Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Them Again? Same Teams Run Section 3

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Them Again? Same Teams Run Section 3

Article excerpt

The book on the 2012-13 season closed last March, but the opening chapter of the 2013-14 season has played out just as it did last winter.

Class AAAA Section 3 -- likely the most talented section in the WPIAL -- is the central character and, as we begin the new year, the plot is beginning to thicken.

"The section is equally as strong as any we've had since I've been involved," said Hampton coach Joe Lafko, who is in his 18th season. "As you go into the new year, New Castle is undefeated, North Allegheny is undefeated and Hampton is undefeated."

In other words, it's d 3;j vu all over again. New Castle (8-0), Hampton (10-0) and North Allegheny (9-0) are a combined 27-0. Last year at this time, they were also 27-0. They are the Post-Gazette's top three teams in Class AAAA and all are ranked in the top 10 in the state.

In addition to the terrific trio, Seneca Valley (6-3) has been solid and teams such as Pine-Richland (4-5) and North Hills (5-5) have shown glimpses of potentially making runs at a playoff spot.

"There's no doubt it's the best section in Quad-A," North Allegheny coach Dave DeGregorio said.

Last season, New Castle, Hampton, North Allegheny and Seneca Valley all made it to the WPIAL semifinals. New Castle, which went 14-0 in the section, topped Hampton in the title game for the second season in a row.

Could we see a repeat of last season?

"I would be surprised only because it's a hard thing to do," DeGregorio said. "There are still a lot of good teams in the other sections. Could it happen? Sure, it could happen again. Four of these teams could do it."

Some of the numbers so far are staggering. Hampton (83.2 points per game), New Castle (80.8) and North Allegheny (79.2) are the three highest-scoring teams in Class AAAA. Seneca Valley (70.3) is fifth. Hampton is giving up the second-fewest points in Class AAAA at 46.2.

Hampton has won each game by at least 21 points and has beaten its three section opponents by an average of 43. New Castle has won all but one game by at least 17 points, and North Allegheny has double-digit victories in all but one game -- a 71-69 win Dec. 20 at Seneca Valley.

Section play resumes tonight and there will be some excellent matchups in the coming days, beginning tonight when New Castle hosts Seneca Valley. …

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