3 area hoops teams set for PIAA semifinals

Mar. 18—Three area teams will play in the PIAA tournament semifinals Monday night at sites throughout the state.

Tip-off in all three games involving area teams is at 7 p.m.

Both District 5 and District 6 will be represented in the Class 1A boys semifinals.

—District 5-1A champion Berlin Brothersvalley (27-2), the 2022-23 state runner-up, will play District 3 champion Linville Hill (23-1) at Shippensburg High School. The game is a rematch of a 2023 semifinal.

—District 6-1A champion Bishop Carroll Catholic (18-10) will play District 7 champion Imani Christian Academy (17-10), the defending state champion, at Hempfield Area High School.

The two winners in the Class 1A boys semifinal games will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey.

—District 6 Class 3A runner-up Westmont Hilltop (22-4) will play District 10 champion Mercyhurst Prep (24-3) at Clarion University. The winner will advance to the 3A girls title game at the Giant Center at 6 p.m. Thursday.

This past Friday, Berlin Brothersvalley defeated District 3 fifth-place Lancaster Country Day, 75-48, while Linville Hill Christian beat MMI Preparatory School 65-29.

"They're significantly better than last year," Berlin Brothersvalley coach Tanner Prosser said of Linville Hill after Friday's quarterfinal win. "I mean significantly better. They have more scoring. The guys they replaced, they replaced them with athletes. We're going to have our hands full. I told the guys we're going to have to play our best if we want another crack on the big floor."

Bishop Carroll Catholic used a seven-point margin in the fourth quarter to defeat District 7 third-place Union Area this past Friday at Norwin High School. Sophomore Jace Casses and senior Luke Repko each scored 22 points to lead five Huskies players in double digits.

"It feels amazing. We've worked all year, the offseason, during the season," Repko said after the win. "The team chemistry has been really good and we worked together to get here."

Imani Christian Academy beat District 10 champion Farrell 70-60 at Slippery Rock University Friday. The Saints have won seven straight games and 12 of the past 13.

"This is our third final four," Bishop Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo said of his teams that reached the semifinals in 2014, 2018 and this season.

Overall, the Huskies will make their fifth state semifinal appearance after starting the District 6 postseason as the No. 5 seed.

"This is a group that just keeps plugging away," Aliquo said. "Last year (finishing 6-15 in 2022-23) just made us hungrier. We knew we had to work because no one is going to roll over. We just got to keep battling."

The Westmont Hilltop girls will play in their first PIAA semifinal since the 2006 and 2005 Hilltoppers squads each reached the state championship game in Class 2A, finishing second each time.

Westmont Hilltop upset District 7 Class 3A champion Shady Side Academy 47-41 at Norwin High School this past Friday.

"Everybody is contributing and making huge plays when you least expect it," Westmont coach Brittany Eisenhuth said.

"These girls are playing for each other. Nobody can tell them anything doubt-wise.

"They believe we're going to be the best and beat anybody on the floor."

The Hilltoppers snapped Shady Side's 20-game winning streak, as Westmont Hilltop junior Christiana Gordon scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

"We knew that this team was really good," Gordon said after the win. "They beat a couple amazing teams. We knew we had to stick together and play together, defensively, especially. They have some great players on their team. I felt like their players played very well, but defensively, we had to focus on them more."

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.