Victories in the WPIAL basketball playoff quarterfinals mean teams move one step closer to the Petersen Events Center, while earning a berth in the PIAA tournament.

The boys and girls teams from Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair and Chartiers Valley, along with the Bethel Park girls team, clinched state tournament berths with victories over the weekend of Feb. 21-22.

Jake Hoffman led the way for the Blue Devils. He scored a career-high 40 points as Lebo crushed Bethel Park 70-48. The senior, who started the season with four straight 30-point games and is averaging 21 points per game, finished with five 3-pointers. He was 15 of 20 from the field and shot 5 of 6 from the foul line.

Blaine Gartley finished with 13 points for the Blue Devils, while Bethel Park (14-9) was led by 10 points each Tom DeRienzo and Dolan Waldo.

USC came from behind to beat Pine-Richland, 62-59, in a quarterfinal game played at North Hills.

Andrew Casey scored 18 points for the Panthers, while. David Pantelis and Luke Gensler finished with 13 points each.

Lebo, USC girls

The Lebo and USC girls teams earned hard-fought wins in their quarterfinal matches. The Blue Devils defeated against Seneca Valley 54-40 and the Panthers knocked off Norwin 52-39.

Patrice Smith led Lebo (18-5) with 15 points. Ashleigh Connor added 13 points for the Blue Devils.

Madelyn Karchut led the Raiders with 26 points.

BP girls advance

Bethel Park (20-2) advanced to the semifinals with a 33-29 win against Fox Chapel.

Olivia Westphal led BP with 11 points.

Meanwhile, the USC girls had a date with No. 2 North Allegheny (20-3) at 8 p.m. Feb. 25 at North Hills after their 52-39 upset win over No. 3 Norwin.

The Panthers used a 30-point, 20-rebound effort from Katelyn Robbins, to knock off the Knights (18-5) in a quarterfinal playoff game at Charleroi. The freshman was 11 of 12 from the free throw line.

Mia Brown finished with 10 points for USC.

CV advances

Chartiers Valley survived to defeat Shaler 52-45 in a quarterfinal game played Feb. 21 at North Allegheny.

Braden Reynolds scored 19 points to lead the Colts.

Shaler’s Meiji Reynolds led all scorers with 21 points. Nick Rispoli and Christian White added 12 and 10 points, respectively.

With the win, CV (19-4) advanced to face Mars (18-5) in the semifinals. The Planets were coming off a 57-44 win over South Fayette (16-8).

In the loss, Brandon Jakiela scored 17 points and Kade St. Ledger added 16 for the Lions.

The CV girls team began the defense of its WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A titles and extended its winning streak to 53 games by knocking off Penn Hills on Feb. 22 at Baldwin. Hallie Cowan scored a game-high 16 points for the Colts.

The win vaulted CV into a semifinal showdown with Thomas Jefferson (18-6) at Mt. Lebanon. The Colts have beaten the Jaguars six times in the past two seasons, including a 42-41 buzzer-beater Jan. 23.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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