What’s coming up: 2/2/24

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by: Don Rebel

The biggest question on this Groundhog Day among district basketball fans isn’t whether Phil sees his shadow or not, it’s who will end the day in first place in Section 2-6A.

Like Punxsutawney Phil on Feb. 2, it seems routine to have the Upper St. Clair and Mt. Lebanon boys basketball teams fighting for first place late in the regular season.

It has been a decade of dominance. The Panthers and Blue Devils have won outright or earned a share of the section championship the last 10 years.

The winner of Friday’s game at Mt. Lebanon takes over sole possession of the top spot with one week left.

USC is 6-1 in the section and 13-4 overall. The Panthers have won three straight and 10 of their last 11 games.

Lebo is 6-1 in 2-6A and 15-3 for the season. The Blue Devils have also won three games in a row and five of their last six.

The first meeting Jan. 9 was a back-and-forth affair in which Upper St. Clair prevailed, 44-39.

Senior Brett Meinert had a big second half and led the Panthers with 16 points while sophomore Lam Sheely had 16 points and senior Riley Farabaugh had 11 points for the Blue Devils.

The two coaches have a combined 52 years of experience and have combined to win six championships at their respective schools.

Danny Holzer is in his 29th year at USC and won district gold in 1996, 2005 and 2021.

Joey David is in his 23rd season as Lebo head coach and led his team to WPIAL titles in 2006, 2010 and 2019.

A Mt. Lebanon victory puts the Blue Devils one game up on USC and Baldwin with two section games remaining next week against Norwin and at Canon-McMillan.

A Upper St. Clair win puts the Panthers a game in front of Lebo and Baldwin, but gives the Highlanders control of their own destiny as Baldwin hosts USC next Friday.