Following a surprising WPIAL playoff run in which they advanced to the title game for the first time in 35 years, the Northgate Flames began Saturday what they hope will be a lengthy run in the PIAA tournament with a big win.

Stephen Goetz scored 31 points to lead WPIAL runner-up Northgate to its first PIAA playoff victory in 16 years courtesy of a 67-42 win against visiting McConnellsburg, the District 5 runner-up, in a Class 2A first-round game.

Northgate (20-7), which coming into this season had not won a postseason game in a decade, captured its first PIAA playoff win since 2007 and its seventh all time. 

“I look at it as every time we step on the court, with the support we’re getting from the community, it’s awesome,” Northgate coach Cam Williams said.

Following a slow start in which Williams said his team did not score over the first four minutes of the game, the Flames got hot and eventually took a 42-15 halftime lead against a McConnellsburg team that finished the season with a 22-5 record.

Goetz nailed six 3-pointers for Northgate, while teammate Josh Williams added 22 points.

Next up for Northgate is District 10 champion Erie First Christian (15-10) Wednesday in the second round. Erie First Christian defeated Clairton, 57-37, Saturday. Northgate has advanced past the second round just one time. That came in 1978 when the Flames reached the Class 2A championship.

“They’re very excited,” Cam Williams said of his team. “The whole community is behind us. I think the kids are living in the moment right now.”

Other Class 2A boys

• WPIAL champion Aliquippa (21-6) jumped to a 23-point halftime lead and never looked back on its way to a 65-33 home win against District 9 third-place finisher Karns City (22-6). Qalil Goode paced Aliquippa with 18 points and D.J. Walker had 17.

• Shea Champine poured in 33 points to vault WPIAL fourth-place finisher Bishop Canevin (21-6) to a 70-67 triumph at District 9 winner Clarion-Limestone (25-3). Canevin led, 70-65, before Clarion-Limestone scored to cut its deficit to three with two seconds left. The Crusaders then inbounded and were able to run out the clock.

Eden Christian (20-6), the WPIAL’s fifth-place team, won a PIAA playoff game for just the second time after winning at District 5 champion Conemaugh Township (19-8), 58-50. Ryan Merrick led Eden Christian with 17 points and David Ryan added 13.

• Isiah Petty scored 19 points and Owen Dumbroski added 17 to lead Serra Catholic (16-11), the No. 7 team from the WPIAL, to a 75-62 win against District 6 champion United (25-3) at Central Cambria. Serra also got 15 points from Joey DeMoss and 13 from Pete Burke.

Class 6A boys

• Isaiah Boice scored 19 points and Jonathan Anderson chipped in 18 to help WPIAL runner-up New Castle (23-3) rebound from its championship loss by defeating District 10 champion Erie (16-10), 60-50. The host Red Hurricanes also got 11 points from Da’Jaun Young and 10 from Ralphie Blundo.

Class 3A boys

• WPIAL runner-up and two-time defending PIAA champion Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (20-6) slipped past District 6 third-place finisher Westmont Hilltop (17-8), 71-69, in overtime at South Fayette. Rocco Coladonato (16), Bryson Kirschner (16), BJ Vaughn (14) and Lucca Grisafi (10) each scored in double figures for the Chargers, who have won 11 consecutive PIAA playoff games.

• Makhai Valentine poured in 42 points and became Steel Valley’s all-time leading scorer while propelling the WPIAL third-place Ironmen (16-10) to a 74-60 victory at District 5 champion Bedford (10-15). Valentine now has 1,751 career points.

Central Catholic’s Dante DePante goes to the basket against Wilson Saturday at Gateway High School. Central Catholic won, 50-28. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Neshannock (19-7), the WPIAL’s fourth-place finisher, rallied from 12 points down after three quarters to stun District 10 runner-up Oil City (19-7), 61-59. The visiting Lancers outscored Oil City, 26-13, in the final quarter. Jack Glies led Neshannock with 33 points. He connected on four 3-pointers and was 11 of 14 from the free-throw line.

• A week after winning its first WPIAL title, Deer Lakes (18-8) opened the state playoffs with a 75-34 home win against District 10 third-place finisher Seneca (13-13). Bryce Robson scored 24 points and Billy Schaeffer 17 for the Lancers, who led by 16 points after the first quarter.

• Clayton Cook drilled a 3-pointer at the overtime buzzer to give District 9 champion Brookville (23-2) a 46-43 win against Seton LaSalle (14-12). Brookville outscored Seton LaSalle, 5-2, in overtime. Connor Spratt paced the Rebels with 22 points.

