Already one of the most acclaimed big men to come out of Western Pennsylvania in recent years, Royce Parham showed Tuesday night that he can be more than just a dominating defender and dunker — at least when he needs to be.

With a back-and-forth game hanging in the balance against one of the top teams in Class 6A, Parham stepped to the free-throw line and converted a clutch go-ahead free throw with six seconds remaining to lift North Hills to a 72-71 victory at home against Butler. The loss marks the first setback of the season for the Golden Tornado (4-1).

“We were down a bunch earlier. It was bad early,” Indians coach Buzz Gabos said. “Then we clawed back and it was nip-and-tuck the whole way in the second half. It’s a good win.”

A highly touted 6-8 junior forward, Parham finished with a team-high 26 points — but he was not alone in double figures for North Hills (3-1), which trailed by 11 after the first quarter. Zach Pollaro chipped in with 15 points while Jake Pollaro scored 11 and freshman Eric James finished with 10.

Braylon Littlejohn scored 26 points for Butler, while Madden Clement added 15.

“Their guards are really good. We knew Littlejohn last year as a sophomore had a heck of a season. And Madden is shooting it out of his mind,” Gabos said. “It was a heck of a game. Really up and down. I’m proud of our guys.”

Fox Chapel’s Jefferson Moorefield-Brown tries to get around Pine-Richland’s Emery Moye Tuesday night at Pine-Richland High School. Pine-Richland won, 65-62. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Pine-Richland boys hand Fox Chapel first loss

Josh Gimbel led four players in double figures for the Rams with 19 points, including five 3-pointers, to hand the defending WPIAL champion Foxes (4-1) their first loss of the season, 65-62. Owen Luellen scored 14, Emory Moye added 12 and Andrew Lamendola finished with 11 for Pine-Richland (2-2). Jefferson Moorefield-Brown led Fox Chapel with a career-high 18 points.

Chartiers Valley boys squeak past Seton LaSalle

Hayden Merchant led all players with 24 points for the Rebels (1-3), but the Colts (4-0) eked out a tough 62-57 home win thanks to 19 points from Jayden Davis and 12 from Drew Sleva.

New Castle boys win battle of blue bloods

Jonathan Anderson poured in a game-high 29 points, and Isaiah Boice chipped in with 18 to lead the Red Hurricanes (4-0) to a 62-51 road win at District 10 powerhouse Hickory.

Franklin Regional boys remain perfect

Harry Sowers led all scorers with 24 points for Hempfield (2-3), but it wasn’t enough to overcome a balanced attack from the Panthers (5-0), who remained undefeated with a 64-50 win. Cooper Rankin paced three players in double figures for Franklin Regional with 21 points.

Allderdice boys keep rolling

Sam Kelly scored 20 points, Major Rainey added 12 and Ethan Anish contributed 11 for the Dragons (4-0) in a 73-44 victory against West Mifflin (1-4).

Bethel Park boys battle past Baldwin

Shawn Davis and Ben Guffey led the way with 19 points apiece for the Black Hawks (4-0), who remained unbeaten with a come-from-behind 56-54 win against Baldwin (3-3). James Wesling led the Highlanders with 17 points.

Moon boys knock off North Allegheny

Elijah Guillory led four double-digit scorers for Moon (2-2) with 16 points in a 56-49 victory against North Allegheny (0-4), which received a game-high 18 points from Joey Dopirak.

Trinity girls cruise to road victory

Maddy Roberts racked up a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Hillers (3-1) in a 61-33 win at Montour. Jordyn Wolfe led the Spartans (1-4) with 16 points.

Three stars

*** — Olivia Waters, North Hills. Waters converted several big shots for North Hills in a 57-48 road win against Canon-McMillan (1-4), finishing with 24 points to help the Indians (4-1) win their fourth consecutive game.

** — Brendan McCullough, Peters Township. Known as one of the most prolific wide receivers in the WPIAL this past football season, McCullough has transitioned seamlessly to the hardwood for the Indians (4-1). He put up 24 points to lead Peters Township to a 70-54 victory against Canon-McMillan (0-4).

* — Vinnie Cugini, Aquinas Academy. No surprise here, as Cugini continued his ascent up the all-time WPIAL leader board with another vintage performance in a 95-92 victory against Leechburg (2-4). Cugini set a season high with 48 points — his fourth consecutive 40-point game — to help the Crusaders (5-0) stay perfect.

Steve is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Steve Rotstein

Steve is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at