20180313-ce-sp Mitchell drive

Ridgway’s Johnny Mitchell (34) looks to drive base line against Johnsonburg’s Nick Bliss during an AML semifinal game earlier this season. Mitchell and his Elker teammates take on Sewickley Academy Wednesday night in the second round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs.

While two of the three basketball teams left in the Tri-County area in the Elk County Catholic boys and the Brookville girls will tip off their second round games tonight, the Ridgway boys will play Wednesday.

Here is a look at their Class AA second round matchup:

(9-2) Ridgway

vs. (7-1) Sewickley Academy

The Elkers have put together quite a season, going 26-1 with their only loss coming in the District 9 Class AA championship game against Coudersport, 66-46.

Now they will face what is easily their biggest challenge to date in Sewickley Academy, the defending state champions and this year’s WPIAL champions who come into the second round with a 22-4 record. The Panthers defeated Cochranton, 83-33, on Saturday in the first round of the state tournament.

The Panthers’ lone losses of the season came against state powerhouses Kennedy Catholic, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Mars, and Lincoln Park.

Sewickley Academy has scored at least 60 points in 22 of their 26 games this year. They’ve reached the 90-point mark three times this season.

Making deep runs through the state tournament is nothing new to Sewickley Academy. The Panthers won the state championship last year over Constitution, 68-63 in overtime, after Constitution beat the Elkers, 59-40, in the quarterfinals.

Before last year’s state championship, Sewickley Academy made the Western Final in Class A before PIAA went to six classifications. The Panthers lost to Kennedy Catholic in the Western Final, 75-61.

In the win over Cochranton on Saturday, Isaiah Warfield led the Panthers with 18 points. Isaiah Smith put in 17 points, while David Groetsch and Nate Ridgeway had 14 apiece.

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday evening from Armstrong High School in Kittanning.

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