WPIAL First Round Basketball: February 18, 2019

GIRLS (All Games In Class 4A, First Round)

6:30pm
Quaker Valley vs. Freeport (at North Allegheny)
Apollo-Ridge vs. Southmoreland (at Norwin)
Elizabeth Forward vs. Knoch (at Mt. Lebanon)
Belle Vernon vs. Keystone Oaks (at Peters Twp.)
McKeesport vs. Greensburg Salem (at Fox Chapel)

BOYS (All Games In Class 5A, First Round)

8:00pm
West Allegheny vs. Woodland Hills (at Mt. Lebanon)
Chartiers Valley vs. Albert Gallatin (at Peters Twp.)
Franklin Regional vs. Thomas Jefferson (at Norwin)
Shaler vs. McKeesport (at Fox Chapel)
Montour vs. Hampton (at North Allegheny)

Denny Hamlin cruises to 2nd Daytona 500 victory in 4 years

Denny Hamlin cruises to 2nd Daytona 500 victory in 4 years
By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing Writer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Denny Hamlin came to the Daytona 500 determined to honor his late car owner with a victory.
He delivered with a storybook tribute for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Hamlin won NASCAR’s biggest race for the second time in four years Sunday, leading JGR in a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium in overtime. The race and the season have been dedicated to J.D. Gibbs, Joe Gibbs’ eldest son who died last month after battling a degenerative neurological disease.
J.D. Gibbs helped his father start the race team, ran it while Joe Gibbs was coaching the Washington Redskins, was a tire changer on the team’s first Daytona 500 victory and the one who discovered Hamlin during a test session at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Hamlin was hired to drive the No. 11 — the number J.D. Gibbs used when he played football — and J.D. Gibbs’ name is on the Toyota.
When Hamlin stopped his car along the frontstretch to collect the checkered flag, he immediately credited J.D. Gibbs.
“The whole family, they did so much for me over the course of my career, and this one is for J.D,” Hamlin said. “We are desperately going to miss him the rest of our lies. His legacy still lives on through Joe Gibbs Racing and proud to do this for them.”
Hamlin was met in victory lane by the entire Gibbs family, including J.D.’s widow and four sons.
“He meant a lot to me and it’s hard for me not getting choked up because I’ve been choked up about 100 times about it,” Hamlin said. “Just to have Melissa (Gibbs) and all the kids here, it’s just crazy.”
Joe Gibbs, the Hall of Fame NFL coach with three Super Bowl victories, ranked the tribute win to his son first in his career accomplishments.
“It is the most emotional and biggest win I’ve ever had in my life, in anything,” Gibbs said. “It was the most important night in my occupational life. I know J.D. and everybody in my family was emotional.”
Kyle Busch and Erik Jones finished second and third as JGR became the second team in NASCAR history to sweep the Daytona 500 podium. Hendrick Motorsports did it in 1997 with Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte and Ricky Craven.
Busch, now winless in 14 Daytona 500s, was initially openly disappointed in falling short.
“He’s got two, I’ve got none, and that’s just the way it goes sometimes,” Busch said.
But he reiterated the JGR and Toyota goal of working together to win the race and noted he didn’t have much of a shot at beating Hamlin because the field had been decimated by a flurry of late accidents.
“Was trying to make sure one of us gets to victory lane, first and foremost,” Busch said. “There wasn’t enough cars out there running at the end. I don’t know how it would have played out.”
The Cup Series slogged through three uninspiring exhibition races during Speedweeks to cause concern over a potentially disappointing main event. Jim France, who took over as chairman of NASCAR last August, used the pre-race driver meeting to ask the drivers to liven up the activity. Hamlin and Chase Elliott were the rare drivers to use the bottom lane in the exhibition races while the rest of the field ran single-file along the top.
“I hope a few of you drivers out there will get down on the bottom with Denny and Chase and put on a good show today,” France told the field.
The drivers obeyed and delivered an action-packed and wreck-filled running of “The Great American Race.”
There was an accident on pit road, a 21-car crash, 12 cautions and five wrecks in the final 20 laps of regulation. The race was stopped twice for cleanup totaling nearly 40 minutes in the final stretch. During the second red-flag, one of NASCAR’s track-drying trucks broke down while cleaning oil off the racing surface.
Hamlin and Busch alternated as the leaders during the handful of late restarts, and the final rush to the checkered flag was a push to hold off Ford driver and reigning NASCAR champion Joey Logano. The Ford camp went 1-2-3 in both of Thursday’s qualifying races and was favored to win the Daytona 500.
Logano, who started his career at JGR, settled for fourth and also took a moment to honor J.D. Gibbs.
“I’m not a Gibbs driver but for what J.D. has done for my career is the reason why I’m sitting here today,” Logano said. “As bad as I want to win it, it is pretty cool to think that the first race after his passing, to see those guys one, two, three, it just says he’s up there watching and maybe gave (those) guys a little extra boost there at the end.”
Michael McDowell was fifth in a Ford but aggravated Logano by not working with him in the two-lap overtime sprint to the finish.
“I just told him that my team doesn’t pay me to push Joey Logano to a win,” McDowell said.
Ty Dillon was sixth in the highest-finishing Chevrolet.
The race featured eight drivers making their Daytona 500 debuts and rookie Ryan Preece, a short track racer from New England, was best in class with an eighth-place finish. Ross Chastain, the eighth-generation watermelon farmer who lost his main ride for this year when the FBI raided his sponsor right before Christmas, finished 10th,
Jamie McMurray, the 2010 winner, led six laps and was in the mix until he was collected in one of the late accidents. He finished 22nd in his final race before retirement.
William Byron and Alex Bowman were the youngest front row in race history but had little to show for it after the race. Bowman finished 11th and Byron, the pole-sitter, was 21st.
Hamlin last year suffered through his first winless season in the Cup Series and made a crew chief change during the offseason. When he won the 500 in 2016 it was his debut race with crew chief Mike Wheeler, and this victory came in his first race with Chris Gabehart.
Hamlin’s first Daytona 500 victory was in a photo finish against Martin Truex Jr. and the celebration was a blur. This one, he said, he will enjoy.
“I think I was so dumbfounded about everything that happened the first time with the photo finish and everything,” Hamlin said. “This one lets me soak it in a little bit more. I’m going to have a terrible hangover tomorrow, but I’m going to enjoy it the rest of my life.”
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More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Pens beat Rangers 6-5. Malkin and Letang score two goals each

