With just three Tri-County Area teams advancing to the PIAA second round, two hail from Class A on the boys side in Elk County Catholic and Clarion-Limestone.
All three area teams left competing in the PIAA tournaments are on the boys side, as the third is District 9 champion Ridgway in Class AA.
Both Elk County Catholic and Clarion-Limestone are set to play second round contests Tuesday.
The District 9 champion Crusaders will travel to Slippery Rock University to take on WPIAL runner-up Vincentian Academy at 6 p.m.
The Lions, who finished third in District 9 will face Cornell, the third place finisher out of the WPIAL, at Armstrong High School in Kittanning at 7:30 p.m.
The winners of the two games will face off in Friday’s quarterfinal round at a site and time to be determined.
Here is a closer look at the two second round games:
(9-1) Elk County Catholic vs. (7-2) Vincentian Academy
Last season both teams saw their seasons come to an end in the second round of the state playoffs, as this season they face off with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
In 2018 the Royals, who were the WPIAL champs, were defeated 60-56 in the second round by District 5 champion Shade.
The Crusaders entered last season’s state tourney as the District 9 runner up after being upset by Johnsonburg in the title game, then saw their season come to an end with a 57-47 loss to Bishop Carrol, last season’s champs out of District 6.
ECC and Vincentian Academy would have met in the third round last season if they had both advanced, but instead it was Shade and Bishop Carrol who faced off in the quarterfinals.
Bishop Carrol advanced with a 68-54 win, before losing to eventual state champion Kennedy Catholic, the District 10 champ, in the semifinal round.
Kennedy Catholic, who had won three Class A state titles in a row from 2016-18, made the jump to Class 6A this season.
This season the Crusaders and Royals fates in their respective district title games were flipped.
Elk County Catholic (26-1) bounced back from losing in last year’s D-9 championship game by defeating North Clarion for the title.
On the other side, Vincentian Academy (12-10) fell short of claiming back-to-back WPIAL titles, as it was defeated by Nazareth Prep in the championship game.
In the opening round, the Crusaders used a strong second half to defeat WPIAL sixth-place finisher Leechburg 65-41, as ECC outscored the Blue Devils 38-18 in the second half, including 20-6 in the third quarter.
ECC was led by a big night from Regis Wortman, who scored a game-high 23 points, while Alex Breindel also finished in double figures with 14.
The duo have led the team in scoring throughout the season, each averaging more than 12 points per game.
The Royals outscored St. Joseph’s Academy, the third place team out of District 6, in every quarter on their way to a 76-65 opening-round win.
Vincentian was led by a game-high 22 points from Alex Griggs, while Ethan Embleton followed with 19 points in the win.
Angelo Reeves, who is the team’s leading scorer with 17 points per game, finished with 14 in the first-round victory.
The team’s only common opponent this season is Leechburg, who the Crusaders defeated by 24 in the first round Friday, while the Royals topped the Blue Devils 58-49 Feb. 22.
(9-3) Clarion-Limestone vs. (7-3) Cornell
The Lions advanced to the second round by stunning District 6 champion Juniata Valley in the opening round with a 62-51 win.
On the other side, the Raiders picked up a 56-50 win over Shanksville, the runner up out of District 5.
Both teams used strong second quarters to power them to their opening-round victories.
For Clarion-Limestone (23-4) it was a 15-7 edge in the second that helped it take a 26-17 lead into the half on the way to victory.
The Lions were powered by a big game from Hayden Callen, who finished with game-high 31 points, while Deion Deas added 13 and Ian Callen also finished in double figures with 12.
The trio have led C-L all season, as Deas is the team’s leading scorer with just over 20 points per game, while Ian Callen is averaging close to 18 points per game and Hayden Callen has scored 16 points per game.
Cornell (18-6) outscored Shanksville 21-9 in the second quarter to take the lead after facing an 11-6 deficit after one quarter of play.
The game was tied at 37 heading into the final quarter of play before Cornell held a 19-13 edge in the fourth to secure the win.
The Raiders were led by their top scorer in Kaden DiVito, who scored a game-high 19 points in the first-round win, while Luke Piccolo added 15 and Zaier Harrison had 12.
DiVito, a junior guard, was the WPIAL’s leading scorer in Class A heading into the playoffs as he averaged 26.2 points per game in the regular season.
Harrison is also averaging close to 15 points per game, while Isiah Langston adds 13 points per game for Cornell.