out Central Catholic by two games to easily solidfy the fourth spot in the Section 1 standings. The Raiders ended the regular season with two straight wins. They were led by junior first-team all-section guard, Mason Bush. Bush is averaging 18.2 points per game. Seneca Valley lost in the first round last year to Canon-McMillan, 57-52…Fox Chapel defeated Seneca Valley, 52-45, on Dec. 14 at Fox Chapel.
No. 7 Canon-McMillan Big Macs (14-8) vs. North Allegheny Tigers (13-8) At West Allegheny
This may be the most evenly matched game of the first round against a couple of teams that finished in third place in their respective sections. Canon-McMillan enters the playoffs on a five game winning streak, including a win against No. 4 Upper St. Clair. They are led by a couple of second-team all-section picks, senior guard/forward Elliott Waller and junior guard/forward Tommy Samosky. Canon-McMillan defeated Seneca Valley in the first round last year, 57-52…North Allegheny rebounded from last year to finish in third place in the section. The Tigers also enter tonight’s game on a winning streak, coming out victorious in each of their last four games. They are led by junior first-team all-section guard, Mike Iuzzolino. Iuzzolino is averaging 16.1 points per game. North Allegheny missed the playoffs last year…This is the first meeting of the year between these two teams.
No. 8 Penn-Trafford Warriors (14-8) vs. No. 9 Peters Township Indians (15-7) At Mt. Lebanon
Another evenly matched game pits to PT’s against each other. Penn-Trafford finished in third place in its section. The Warriors have won five out of six games entering the playoffs. They are led by senior first-team all-section guard, Kevin Stinelli. Stinelli is averaging 16.6 points per game. Penn-Trafford missed the playoffs last year…Peters Township struggled in conference play, but was still able to hold onto the fourth spot in the section, two games ahead of Bethel Park. The Indians ended the season with three non-section wins. They are led by junior first-team all-section guard, Colin Cote. Cote is averaging 19.2 points per game. Peters Township did not make the playoffs last year…This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams.
For a complete look at the Class 6A bracket, click here.