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang each had two goals, and the Pittsburgh Penguins climbed back into playoff position with a 6-5 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday.
Defensemen Marcus Pettersson and Brian Dumoulin also scored for the Penguins (31-21-7), who leapfrogged the Carolina Hurricanes for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
Mats Zuccarello had two goals, and Kevin Hayes and Mika Zibanejad scored over the game’s final 5:46 for the Rangers, who couldn’t complete a second rally after erasing a 3-1 deficit to tie it late in the second period.
The Rangers were not able to take the lead during a four-minute power play that spanned the second intermission. Forty-nine seconds after that penalty expired, Letang took a feed from Sidney Crosby and beat goalie Alexandar Georgiev.
Malkin then scored twice in a span of 2:31 to give him four goals in two games since serving a one-game suspension for a stick-swinging incident.
Crosby had three assists to give him 11 points in his past five games, helping to atone for the high-sticking double-minor that gave the Rangers a prime chance to take the lead.
The Penguins had won just seven of their previous 17 games to fall in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2005-06.
Malkin has had, by his standards, an off season. But he has points in seven consecutive games that he has played over the past month, interrupted by missing five games with an upper-body injury and the one game because of suspension.
Letang opened the scoring 16:11 into the game. He has 15 goals, one off his career high set in 2015-16.
It was the first time all season the Penguins got four goals from defensemen.
Zuccarello’s goals were his 10th and 11th, each tying the game. Ryan Strome also scored for New York, which had won three of its previous five.
NOTES: The Rangers scratched D Brady Skjei (lower-body injury sustained during Friday’s game), C Brett Howden (MCL sprain) and RW Jesper Fast. Fast scored during Friday’s win but has reportedly been dealing with an undisclosed injury. … Penguins D Chad Ruhwedel was in the lineup for the third consecutive game after having not played prior to that since Nov. 19. … Penguins LW Tanner Pearson was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive day after he had been in the lineup for every game since his acquisition from the Los Angeles Kings in November.
UP NEXT
Rangers: New York wraps up a four-game trip Tuesday at Carolina.
Penguins: Continuing a stretch of four divisional matchups over a five-game span, the Penguins play at New Jersey on Tuesday.
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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins scoring updates Sunday, February 17, 2019

