Following the opening weekend of the PIAA basketball playoffs, nine area teams - six boys and three girls squads - remain in the march toward Hershey.
On Tuesday, three boys teams will face second-round opponents at two different sites.
At Hempfield High School in Greensburg, District 6 Class A runner-up Bishop Carroll will play WPIAL champion Vincentian Academy in a 5 p.m. game. Then, in a Class AAA contest set for approximately 8 p.m., five-time District 6 champion Greater Johnstown will play District 7 runner-up Chartiers Valley.
The Huskies handed the Royals their lone loss, an 83-81 setback in January in Pittsburgh, while the Trojans advanced to the second round of the state playoffs for the fourth straight season.
The other area game on Tuesday, is the clash of District 9 champ Johnsonburg and District 5 champion Shade in a single game at Bald Eagle High School in Wingate. Both squads are having impressive seasons. The Rams (27-2) had a one-point loss to Smethport, which was avenged in the district semifinal, and a loss to Ridgway, which was avenged in the district title game. The Panthers (26-1) lone loss came against rival Shanksville-Stonycreek.
On Wednesday, a pair of area Class AA squads will square off at Richland High School at 7 p.m. as District 5-AA champ Conemaugh Township takes on District 6-2 Northern Cambria. Since the loss to Shade in the WestPAC title game, the Indians have won four straight, including PIAA victories over District 8 champ Westinghouse in a play-in game and the opening-round victory over District 7-5 Brentwood. The Colts (22-5) senior group have 80 victories during their high school careers and have advanced to the state playoffs all four years.
The Bishop McCort boys also will play a Class AA game on Wednesday, facing District 10 champion West Middlesex at 7:30 p.m. at Clarion University. The Big Reds had to go five overtimes against Lakeview to win 71-65 in the district title game, then had another overtime tussle against Jeannette in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
In girls’ action on Wednesday, District 5-3 Class A Berlin Brothersvalley makes its way to the second round for the first time under coach Rachel Prosser. The Mountaineers opponent is the very physical District 7 champion Vincentian Academy, which shot poorly but rebounded well in its opening round win over Keystone. Berlin will face the Royals in a 6 p.m. game at Hempfield.
Also in Class A, District 5-A champion Conemaugh Township will play District 9 champ Clarion Area at 6 p.m. at Indiana High School. The Indians, who were in Class AA last season, advanced to the second round for the second straight season.
The other game on Wednesday has the District 6-AAA champion Forest Hills girls facing District 7-4 Blackhawk in a 7:30 game at Hempfield. Freshman Jill Scott hit the game-winning 3-pointer to lift the Rangers to their first-round win over District 7-5 Hampton. The Cougars crushed District 9 champion Bradford 86-46 in the opening round.
Duly noted: Two players topped 1,000 points for their careers in first-round playoff games - Johnstown’s Phillip Madison and Conemaugh Township’s Lyndy Baer. ...The three District 5 Class A girls teams - Conemaugh Township, Southern Fulton and Berlin Brothersvalley - were 3-0 on Saturday while the District 6 Class AA girls - Blairsville, Bellwood-Antis and Westmont Hilltop - were 0-3 on Friday. ...Somerset County teams were 4-1. ...District 5 champions were 3-1 with only the Everett girls losing in Class AA. ...In District 6, champions were 3-5 with Greater Johnstown (Class AAA boys), Forest Hills (Class AAA girls) and Bishop Guilfoyle (Class A girls) winning in their first-round games.
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat.