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2016-2017 WPIAL Boys Basketball PREVIEW

The year of major change around the WPIAL has made it through one season and now it's the winter sports, specifically boys basketball, that gets a taste of the new expanded six classifications. New rivalries, fewer playoff teams in each class and more champions crowned in the end. Here is a preview of players to watch and teams to beat with our MSA Sports Preseason Top Ten teams in each class.

WPIAL CLASS 6-A:

Players to Watch:

Tyler Frederick - Butler

Austin Butler - Latrobe

Jake Biss - Latrobe

Nick Smith - North Hills

Sherron Schifino - Penn Hills

Andrew Petcash - Pine-Richland

Phil Jurkovec - Pine-Richland

2015-2016 WPIAL Girls Basketball REVIEW

Before we look ahead to the upcoming WPIAL girls basketball season, let's look back at the 2015-2016 campaign where Vincentian Academy earned their one for the thumb with a fifth straight district title while Norwin in AAAA were able to repeat as WPIAL champs. Meanwhile, South Fayette in AAA and Bishop Canevin in AA won titles a year after losing in the finals the previous season. none of those four WPIAL champs were able to add state gold to their title pot, but Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic was back on top in the PIAA for the Trojans first state crown in over 20 years. Here is a look back at the 2015-2016 WPIAL Girls Basketball regular season standings, WPIAL postseason results and PIAA state playoff finals from a year ago.

2015-2016 WPIAL Boys Basketball REVIEW

WPIAL Class AA champion Aliquippa was not only the lone district team to repeat as district champions, but they were also the only WPIAL team to bring home state gold in the PIAA playoffs after both Allderdice from the City League and Mars in AAA made it to Hershey, but settled for silver. The Quips joined Pine-Richland in Class AAAA, Beaver Falls in Class AAA and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic in Class A as well deserved WPIAL basketball champs from the 2015-2016 campaign. Here is a look back at the season with the WPIAL Boys Basketball regular season standings, WPIAL postseason results and PIAA state playoff final scores from a year ago.

Top FOUR teams in ALL sections qualify for the WPIAL playoffs:

Big Game Hunting for State Finals

And then there were four. Four WPIAL teams still alive as we head to the final weekend of the 2016 high school football season in the state of Pennsylvania. That final week takes place here in 2016 in week 15, as opposed to week 16 in years past. Doesn’t feel any different to me, the weather is still going to be frigid, and despite the number of teams in Hershey, I am willing to bet attendance won’t be very different with games being played on school or work days and school or work nights. The teams that are in Hershey are very familiar as well. So one year in, the staff at Big Game Hunting, after a secret ballot, has officially declared its hatred for six classifications.

MSA Sports Frozen Fab Five PIHL Rankings

Here are the inaugural MSA Sports Sports Frozen Fab Five rankings of PIHL high school hockey teams in each of the four classifications for the 2016-2017 high school hockey season. Don't miss the latest rankings every Wednesday during the regular season, plus PIHL Notebook every Tuesday on our website and the weekly Chatham University PIHL Power Play Show every Wednesday night at 8:00pm. We also have audio and video game broadcasts and center stage interviews as well here on the home of the best PIHL high school hockey coverage, the MSA Sports Network.

PIHL CLASS 3-A:

1)   NORTH ALLEGHENY TIGERS  (7-1-1)
(Last Week *)

WPIAL Plays of the Week - Week Fourteen

The WPIAL has almost always enjoyed strong showings in the state football playoffs, as the district boasts the most PIAA football titles ever. With the expanded classifications, five WPIAL teams had an opportunity to advance to Hershey. While West Allegheny's terrific season came to an end, the other four representatives all advanced. Thus, this week's installment highlights the plays that helped send each team to "Chocolate World."

1. Beaver Falls 14, Central Martinsburg 7

WPIAL Alum Q&A - Quad Law

While the football season is still ongoing for four WPIAL teams, the majority of high school and college teams have concluded their seasons. For many seniors at both levels, it's the final time they will play in a competitive game. Former Ringgold star Quad Law recently concluded his college career at Gannon University, but he made quite an impact in his many years on the gridiron.

Scholastic Notebook

Clairton’s Lamont Wade and Steel Valley’s DeWayne Murray have run their way into the WPIAL record book. They are two of only seven runners in WPIAL history to rush for 6,000 yards in a career.