 First Second Final 
Pittsburgh Penguins

136
New York Rangers 135
GoalsPitt-Letang (14)
NYR-Zibanejad (10) PPG
Pitt-Petterson (2),Dumoulin (2)
NYR-Zuccarello(11), Strome (8)
Pitt-Letang(15),Malkin(17),Malkin(18)
NYR-Hayes (14), Zibanejad (26)

Jameson Taillon named Pirates’ opening-day starter

Jameson Taillon named Pirates’ opening-day starter
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Jameson Taillon will be the Pittsburgh Pirates’ opening-day starter.
The right-hander will pitch March 28 against the Reds at Cincinnati, manager Clint Hurdle said Saturday. It will be the first opening-day start of Taillon’s four-year career.
Taillon was 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts last season.
“It’s a big honor to kick off the season for the boys, try to set the tone,” Taillon said at the Pirates’ spring training camp. “Obviously, I care about the body of work but it’s a big honor. Growing up as a fan of baseball, there was a certain (aura) about being the opening-day starter.”
Chris Archer will start the home opener April 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“We put two men in play to represent the club and get us out of the blocks well in the first four games of the season,” Hurdle said.
Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove will pitch the second and third games at Cincinnati. The Pirates are undecided on a fifth starter.
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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Ready, Aim, Tweet; Brown fires at Roethlisberger, Tomlin

Ready, Aim, Tweet; Brown fires at Roethlisberger, Tomlin
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Antonio Brown’s laundry list of issues with the Pittsburgh Steelers appears to include a problem with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s leadership style and how head coach Mike Tomlin treated the Pro Bowl wide receiver during the regular-season finale against Cincinnati.
Brown, who has requested a trade, took to Twitter on Saturday to vent in what amounted to his first expanded public comments since a falling out with the organization that has left his future with the club very much in doubt.
Asked by a Twitter user about the root of his conflict with Roethlisberger, Brown responded “No conflict just a matter of respect! Mutual respect! He has a owner mentality like he can call out anybody including coaches. Players know but they can’t say anything about it otherwise they meal ticket gone. It’s a dirty game within a game. #truth.”
Roethlisberger does not hesitate to take teammates to task publicly, a right the two-time Super Bowl winner says he has earned. While rarely overtly critical of Brown this season, Roethlisberger on one occasion declined to name Brown specifically when asked about the benefits of having a No. 1 receiver, instead naming just about every receiver on the roster.
Brown also called out Tomlin for the way he handled Brown during the course of the final week of the regular season. The team sent Brown home two days before the game and ordered him to get some rest and have his knee examined. Tomlin said afterward Brown did not have the exam and did not communicate with the team until early on the morning of the day of the game when his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, contacted Tomlin and said Brown would be available to play.
Brown arrived at the stadium in time but did not dress after the team made him inactive. He watched the first half from the sideline but was not around postgame after Pittsburgh won 16-13. The victory, however, did not help the Steelers extend their season. They missed the playoffs after finishing 9-6-1.
“After the coach tell the team I quit while nursing some bumps then invite me to watch the show with same guys thinking I quit,” Brown tweeted . “I can not stand with that! I’m the bad guy doe (sic) we miss post season think about it.”
Brown is expected to meet with Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II — who has declined to disparage Brown despite futile attempts to communicate with the nine-year pro — in coming days. Any such sit-down — if it even happens — appears to offer no chance at reconciling.
Brown tweeted he “Loves Steelers Nation everything to my heart” but said “no more” when asked any comeback might be in the offing.
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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

