5 players to watch in the opening round of the WPIAL boys basketball playoffs | TribLIVE.com
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Chris Harlan

The five-day forecast calls for cold weather across Western Pennsylvania, but here are five WPIAL boys basketball players worth braving the wind chill to watch.

All five are in action during the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.

Keandre Bowles, Woodland Hills, senior

Bowles was the WPIAL’s leading scorer in the regular season at 29.3 points per game. The 6-foot-3 guard helped Woodland Hills reach the WPIAL Class 6A semifinals last season. This year, now in Class 5A, the Wolverines earned the No. 4 seed.

Woodland Hills (17-5) faces No. 13 West Allegheny (9-13) at 8 p.m., Monday at Mt. Lebanon.

Johnny Crise, Highlands, junior

The 6-foot-7 forward averages 16.2 points but also is a double-digit rebounder many games for Highlands, which drew the No. 5 seed in Class 4A. Robert Morris was the first school to offer Crise a Division 1 scholarship last year.

Highlands (15-7) plays No. 12 Belle Vernon (8-14) at 8 p.m., Wednesday at North Hills.

Deamontae Diggs, McKeesport, junior

The 6-foot-5 forward averages a double-double for McKeesport with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Diggs set a school single-game scoring record Jan. 8 when he had 42 points and 20 rebounds against Woodland Hills (Bowles scored 43 that night).

No. 9 McKeesport (11-9) plays No. 8 Shaler (15-7) at 8 p.m., Monday at Fox Chapel.

Keeno Holmes, Lincoln Park, senior

The 6-foot-2 guard is trying to lead Lincoln Park to consecutive WPIAL Class 3A titles. He’s averaging a team-best 17.5 points as one of three double-digit scorers for the top-seeded Leopards. He recently announced a college offer from Clarion.

Lincoln Park (18-4) faces No. 16 Shady Side Academy (9-11) at 1:30 p.m., Saturday at Fox Chapel.

Ethan Morton, Butler, junior

Morton is the biggest college recruit in the WPIAL today. The 6-foot-6 guard has scholarship offers from Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan, Virginia, Wisconsin and many others. Morton is averaging 27 points for Butler, which earned a No. 5 seed in Class 6A.

Butler (17-4) plays No. 12 Connellsville (8-14) at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Canon-McMillan.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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