Coming off a WPIAL championship appearance and a 22-win season that included an undefeated mark in section play, the Knoch girls certainly had high expectations coming into this season.

A 2-4 start might have quieted the hype surrounding the Knights from the outside, but inside the locker room, Chris Andreassi and his players never panicked. Now, Knoch (13-6, 8-2) sits all alone Thursday night in second place in Class 4A Section 1 after a crucial 48-43 win at Greensburg Salem (13-7, 5-5). The Knights now have won four games in a row and 11 of their past 13 overall.

“This is a new team. This is a new year,” Andreassi said. “Every year is a new story. December was just one chapter of the story, and our story hasn’t been fully written yet. And I think they have really worked hard to write their own story this year.

“We’re playing our best basketball of the year right now.”

Nina Shaw and Naturelle Ewing scored 15 points apiece to lead the way for Knoch in pivotal road win, while Megan Vasas contributed 10 points to help spark a third-quarter comeback. The Knights trailed at halftime, 26-17, before storming back to tie the score heading into the fourth quarter.

Knoch’s full-court press defense reigned supreme in the final quarter, holding the Golden Lions to only 5 points in the game’s final eight minutes. Kait Mankins finished with 14 points to lead Greensburg Salem.

“I told them afterward that I was very proud of them,” Andreassi said. “It was a big win for them. And it meant a lot to them.”

Now, the Knights turn their focus to a home game Monday against Valley before traveling to North Catholic Thursday for their section finale. The Trojanettes have won 90 consecutive games in section play, but Andreassi is confident his players won’t shy away from the challenge.

“We’ll give it our best shot. They’re not going to back down,” Andreassi said. “We’ll go in and see what happens.”

South Allegheny’s Alyssa McCutcheon looks to pass in a game against host Seton LaSalle. (Alexandra Wimley/Union Progress)

Other girls games

• Oakland Catholic flexed its muscles with a dominant 77-47 victory at Penn-Trafford, extending its winning streak to 16 games in a row and clinching at least a share of the Class 5A Section 3 crown. Halena Hill led the Eagles (18-2, 11-0) with 17 points to go with 16 from Alexa Washington and 14 from Rachel Haver. Olivia Pepple led all scorers with 19 points for the Warriors (13-5, 6-4).

• Rachael Manfredo and Kaylee Charles scored 15 points apiece and Brooke Evans added 10 to keep McKeesport‘s section title hopes alive in a 62-37 win against Thomas Jefferson (8-10, 2-7), which received a game-high 17 points from Laekyn Flinn. The Tigers (17-3, 9-1) will play host Tuesday to Penn-Trafford before traveling to Oakland Catholic Thursday for a game that will likely decide the Class 5A Section 3 title.

• In a matchup between two of the top guards and leading scorers in Class 5A, Emma Paul and Armstrong outdueled Meghan Murray and Hampton for a 48-42 win. Paul scored 20 points to lead the way for the River Hawks (17-3, 8-3), while Murray finished with a game-high 21 for the Talbots (13-6, 7-3).

Three stars

*** — Iyanna Wade scored 33 of Clairton’s 35 points against Class 2A powerhouse Serra Catholic, but it wasn’t quite enough for the Bears to pull off an upset in a 47-35 loss.

** — Maggie Spell continued her stellar freshman season with a game-high 32 points, including five 3-pointers, to help Shady Side Academy earn a big road win at Mount Pleasant, 63-38.

* — Kaley Rohanna scored a game-high 20 points to lead host Waynesburg to a 48-40 win against Yough, surpassing 1,000 points for her career on her final basket of the game.

Hot from deep

Players with 3 or more 3-pointers: Isabel Chapparo, Riverview, 6; Mairan Haggerty, Neshannock, 5; Addie Lonergan, Seton LaSalle, 5; Amber Sallee, Bentworth, 5; Maggie Spell, Shady Side Academy, 5; Mya Glisan, Albert Gallatin, 4; Alexa Washington, Oakland Catholic, 4; Lauren Hansen, Beaver, 3; Halena Hill, Oakland Catholic, 3; Kyleigh Nagy, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 3; Elle Snyder, Latrobe, 3; Katerina Tsambis, Riverview, 3.

Boys scores

Neighborhood Academy 50, Hillel Academy 18

North Catholic 66, Central Valley 47

Girls scores

Aliquippa 59, Rochester 22

Apollo-Ridge 60, Deer Lakes 37

Armstrong 48, Hampton 42

Beaver 60, Central Valley 30

Belle Vernon 53, Laurel Highlands 45

Bishop Canevin 66, Eden Christian 44

Burgettstown 51, Fort Cherry 28

California 52, Bentworth 48

Charleroi 48, South Park 43

Chartiers-Houston 51, Frazier 28

Geibel Catholic 44, Mapletown 31

Highlands 50, Derry 20

Indiana 68, Franklin Regional 31

Knoch 48, Greensburg Salem 43

Latrobe 65, Albert Gallatin 43

Laurel 60, Beaver Falls 39

Ligonier Valley 49, Burrell 43

Lincoln Park 50, Moon 49

McGuffey 45, Brownsville 42

McKeesport 62, Thomas Jefferson 37

Mohawk 51, Ellwood City 40

Monessen 43, West Greene 32

Neshannock 65, Riverside 32

North Allegheny 56, Butler 29

North Catholic 70, Valley 24

North Hills 59, New Castle 50

Northgate 28, Sto-Rox 25

Norwin 48, Hempfield 26

Oakland Catholic 77, Penn-Trafford 47

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 57, East Allegheny 26

Penn Hills 46, Plum 32

Pine-Richland 45, Seneca Valley 34

Quaker Valley 42, Hopewell 37

Riverview 58, Jeannette 27

Serra Catholic 47, Clairton 35

Seton LaSalle 63, South Allegheny 43

Sewickley Academy 47, New Brighton 15

Shady Side Academy 63, Mount Pleasant 38

Shenango 69, South Side 51

South Fayette 65, Montour 24

Steel Valley 48, Ellis School 41

Trinity 66, West Allegheny 37

Uniontown 36, Ringgold 33

Upper St. Clair 73, Chartiers Valley 44

Waynesburg 48, Yough 40

West Mifflin 68, Southmoreland 27

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