No. 22 Virginia Tech beats Pitt 70-64

Blackshear’s 29 power No. 22 Virginia Tech by Pitt 70-64
By WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kerry Blackshear Jr. was mid-answer when the sight of a couple of Virginia Tech teammates recording his postgame interview with phone in hand became a bit too intrusive.
“I’m panicking, boy,” Blackshear said. “You’ve got to get that off me.”
It was the first time all day the junior forward looked rattled. Blackshear poured in a season-high 29 points during a near flawless performance to lead the 22nd-ranked Hokies to a 70-64 victory over slumping Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Blackshear overwhelmed the undersized Panthers. He made 8 of 9 shots from the field, including all three of his 3-point attempts, and went 10 of 11 from the free throw line in addition to grabbing nine rebounds as Virginia Tech (20-5, 9-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) reached the 20-win mark for the fourth consecutive season.
The last three wins have come despite missing senior point guard Justin Robinson, who remains out indefinitely with a toe injury. After an initial wobble — the Hokies lost two of their first three without Robinson — they have found their footing behind Blackshear.
“We have to play through him,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “He’s our best defender. He’s our best scorer. He’s our best passer. He’s our best playmaker and he has the best basketball IQ on our team.”
The Hokies relied on it when necessary against the Panthers. Blackshear scored a career-high 31 on 12-of-16 shooting last year against Pitt and was even more efficient this time around. Jumpers. Putbacks. Layups. Dunks. He was dominant from nearly start to finish no matter who the undersized Panthers put on him.
“I think they did a really good job of throwing different looks,” Blackshear said. “A couple of times I was like, ‘Oh wow.’ I didn’t know who was guarding me. They did a really good job of monstering, double-teaming the post but I found whoever was open.”
Though Pitt (12-14, 2-11) kept scrapping — at one point 6-3, 185-pound freshman Trey McGowens threw Blackshear to the floor as the two battled for a loose ball — the Panthers dropped their ninth straight.
Xavier Johnson led Pitt with 18 points. Sidy N’Dir chipped in 12 points and six rebounds but every time the Panthers appeared ready to make a push, the Hokies responded. When Johnson’s 3-pointer drew the Panthers within 48-46 with 7:28 to go in the second half, Virginia Tech knocked down three straight 3s of its own —including one by Blackshear to extend the advantage to 59-47.
“It’s an example of a veteran team, a team that’s been together and had some experience, that’s used to winning, to step up and make plays when we had momentum,” first-year Pitt coach Jeff Capel said.
Pitt eventually cut it to 63-56 on a pair of free throws by Johnson with 1:58 remaining and created a turnover in the backcourt when N’Dir stepped in front of a pass. Panther guard Kham Davis drove to the basket for a layup but the bucket was waved off when officials called Davis for a charge.
Blackshear immediately converted two free throws at the other end to make it 65-56 and Virginia Tech did just enough down the stretch to win its fourth consecutive meeting with Pitt.
CAVALIERS AWAIT
The Hokies’ poise down the stretch allows them to briefly exhale before a visit by fourth-ranked Virginia on Monday. The Cavaliers rolled in an 81-59 victory on Jan. 15. The Hokies know they need to be better in all phases this time around.
“Got to keep our poise,” Blackshear said. “I think they score just as good as anybody in the country. Defend just as good as anybody in the country. It’s going to be a big game. Cassell is going to be rocking. We look forward to it.”
STAYING UPBEAT
A year after going winless in the ACC, Pitt’s initially promising 2-2 start in the conference under Capel has faded though he remains impressed by his team’s effort.
“I understand how hard this is going to be and it’s not a quick fix,” Capel said. “We won a couple of games early and it changed some expectations for all of us. I think I’ve had a pretty good perspective on this. It’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s frustrating. We want to be better, but we’re getting better.”
BIG PICTURE
Virginia Tech: The Hokies seem to have overcome the offensive issues that plagued them as they tried to deal with the absence of their second-leading scorer in Robinson. Virginia Tech shot 51 percent (21 of 41) from the floor and 10 of 21 from 3-point range after shooting 48 percent in a win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
Pitt: The problem for the Panthers is in some ways a matter of mere physics. The Panthers lack the size to create any sort of offensive threat inside, allowing teams to play zone and force them to chuck it from deep. Defensively there’s little they can do against a legitimate post presence like Blackshear.
UP NEXT
Virginia Tech: The Hokies fell behind by 22 in the first half in the initial meeting with the Cavaliers and never recovered.
Pitt: Visits Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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This story has been corrected to show that Blackshear’s first name is Kerry.