Class 5A girls

• Maddie Webber (21 points) and Erica Hall (20 points) helped vault WPIAL champion South Fayette (25-2) to a 75-33 rout of visiting District 3 eight-place finisher West York (13-14). South Fayette outscored West York, 27-10, in the first quarter. Ava Leroux added 13 points for the Lions.

• Rachel Manfredo scored 16 of her 19 points in the second half to help McKeesport (22-5) rally for a 54-40 home win against District 3 fourth-place finisher Northern (21-5). Kaylee Charles pumped in 18 points for McKeesport, the No. 3 team out of the WPIAL which trailed Northern, 25-19, at the half.

• Hope Hawkins scored a game-high 16 points, including a bucket in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime, but WPIAL fourth-place finisher Woodland Hills (13-14) saw its season end after a 47-44 loss at District 3 third-place finisher Mechanicsburg (20-7).

Mars (18-8), the No. 6 team out of the WPIAL, scored the first 13 points of the game before going on to defeat District 3 runner-up York Suburban (18-10), 49-40. The visiting Planets got 13 points from Vita Vargo and nine apiece from Olivia Donnelly and Lauren Atwell.

• WPIAL fifth-place finisher Trinity (18-8) saw its season come to a close after a 48-30 loss at District 10 champion Erie Cathedral Prep (22-1). Eden Williams scored a team-best 12 points for the Hillers, who trailed, 28-8, at the half.

Class 4A girls

• WPIAL champion North Catholic (23-3) scored 51 first-half points on its way to a 70-44 home win against District 10 fourth-place finisher Conneaut (15-11). Dacia Lewandowski (22), Alayna Rocco (21) and Anna Waskiewicz (15) all scored in double figures for North Catholic. Rocco knocked down five 3-pointers.

• Georgia Weber nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift District 10 runner-up Harbor Creek (20-6) to a 43-40 home triumph against WPIAL third-place finisher Quaker Valley (17-9). Freshman Mimi Thiero led Quaker Valley with 19 points and Nora Johns added 12.

Blackhawk (22-4), the WPIAL runner-up, used a strong start to the second half to create some breathing room and went on to claim a 51-32 home win against District 10 third-place finisher Warren (18-8). Alena Fusetti scored 14 points and Cassie Potts and Aubree Hupp each added 10 for Blackhawk, which used a 6-0 run to start the third quarter to take a double-digit lead.

Knoch (18-9), the WPIAL’s fifth-place team, handed District 9 champion Punxsutawney (22-2) just its second loss, 53-44. The visiting Knights made 11 3-pointers, including four from Nina Shaw, who finished with a game-high 18 points. Cece Kosecki added 12.

• In what was quite the low-scoring affair, District 10 champion Fairview (20-8) slipped past visiting Beaver (15-11), 26-23. Sarah Genusso’s three free throws with 0.1 seconds remaining were the difference. Chloe List led Beaver, the No. 6 team from the WPIAL, with 13 points.

• Playing in the PIAA playoffs for the first time, WPIAL fourth-place finisher Highlands (16-10) saw its season end after a 50-42 loss at District 6 winner Penn Cambria (13-12). Katelyn Myers paced Highlands with 16 points and Kalleigh Nerone chipped in with 13.

Class 1A girls

• Emily Fisher scored 22 points and Violet Johnson added 20 to help WPIAL runner-up Aquinas Academy (17-9) notch its first PIAA win by defeating District 3 third-place finisher Juniata Valley (16-9), 59-45, at Deer Lakes. The Crusaders outscored Juniata Valley, 31-23, in the second half.

• WPIAL champion Union (19-6) raced to a 12-0 lead and never looked back on its way to a dominant 47-9 win against District 9 fifth-place finisher Clarion (11-15). Clarion scored a combined three points in the first, third and fourth quarters. Kylie Fruehstorfer paced Union with 22 points and Kelly Cleaver had 13.

Monessen (17-7), which made headlines this week due to its bus saga, fell behind, 10-1, after one quarter and went on to suffer a 57-30 loss at District 9 champion Otto-Eldred (24-2). Katie Sheeler poured in 30 points for Otto-Eldred. Monessen was the WPIAL’s fifth-place team.

