Preview: Boys Class 5A WPIAL Championship
No. 1 Mars Planets (20-4) vs. No. 3 Franklin Regional Panthers (20-4) At Petersen Events Center, 9 p.m.
Mars was a team that was destined to make the WPIAL Championship Game in the preseason. For the first time in school history, the Planets will be playing for a chance to be viewed as the best team in the WPIAL, not just in the regular season. The Planets only suffered one loss in section to Moon, which was their lone loss to a WPIAL team this season. Their other losses came to Allderdice in the City League and two teams from Kentucky while competing in the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla. Mars and Franklin Regional have not played each other this season. In two playoff games, Mars has outscored its opponents, 128-90. On the season, they are averaging 74.3 points per game, which is tops in Class 5A, and are allowing 56.2 points per game. They have won five straight games with the latest coming in the semifinals against No. 5 Trinity, 56-39. In the win, Senior and Notre Dame recruit Robby Carmody was on fire with 30 points. Junior Andrew Recchia chipped in with 10 points. It wasn’t as a direct route to the championship for Franklin Regional. The other spot was up for grabs all season long and the Panthers were able to beat out their section rival, Highlands, to claim it. The Panthers were the Section 3 Co-Champions, and enter the title game on a nine game win streak. They were able to beat Highlands in the rubber match of the season in the semifinals, 48-40. Franklin Regional only scored two points in the first quarter of its semifinal game, but came alive late for the win. Junior Nick Leopold led the way with 16 points. Senior Nate Leopold, finished with 13 points. This is the first WPIAL championship appearance since 1997 for Franklin Regional, and they are seeking its first title in school history.
For a look at the updated bracket, click here.