While the yards are impressive, maybe the thing that is most impressive about the two is how many yards they gain every time they touch the ball. The yards-per-carry average of both Wade and Murray is among the best in WPIAL history.

Wade is now the third-leading rusher in WPIAL history with 7,005 yards while Murray is sixth with 6,418 yards. But what’s incredible is that both are averaging 11 yards a carry for their career. Wade has carried 604 times for an 11.6-yard average, while Murray has carried 576 times for an average of 11.1.

This Week on the MSA Sports Network

We officially conclude the fall high school sports season while opening up full throttle on the winter high school sports season on the first full week of December this week on the MSA Sports Network. We have coverage of four PIAA Championship Football Games featuring Clairton, Steel Valley, Beaver Falls and Pittsburgh Central Catholic and their quest for a state title from Hershey. We also tip off the 2016-2017 high school basketball season with plenty of tip-off tournament roundball action as well as PIHL high school hockey and women's college basketball featuring Carlow University, plus it's the season debuts of Inside the WPIAL Wrestling Circle on Mondays and The PIHL Power Play Show on Wednesdays ALL here at MSAsports.net

Monday, December 5th:

Friday HighLights AND Saturdays Scholastic Starz

Five WPIAL champions entered the State Semifinals with hopes of collecting more gridiron gold, and four keep that championship dream alive with victories to earn a trip to Chocolate Town. While Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Beaver Falls, Steel Valley and Clairton advanced to Hershey with wins on Friday or Saturday, only WPIAL 5-A champ West Allegheny saw their season come to an end two wins shy of a state crown. Here are the district standouts who helped lead their team to the PIAA Finals or refused to go quietly into the cold goodnight.

J.J. Younger - Pittsburgh Central Catholic

PIAA Football Semifinals Recaps

The WPIAL has never won more than three state football championships in a single season under the old four classification format. Now in the first year of the expanded six classes postseason, the district has four teams headed to the finals. In the Final Four of the 2016 PIAA Playoffs, the WPIAL was a four for five as Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Beaver Falls, Steel Valley and Clairton all won their Semifinals contests to advance to the state championships next weekend in Chocolate Town. The lone WPIAL champ that saw their season end was West Allegheny in 5-A on Saturday. Here are recaps from the five games, all of which were broadcast here on the MSA Sports Network.

WPIAL Alum Q&A - Jawan Turner

When George Novak retired as the football coach at Woodland Hills earlier this month, he left a legacy of helping hundreds of players continue their careers at the college level. One of Novak's success stories is Jawan Turner, a standout defensive lineman at California University of Pennsylvania. Turner, who has been instrumental in the Vulcans undefeated season, is the focus of this week's WPIAL Alum Q&A.

Big Game Hunting for Week Fourteen

Before we start this week’s Big Game Hunting, we would like to extend our sympathy to the family of DiMantae Bronaugh, the Aliquippa community and the WPIAL community as well, DiMantae’s battle with leukemia could not have been fought more fiercely or with more class. I pray it continues to bring us all closer together and, that he will be remembered forever. To the PIAA semi-finals we send five WPIAL Champions, for the first time ever. All five semi-finals featuring WPIAL teams will be right here on the MSA Sports Network for those of you who cannot make the sometimes considerable drive to follow your clubs. No choices to make means no complaints to the boss, which makes these next two weeks my favorite two weeks of the season to go Big Game Hunting!

WPIAL Plays of the Week - Week Thirteen

While four WPIAL champions were crowned two weeks ago at Heinz Field, last weekend the 1A and 2A titles were on the line at Robert Morris. Meanwhile, three WPIAL representatives began their path in the state playoffs, and two of those teams claimed victory. This week's edition of the best plays includes a superstar's game-changing pick 6 in 1A, the long touchdown that started a rout in 2A, and two district teams getting the job done in the first quarters en route to PIAA victories.

1. Clairton 26, Jeannette 6

Friday HighLights AND Saturdays Scholastic Starz

Pittsburgh Central Catholic, West Allegheny and Thomas Jefferson won their gold on 11/18 at Heinz Field and began their quest for more gold this past weekend in the PIAA Quarterfinals while Beaver Falls got a rare weekend off. Steel Valley and Clairton claimed their WPIAL titles this past Saturday at Robert Morris University. Here are the five players who stood above the rest in four district wins and one season ending loss.

J.J. Younger - Pittsburgh Central Catholic

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