St. Francis (Pa.) over Robert Morris 72-69

King carries St. Francis (Pa.) over Robert Morris 72-69
LORETTO, Pa. (AP) — Jamaal King had 23 points as St. Francis (Pa.) stretched its win streak to seven games, narrowly beating Robert Morris 72-69 on Saturday night.
Mark Flagg had 12 points and three blocks for St. Francis (14-11, 10-4 Northeast Conference). Keith Braxton added 11 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Isaiah Blackmon had seven rebounds for the hosts.
Koby Thomas had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Colonials (13-14, 8-6). Matty McConnell added 13 points. Josh Williams and Charles Bain had 10 points apiece.
The Red Flash improve to 2-0 against the Colonials on the season. St. Francis defeated Robert Morris 76-73 on Jan. 31. St. Francis takes on St. Francis (NY) at home on Thursday. Robert Morris plays LIU Brooklyn at home on Thursday.
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For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com

New-look Daytona 500 has a certain throwback feel

New-look Daytona 500 has a certain throwback feel
By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing Writer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Among those trying to win the Daytona 500 this year are a Florida watermelon farmer, a short-track champion from New England, a television analyst and a 22-year-old whose career nearly was derailed by a brain tumor.
The front row is the youngest in Daytona 500 history and it will be William Byron, a Liberty University student who had his wisdom teeth removed in the offseason, leading the field to green in Sunday’s showcase race to kick off the NASCAR season.
The overall look of the nation’s top racing series has undergone a transformation the last few seasons and proof is plastered on the hood of Corey LaJoie’s car. His full facial-haired face adorns his Ford Mustang, which easily makes him the most recognizable driver among the eight Daytona 500 rookies in the field.
“He looks like he’s going to eat you every lap,” quipped Clint Bowyer.
LaJoie’s paint scheme for his low-budget team is courtesy of sponsor Old Spice, which chose “The Great American Race” to promote its dry shampoo. Manscaped.com bought the space on the back of Landon Cassill’s car, Bubba Wallace signed Aftershokz headphones for the race. After Casey Mears made the field — his first race in two years — skateboard rim maker Rim Ryderz joined his program.
This Daytona 500 is unlike any in recent memory and truly highlights the dramatic loss of star power from just four years ago. The 2015 race featured Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Bobby Labonte, Michael Waltrip and Danica Patrick. All are now retired.
Some of the big-money sponsors in that race included Lowe’s, Target, Dollar General, GoDaddy and 5-Hour Energy. All have since pulled out of NASCAR.
What remains is a new-look NASCAR that nonetheless has a throwback feel.
NASCAR was built on the premise that if a budding driver or team owner could scrape together the funds to field a car, they could bring it down to the beach and try to make the big show. As the sport exploded past its Southern origins, it became nearly impossible for a new driver to claw his way into a ride.
But change has created opportunity — even second and third chances for a guy like Ross Chastain. The eighth-generation watermelon farmer impressed a sponsor with his work ethic and landed a career-changing ride with unexpected funding. Federal agents raided the sponsor right before Christmas, but Chastain still managed to land a seat for his first Daytona 500.
