Penn Hills took its notoriously stingy defense to a whole new level Friday night.

Already boasting the WPIAL’s No. 1-ranked scoring defense in Class 5A at an average of 44 points allowed per game, the Indians certainly seemed to avoid any semblance of a championship hangover after capturing a WPIAL title last week against Peters Township. Playing host to District 9 champion DuBois (11-14), Penn Hills pulverized its overmatched opponent en route to a 63-20 PIAA first-round playoff victory.

DuBois failed to score more than seven points in any quarter and found itself facing a 33-9 halftime deficit before the Indians stretched the lead to 50-15 going into the final quarter. The performance signaled a return to form for the top-ranked Penn Hills defense after a 70-65 win against Peters Township in the WPIAL title game.

“That’s what we hang our hats on. That’s our culture at Penn Hills,” Indians coach Chris Giles said. “It’s defense first. You’ve got to be tough kids.”

Noah Barren led three players in double figures for Penn Hills with 15 points, while Rob Thomas and Lamire Redman finished with 12 apiece. Thomas also added eight rebounds, while Daemar Kelly finished with eight points and six assists.

The victory sets the Indians up for a second-round showdown on Tuesday with District 3 third-place finisher Hershey, which defeated Gateway Friday in a first-round matchup, 56-55.

“Having an opportunity for our seniors to have another game [at home], it was great,” Giles said. “They really went out and followed the game plan.”

Other Class 5A boys

• Remi Mack muscled his way to a double-double in his first game back from injury for Mars (17-10), scoring a career-high 21 points to go with 12 rebounds, in a 61-49 win against District 3 runner-up Manheim Central (22-7) at Manheim Township High School. Ryan Ceh added a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards for the Planets, who advance to face District 10 champion Cathedral Prep in the second round of the state playoffs on Tuesday.

Class 4A boys

• Few teams can match the scoring balance Highlands achieved Friday, as the Rams (22-5) saw five players finish in double figures en route to an 81-67 win at District 6 champion Johnstown (22-4). Jimmy Kunst led the way with 23 points along with 19 from Cameron Reigard, 14 from Chandler Thimons, 12 from Bradyn Foster and 11 from Jordyn Tavarez. Highlands will now rematch WPIAL champion Lincoln Park on Tuesday, with hopes of avenging an 87-64 WPIAL defeat at the hands of the Leopards in the WPIAL semifinals.

• Eric Weeks led all scorers with 26 points to power Hampton to a 61-44 win at District 10 champion Grove City (16-10). The Talbots (24-3), who are still are playing without star junior Peter Kramer for the remainder of the postseason due to PIAA transfer rules, will now attempt to advance to the quarterfinal round by getting past Laurel Highlands, which defeated Clearfield Friday, 82-59.

Class 1A boys

Austin Milliner scored a game-high 25 points for Carlynton in a commanding 65-35 victory against District 5 runner-up Southern Fulton (19-7) at McConnellsburg High School. With the win, the Cougars (18-7) are now in line for a second-round showdown against District 9 champion Elk County Catholic on Tuesday.

Class 6A girls

• Jasmine Timmerson and Kellie McConnell each scored 18 points to lead WPIAL Class 6A champion North Allegheny (21-5) to a 76-53 home win against Manheim Township (17-11), the seventh-place finisher from District 3. Lydia Betz also added 15 points and Caroline Henderson scored 11 to round out the balanced offensive attack, as North Allegheny finished with 13 made 3-pointers.

WPIAL Class 6A champion North Allegheny will meet Mt. Lebanon in the second round of the PIAA girls tournament. (Alexandra Wimley/Union Progress)

• Clare Cramer scored a game-high 16 points and Jenny Smith tacked on 12 for Mt. Lebanon (18-8) in a 58-50 win at District 6 champion Altoona (17-10). The Blue Devils blew open the game with an 18-point second quarter for a 10-point halftime lead. Mt. Lebanon now will square off with WPIAL Class 6A champion North Allegheny on Tuesday for the first time this season with a trip to the PIAA quarterfinals on the line.

Class 3A girls

• WPIAL champion Avonworth (20-5) continued its hot streak with a 40-34 win against District 3 third-place finisher Forest Hills (22-6) at North Hills High School. Greta O’Brien scored a game-high 16 points for the Antelopes to go with 11 points from Becca Goetz, sending Avonworth to the second round to take on section rival Our Lady of the Sacred Heart on Tuesday for the fourth time this season.

• Kyleigh Nagy scored 18 points and Mia Grisafi chipped in 11 for Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (20-7) in a 60-42 triumph at District 10 runner-up Wilmington (21-5). The Chargers will now attempt to avenge a trio of losses to WPIAL champion Avonworth, including a 43-25 defeat in the WPIAL quarterfinals, when the teams square off in the second round of the PIAA tournament.

Class 2A girls

Emile Fedrizzi led all scorers with 21 points for WPIAL champion Shenango (23-4), and the Wildcats kept their dream season alive after pulling away late for a 50-43 home win against District 6 fourth-place finisher Marion Center (14-13). Janie Natalie added 15 points and Kylee Rubin contributed 14 for Shenango in the school’s first-ever PIAA home playoff game, and the Wildcats will now face District 10 third-place finisher Lakeview in the second round on Tuesday.

Three stars

*** — Erica Gribble, Greensburg Central Catholic. Gribble scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Centurions to a 55-33 win at District 5 champion Windber.

** — Rylee Kalocay, Upper St. Clair. One of the top sophomores in the area, Kalocay helped the Panthers erase the sting of their WPIAL championship defeat by scoring a game-high 30 points in a 56-34 win against visiting McDowell.

* — Max Hurray, North Catholic. Hurray was in no hurry to see his junior season come to an end, surpassing 1,000 points for his career while scoring a team-leading 25 points for the Trojans in an 89-65 rout against District 10 runner-up Hickory.

Boys scores

Class 5A first round

Cathedral Prep 47, South Fayette 45

Exeter Township 62, Fox Chapel 57

Hershey 56, Gateway 55

Mars 61, Manheim Central 49

Mechanicsburg 56, North Hills 52

Penn Hills 63, DuBois 20

Peters Township 60, Milton Hershey 53

Class 4A first round

Hampton 61, Grove City 44

Highlands 81, Johnstown 67

Laurel Highlands 82, Clearfield 59

Lincoln Park 80, South Allegheny 63

North Catholic 89, Hickory 65

Uniontown 81, Berks Catholic 69

Class 1A first round

Carlynton 65, Southern Fulton 35

Elk County Catholic 67, Neighborhood Academy 47

Farrell 75, Geibel Catholic 62

Imani Christian 78, Clarion 43

Union 65, Kennedy Catholic 45

Girls scores

Class 6A first round

Mt. Lebanon 58, Altoona 50

North Allegheny 76, Manheim Township 53

Norwin 34, Central Dauphin 19

Upper St. Clair 56, McDowell 34

Class 3A first round

Avonworth 40, Forest Hills 34

Chestnut Ridge 70, Keystone Oaks 57

Laurel 57, Sharpsville 31

Mercyhurst Prep 73, Waynesburg 35

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 60, Wilmington 42

Shady Side Academy 54, Karns City 19

Westmont Hilltop 48, Neshannock 42

Class 2A first round

Bishop McCort 64, Freedom 58

Burgettstown 57, United 52

Greensburg Central Catholic 55, Windber 33

Homer-Center 43, Chartiers-Houston 20

Kennedy Catholic 77, Brentwood 20

Maplewood 65, Aliquippa 47

Shenango 50, Marion Center 43

Redbank Valley 63, Serra Catholic 36

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