What’s coming up: 2/6/24

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by: Don Rebel

The final week of the WPIAL boys basketball regular season begins with a big night of key games in each class.

Over the last couple of weeks, a bunched a Section 1-6A has been divided into three teams battling for the section championship and three schools in a fight for a postseason berth.

In the top half of the section, defending champion Central Catholic (11-8) and North Allegheny(9-11) enter the final week tied for first place with 6-2 section records, one game ahead of Butler (5-3, 15-4).

The rest of the section stacks up this way with two section games remaining: Pine-Richland (7-11) sits in fourth place at 3-5 in the section, one game ahead of both New Castle (2-6, 13-7) and Seneca Valley (2-6, 6-14).

On Tuesday, each half has a key head-to-head showdown.

With a possible share of first place at stake, Central Catholic hosts Butler while fourth place is up for grabs when New Castle visits Pine-Richland.

After winning five of their first seven games in the new year, the Vikings have dropped three of their last five contests, including a six-point loss to New Castle on Friday in a rematch of the 2023 6A finals.

Life for the Golden Tornado hasn’t been a breeze lately. Butler had won 11 of 12 games before dropping two of its last three games, including a Friday loss at North Allegheny.

In the first meeting between the two, Central Catholic raced out to a 26-7 lead after one quarter and coasted to a big win, 66-42, at Butler. Junior Bradley Gompers had 27 points to lead the Vikings while senior Braylon Littlejohn scored 22 for the Golden Tornado.

You can watch the second meeting on Trib HSSN at 7:30 p.m.

The Rams’ overtime victory at Seneca Valley on Friday ended a five-game losing streak while the Red Hurricanes ended a two-game skid with the victory over Central Catholic.

In their first meeting, Pine-Richland won at New Castle, 62-49, with senior Andrew Mendelovich leading the Rams with 16 points while junior Ralphie Blundo scored a game-high 24 points for the ‘Canes.

The other section contest pits North Allegheny at Seneca Valley.


The Franklin Regional boys basketball team has enjoyed a dominant regular season.

The Panthers sit alone in first place in Section 3-5A and have won 17 of their 19 games this season.

One of their two losses came Jan. 12 when they fell at home to Gateway, 58-48.

The game was tied after one quarter before the Gators outscored the Panthers 14-7 in the second quarter to take control.

Senior Taili Thompson led Gateway with 14 points. Senior Cam Rowell was the leading scorer for Franklin Regional with 18 points.

Revenge though isn’t the only thing fueling the Panthers in this rematch in Monroeville.

A victory by Franklin Regional (7-1, 17-2) clinches the Section 3-5A title outright and will boost its resume for one of the top seeds in a deep 5A playoff field.

If Gateway (6-2, 14-5) can pull off the sweep at home, the Gators will be tied for first place with one section game remaining and in control of earning at least a share of the section crown. It would also put them back in the conversation of 5A teams to beat.

You can watch the game at 7:30 p.m. on Trib HSSN.