I covered three WPIAL basketball playoffs games over the weekend - Peters Township boys vs. Penn-Trafford on Friday night, the Trinity boys vs. West Mifflin on Saturday followed by the Beth-Center vs. Jeannette girls game. Each game captured my interest in different ways.
Every time I watch Nick Wilcox play basketball, I'm more impressed with his skill set and understand why there are three or four colleges coaches waiting to talk to the Peters Township senior after every game.
Against Penn-Trafford, Wilcox was simply dominant as he scored 23 points to go with 14 rebounds and six assists. My favorite part of his game is his patience. He doesn't force bad shots and lets the offense come to him. Against Penn-Trafford, he knew he had to rebound more due to the absence of 6-6 Derek Redding and he did. What will make PT ttough to beat in the WPIAL bracket is the emergence of senior Steve Radke. A member of the PT boys golf team which finished second in the state, Radke plays like the meanest big man in the WPIAL.
Peters Township is not invincible but it's going to take a supreme effort to beat them.
Trinity has a nice group of coachable kids but the Hillers need a scorer to complement sophomore Josh Valentic. Trinity plays tough defense and is patient on offense, all hallmarks of a well-coached team. Another scorer could turn the Hillers into a section champion.
The Beth-Center girls scored points in bunches during the first half of its playoff game against Jeannette and the Bulldogs surprised everyone but themselves when they held a 35-18 third-quarter lead. They ended up losing 49-47 on a last-second layup by Jeannette's standout player, .
Beth-Center brings back most of its top players next year and the guess here is they'll be the favorites to win Section 5-AA. The Bulldogs have height, depth and good perimeter shooting. That's always a nice combination.
Now, they just have to figure out how to win in the postseason.