Boys scores

Class 6A first round

Archbishop Wood 61, Central Bucks East 37

Central Catholic 50, West Lawn Wilson 28

Chambersburg 68, Plymouth Whitemarsh 56

Coatesville 68, Scranton 58

Downingtown West 64, Waynesboro 60

Garnet Valley 46, Cumberland Valley 45

Landisville Hempfield 62, Emmaus 59

Lower Merion 66, Williamsport 58

New Castle 60, Erie 50

North Penn 64, Philadelphia Central 52

Parkland 56, West Chester Henderson 39

Reading 74, Haverford 43

Roman Catholic 70, Perkiomen Valley 31

Spring-Ford 56, Central York 46

State College 72, Upper St. Clair 42

Upper Darby 66, Bethlehem Liberty 64 (2 OT)

Class 3A first round

Brookville 46, Seton LaSalle 43

Camp Hill Trinity 72, Vaux Big Picture 45

Deer Lakes 75, Seneca 34

Devon Prep 77, Saucon Valley 50

Executive Education 69, String Theory 49

Franklin 75, Shady Side Academy 43

Holy Redeemer 74, SLA Beeber 71

Loyalsock Township 59, Bishop Guilfoyle 57

Math, Civics & Sciences 82, Palmerton 71

Mid Valley 62, Troy 42

Neshannock 61, Oil City 59

North Penn-Mansfield 68, Delone Catholic 65

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 71, Westmont Hilltop 69 (OT)

Penn Cambria 61, Yough 53

Philadelphia West Catholic 79, Columbia 43

Steel Valley 74, Bedford 60

Class 2A first round

Aliquippa 65, Karns City 33

Bishop Canevin 70, Clarion-Limestone 67

Constitution 63, Delaware County Christian 53

Dock Mennonite 59, Antietam 40

Eden Christian 58, Conemaugh Township 50

Erie First Christian 57, Clairton 37

Holy Cross 47, Minersville 32

Lancaster Mennonite 62, St. John Neumann 61

Mahanoy Area 62, Northwest 53

Mercer 63, Southern Huntingdon 42

Muncy 73, Mount Union 58

Northgate 67, McConnellsburg 42

Otto-Eldred 66, Greensburg Central Catholic 54

Sankofa Freedom 65, Tri-Valley 59

Serra Catholic 75, United 62

West Branch 67, Cambridge Springs 39

Girls Scores

Class 5A first round

Abington Heights 59, Archbishop Ryan 36

Archbishop Wood 62, Mount St. Joseph 47

Bethlehem Catholic 46, Upper Moreland 36

Bishop Shanahan 68, Bangor 36

Erie Cathedral Prep 48, Trinity 30

Gwynedd Mercy 59, Freire Charter 34

Hollidaysburg 64, Lower Dauphin 44

Malvern Villa Maria 48, Scranton 32

Mars 49, York Suburban 40

McKeesport 54, Northern York 40

Mechanicsburg 47, Woodland Hills 44

Oakland Catholic 65, Manheim Central 39

Penn-Trafford 40, Greencastle-Antrim 39

Pittston 51, Samuel Fels 18

South Fayette 75, West York 33

West Chester Rustin 62, Susquehannock 34

Class 4A first round

Allentown Central Catholic 55, Eastern York 46

Audenried 59, Berks Catholic 54

Blackhawk 51, Warren 32

Camp Hill Trinity 46, Central Columbia 45 (OT)

Delone Catholic 57, MaST Charter 27

Fairview 26, Beaver 23

Harbor Creek 43, Quaker Valley 40

Jersey Shore 52, Wyoming Area 39

Knoch 53, Punxsutawney 44

Lansdale Catholic 64, Bishop McDevitt 52

Nazareth Academy 55, E & S Carver 25

Neumann-Goretti 66, North Schuylkill 63

North Catholic 70, Conneaut 44

Penn Cambria 50, Highlands 42

Scranton Prep 68, Lewisburg 35

Wyomissing 69, Parkway Center City 24

Class 1A first round

Aquinas Academy 59, Juniata Valley 45

Berlin Brothersvalley 46, North Clarion 22

Bishop Guilfoyle 56, Bishop Canevin 43

Christian School of York 32, Jenkintown 19

DuBois Central Catholic 64, Jamestown 21

Elk County Catholic 50, Northern Bedford 27

Linville advances by forfeit

Lourdes 38, Nativity BVM 22

Meadowbrook Christian 41, Harrisburg Academy 18

Mountain View 49, Harrisburg Christian 33

Otto-Eldred 57, Monessen 30

St. John Neumann 57, Weatherly 24

Shade 48, Mount Calvary 38

The Christian Academy 55, High Point 33

Union 47, Clarion 9

Williamsburg 86, St. Joseph 40

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

Brad Everett

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