(Bracket available in media gallery, below the picture.)
The WPIAL officially invited Baldwin High School's varsity girls basketball team on Tuesday night to its 2013 AAAA championships tournament—sort of.
Baldwin (10-11 overall), which finished its 2012-13 regular season with an , will have to play Greater Latrobe High School (9-13 overall) this Friday in a play-in, or "pigtail" game, in order to reach the first round of the tournament.
The Highlanders' win over Bethel Park put them into a fourth-place tie in AAAA's Section 4 and clinched one of the WPIAL's very final postseason berths. And despite playing in the ultra-competitive Section 4, which also includes No. 1-ranked Mt. Lebanon High School, Baldwin's sub-.500 overall record was enough to give the bracket-makers a reason to delegate the Highlanders to a play-in game.
Baldwin Head Coach Gavin Prosser wouldn't say that he was disappointed with his team's seeding.
"We are excited about the opportunity that we have in front of us," Prosser said. "The only thing I'm focused on right now is making sure our girls are as prepared as they could possibly be for Latrobe."
Latrobe also finished in a fourth-place tie in its section (Section 1) to eek its way into the playoffs. Nevertheless, the Wildcats will act as the home, or higher-seeded, team on Friday night when they play Baldwin at neutral-site Penn-Trafford High School at 6:30.
The winner of the Baldwin-Latrobe game will advance to the first round of the tournament to face powerhouse North Allegheny High School (19-3 overall)—the tournament's No. 2 seed—on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at a place and exact time to be determined.
The Highlanders will need three straight postseason wins to guarantee a spot in the PIAA, or state, playoffs. The winner of every WPIAL quarterfinals game automatically qualifies for that tournament, as does the team that loses in the quarterfinals to the eventual WPIAL champions.
Baldwin has won at least one WPIAL playoffs game in each of the past four seasons and at least one PIAA playoffs game in three of those seasons.
This is the first postseason game for Latrobe since the 2007-08 season.
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