Ryan Preece bounced back and forth between NASCAR and New England short tracks before finally gambling on his future. He settled for a part-time job with a competitive team because he believed he could show his true talent if given the right equipment. Now he’s also a Daytona 500 rookie.
Same with Matt Tifft, who learned he had a brain tumor four races into his 2016 season. Or Daniel Hemric of Kannapolis, North Carolina, who followed hero Dale Earnhardt Sr. from the old mill town into a ride with Richard Childress Racing.
Parker Kligerman, a part-time racer and full-time television personality, raced his way into his second Daytona 500.
“Watching this race last year, I literally thought I’d never drive a Cup car again, never have another chance in the Daytona 500,” Kligerman said. “I’m doing TV full-time. It just didn’t seem like I was really getting anyone’s attention. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t find the right opportunity, couldn’t find a sponsor.”
“I went off and did the TV thing. You’ve seen drivers do that before, where they do something to up their profile, then they get back in a ride. It kind of feels like it’s finally all starting to work.”
Kligerman works for NBC Sports and so does Earnhardt Jr., his broadcast partner who will drive the first pickup truck to pace the race. It is an unexpectedly heavy NBC Sports promotion in a race broadcast by rival Fox.
Despite all the hardscrabble hopefuls who at various times figured they’d never make it to NASCAR’s biggest stage, the super teams still exist and the stars are the favorites.
Hendrick Motorsports and its four fast Chevrolets at the start of Speedweeks went 1-2-3-4 in time trials. Byron, who is 21, and 25-year-old teammate Alex Bowman swept the front row for qualifying and gave Chevrolet an early boost in its effort to defend last year’s Daytona 500 victory with Austin Dillon .
Still, Ford drivers swept both podiums in the pair of 150-mile qualifying races to load rows two, three and four with the brand new Mustang. Ford competed last year with the Fusion, winning 19 of 36 races and its first Cup title in 14 seasons, and is eager to make an immediate statement with its sportier new race car.
Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano, previous Daytona 500 winners, led the Ford charge. Logano and Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski are listed as 8/1 favorites in betting lines.
Jimmie Johnson ended a 19-month losing streak with a victory in a Speedweeks exhibition race, but he triggered a 16-car accident while making his race-winning pass. Then contact with Kyle Busch in a qualifying race increased the scrutiny around Johnson, who has a new sponsor Ally Financial and a new crew chief for the first time since his 2001 debut.
The Toyota bunch has yet to stand out from the crowd, which doesn’t bother Martin Truex Jr. His 0-for-14 skid in the in the Daytona 500 is longest among active drivers, but he knows he’s got a chance Sunday.
“Out of the 40 cars, how many have a legit shot at winning? Probably 25,” he said.
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More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

W.P.I.A.L. High School Basketball Playoffs Scoreboard, Friday February 15, 2019


 

Friday, February 15, 2019:

                                   Girls  Class 2A First Round Games
Aliquippa
Ellis School       WBVP/WMBA
37
47    Final 
Burgettstown
OLSH      
30
50     Final 
Chartiers-Houston
Laurel
16
63     Final
Riverview
South Side
41
52    Final 
Sto-Rox
Serra Catholic     
29
59    Final 
Winchester Thurston
Frazier
60
56     Final
                                  Boys Class 1A First Round Games
Clairton
Union
69
76   Final
Leechburg
Bishop Canevin
59
40  Final
Geibel Catholic
Greensburg Central Catholic
35
62    Final
West Greene
St. Joseph
45
78   Final