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WPIAL bracketology: Chris Harlan, Don Rebel forecast 2021-22 girls basketball pairings

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Sunday, February 13, 2022 | 1:41 AM


The February Frenzy is about to heat up as WPIAL basketball teams hop on the Path to the Pete.

The real WPIAL playoff pairings will be revealed at 5 p.m. Monday on TribLive HSSN. However, while we wait, here’s a look at how HSSN’s Don Rebel and Chris Harlan would seed the brackets.

Class 6A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Mt. Lebanon – bye

No. 8 Seneca Valley vs. No. 9 Butler

No. 4 Norwin – bye

No. 5 Bethel Park – bye

No. 2 North Allegheny – bye

No. 7 Peters Township – bye

No. 3 Upper St. Clair – bye

No. 6 Penn-Trafford – bye

Rebel says: They should all be this easy. Actually, the top of this nine-team playoff field is up for debate as both section winners Mt. Lebanon and North Allegheny can make a good case with only one loss.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Mt. Lebanon – bye

No. 8 Seneca Valley vs. No. 9 Butler

No. 4 Norwin – bye

No. 5 Bethel Park – bye

No. 2 North Allegheny – bye

No. 7 Peters Township – bye

No. 3 Upper St. Clair – bye

No. 6 Penn-Trafford – bye

Harlan says: At first, I strongly considered giving reigning WPIAL and state champion North Allegheny (20-1) the No. 1 seed, because I think the Tigers can make a case. But logistically, this bracket just works way better if Mt. Lebanon (20-1) gets No. 1. The other seeds just fall into place. Mt. Lebanon is absolutely deserving of a No. 1, so the Blue Devils are the top team here.

Class 5A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Chartiers Valley vs. No. 16 Connellsville

No. 8 Mars vs. No. 9 Albert Gallatin

No. 4 Trinity vs. No. 13 Woodland Hills

No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 12 Thomas Jefferson

No. 2 South Fayette vs. No. 15 Armstrong

No. 7 Latrobe vs. No. 10 Hampton

No. 3 Moon vs. No. 14 Greensburg Salem

No. 6 McKeesport vs. No. 11 Oakland Catholic

Rebel says: South Fayette soars up to the No. 2 seed with late-season wins over Moon and Trinity. I show lots of love for Section 1 with Chartiers Valley, South Fayette and Moon earning top three seeds.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Chartiers Valley vs. No. 16 Connellsville

No. 8 Hampton vs. No. 9 Albert Gallatin

No. 4 Trinity vs. No. 13 Woodland Hills

No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 12 Thomas Jefferson

No. 2 South Fayette vs. No. 15 Armstrong

No. 7 Latrobe vs. No. 10 Mars

No. 3 Moon vs. No. 14 Greensburg Salem

No. 6 McKeesport vs. No. 11 Oakland Catholic

Harlan says: South Fayette defeated Trinity, 64-58, in a three-overtime marathon Saturday. Had that nonsection game gone the other way, Trinity could’ve move to the right-hand side of the bracket. Instead, the Hillers stay on the left, setting up a potential WPIAL championship rematch with Chartiers Valley in this year’s semifinals. A double-digit seed to watch is Oakland Catholic, which at times has played better than a No. 11 seed. The Eagles finished fourth in a brutal Section 1 behind Chartiers Valley, South Fayette and Moon.

Class 4A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Blackhawk – bye

No. 8 Highlands vs. No. 9 Quaker Valley

No. 4 Beaver vs. No. 13 Deer Lakes

No. 5 Elizabeth Forward vs. No. 12 Freeport

No. 2 Southmoreland – bye

No. 7 Montour vs. No. 10 West Mifflin

No. 3 Knoch – bye

No. 6 Belle Vernon vs. No. 11 Central Valley

Rebel says: While Blackhawk is a clear top seed, the order of the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in this bracket don’t matter, with both receiving a bye and hosting in the quarterfinals. Southmoreland gets the edge because of overall section strength.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Blackhawk – bye

No. 8 Belle Vernon vs. No. 9 Quaker Valley

No. 4 Elizabeth Forward vs. No. 13 Freeport

No. 5 Beaver vs. No. 12 Deer Lakes

No. 2 Knoch — bye

No. 7 Montour vs. No. 10 West Mifflin

No. 3 Southmoreland — bye

No. 6 Highlands vs. No. 11 Central Valley

Harlan says: There’s a debate between Knoch (19-2) and Southmoreland (17-3) for the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds. Which carries more weight: An undefeated section record or overall strength of section? Knoch went undefeated in Section 1, while Southmoreland won the tougher Section 3 title with one loss.

Class 3A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 North Catholic – bye

No. 8 Laurel vs. No. 9 Charleroi

No. 4 Waynesburg – bye

No. 5 Freedom vs. No. 12 Brentwood

No. 2 South Park – bye

No. 7 Mohawk vs. No. 10 Shady Side Academy

No. 3 Avonworth – bye

No. 6 Keystone Oaks vs. No. 11 Brownsville

Rebel says: I gave some serious consideration to moving Section 1 runner-up Freedom as high as the No. 3 seed, however I slid them back to No. 5, behind section champions Avonworth and Waynesburg.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 North Catholic – bye

No. 8 Laurel vs. No. 9 Charleroi

No. 4 Avonworth – bye

No. 5 Freedom vs. No. 12 Brentwood

No. 2 South Park – bye

No. 7 Mohawk vs. No. 10 Shady Side Academy

No. 3 Waynesburg – bye

No. 6 Keystone Oaks vs. No. 11 Brownsville

Harlan says: There are four byes, so I give one to each section champion (including co-champions South Park and Waynesburg in Section 2). All four teams from competitive Section 1 would start the playoffs here with a home game: North Catholic, Freedom, Mohawk and Laurel.

Class 2A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Neshannock vs. No. 16 Ellis School/Springdale winner

No. 8 Fort Cherry vs. No. 9 Apollo-Ridge

No. 4 Greensburg Central Catholic vs. No. 13 Chartiers-Houston

No. 5 Seton LaSalle vs. No. 12 Shenango

No. 2 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart vs. No. 15 Carmichaels/Frazier winner

No. 7 Winchester Thurston vs. No. 10 Sto-Rox

No. 3 Serra Catholic vs. No. 14 Aliquippa/South Side winner

No. 6 Burgettstown vs. No. 11 California

Rebel says: There should be some debate at the top between Neshannock and the trio of OLSH, Serra and GCC. However, I went with the defending champion Lancers. I also like the latest district trend of having preliminary round games between tied teams from the same section.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Neshannock vs. No. 16 Ellis School/Springdale winner

No. 8 Fort Cherry vs. No. 9 Apollo-Ridge

No. 4 Greensburg Central Catholic vs. No. 13 Chartiers-Houston

No. 5 Burgettstown vs. No. 12 California

No. 2 Serra Catholic vs. No. 15 Aliquippa/South Side winner

No. 7 Winchester Thurston vs. No. 10 Sto-Rox

No. 3 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart vs. No. 14 Carmichaels/Frazier winner

No. 6 Seton LaSalle vs. No. 11 Shenango

Harlan says: Placing section co-champions Neshannock and OLSH on opposite sides of the bracket is the best approach here, giving each a potential path to the finals. It’s possible they’re the two best team in 2A. However, Serra Catholic (18-1) was the WPIAL runner-up a year ago and won the Section 2 title this season with a perfect record, so I reward the Eagles with the No. 2 seed.

Class A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Rochester – bye

No. 8 Mapletown vs. No. 9 St. Joseph

No. 4 Aquinas Academy – bye

‘No. 5 Clairton vs. No. 12 Eden Christian

No. 2 West Greene – bye

No. 7 Bishop Canevin vs. No. 10 Avella

No. 3 Union – bye

No. 6 Monessen vs. No. 11 Riverview

Rebel says: Rochester and Union tied as co-champs, but the resume of the defending WPIAL champion Rams is strong with good wins and impressive losses. No offense to Union, but West Greene has taken ownership of sorts of No. 2 spot in girls Class A hoops.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Rochester – bye

No. 8 Mapletown vs. No. 9 St. Joseph

No. 4 Aquinas Academy – bye

No. 5 Monessen vs. No. 12 Riverview

No. 2 Union – bye

No. 7 Bishop Canevin vs. No. 10 Avella

No. 3 West Greene – bye

‘No. 6 Clairton vs. No. 11 Eden Christian

Harlan says: Union (19-1) was one of the season’s bigger surprises. The Scotties were unbeaten and seemed headed for the No. 1 seed before losing at Rochester, 44-31, on Thursday. Union had defeated the Rams, 43-41, earlier in the season. Yet, Rochester is now back on top, and Union might fall to No. 3.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .



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