WPIAL basketball pairings announced

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GREEN TREE – Veronica Sansom knows there are tangible benefits to the Chartiers-Houston girls basketball team’s non-section win over McGuffey Monday night: a four-game winning streak to close the year, the team playing the best it has all season.


She did not, however, think it had much impact on seeding at Tuesday night’s WPIAL basketball tournament pairings meeting.


“We played McGuffey and gave them their second loss of the year,” Sansom said. “I think the bracket was already made up. Not sure that mattered at all.”


The Bucs’ situation brought up an interesting argument, as 22 area basketball teams got their postseason marching orders inside a crowded ballroom at the Hilton DoubleTree: what to make of late-season swoons and slumps when it comes to seeding?


A strong finish, and Chartiers-Houston still finds itself with a play-in game Friday against Beaver for the No. 10 seed.


“For us, momentum-wise, it was great,” Sansom said. “Our kids are real happy with how we ended the season.”


Elsewhere in the Class AA girls bracket, Charleroi plays Carlynton Friday at Chartiers Valley for the No. 14 seed, McGuffey is off until Tuesday, and Washington travels to Yough to play Ford City for the No. 16 seed.


The California boys, who won Section 5-AA, weren’t affected by a late loss to Charleroi and wound up with the No. 8 seed – and a first-round game Saturday against Brentwood.


Beaver Falls, Greensburg Central Catholic, Seton-La Salle and Jeannette earned top-four seeds in the ultra-deep classification, with Beaver Falls a potential semifinal matchup for the Trojans.


“I’m never surprised,” California coach Phil Pergola said. “You have to play anyway. You just play who they give you.”


Charleroi plays Bishop Canevin at noon Saturday to kickoff a triple-header of local teams at Peters Township, with the 13th-seeded California girls playing the middle game before the California boys and Brentwood.


The seed was not unexpected for California coach Chris Minerd, who watched his team lose five of eight down the stretch.


“We definitely didn’t finish the season the way I wanted to finish,” Minerd said. “That’s what happens when you finish on the downside.”


Elsewhere in Class A, No. 5 Avella plays No. 12 St. Joseph at North Hills Saturday, and No. 6 Carmichaels has No. 11 Cornell at West Allegheny the same day. Jefferson-Morgan and West Greene have play-in games, and No. 7 Monessen is off until Wednesday.


The boys bracket has No. 7 Monessen playing No. 10 Sewickley Academy Friday at Keystone Oaks. Mapletown has the play-in game for the No. 16 seed, and No. 8 Carmichaels drew No. 9 Wilkinsburg Tuesday, site and time to be determined.


After a playoff-clinching win over Peters Township last Friday, Canon-McMillan is riding plenty of momentum, though the Big Macs drew the No. 15 seed – and a game next Wednesday against No. 2 North Allegheny, site and time to be determined.


The Washington boys lost three consecutive games in the middle of the season, but Prexies coach Mark Gaither was just fine with where his team ended up: a play-in game for the No. 10 seed against Jefferson-Morgan, with Burrell/Beth-Center ahead.


In Class AAA, the South Fayette boys received the No. 9 seed and will play No. 8 West Mifflin Tuesday.


The South Fayette girls and the Ringgold girls each have play-in games, the Lions against Freeport Saturday, the Rams against Indiana, also Saturday.


South Fayette’s boys team had two different rough patches: four losses in five games and three in four, the current one.


Those, though, were against tough teams, which could be the key to keeping a respectable seed.


“That’s not a guarantee you’re going to do well in the playoffs,” South Fayette coach Rich Bonnaure said. “But you really do shoot to make a run in the playoffs and hit your peak.”


So is it better to win a few games down the stretch to help seeding and momentum?


“I think, as coach, you better learn to turn it in your direction,” Bonnaure said.


Fair enough.


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