For Plum coach Rich Mull, it’s still too early to tell how his team will stack up against the rugged competition in Class 5A Section 1, but he certainly likes what he sees from the Mustangs so far.

Thanks to a 31-point performance from senior guard Megan Marston, Plum (3-0) surged out to an early lead against visiting Beaver (2-1), then pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 62-38 nonsection win in a battle of unbeaten teams on Monday. Sophomore Riley Stephans also contributed 10 points for the Mustangs on the night.

“I just thought we moved the ball pretty well,” Mull said. “[Marston] was able to put the ball on the floor, she was able to drive a little. The jump shot was there. … A little mix of everything. It was pretty balanced tonight, for her.”

Sami Springman led the way for the Bobcats with 12 points in the defeat, while Annsley Baker finished with 11.

“They play hard,” Mull said. “We just hit some shots and made some free throws. I said to be patient and run the offense.”

Plum jumped out to a 20-9 lead after the opening quarter, but Beaver hung around until late in the second half, keeping the Mustangs’ advantage at single digits going into the final quarter while trailing, 41-33. It was all Plum in the fourth quarter, though, as the Mustangs outscored the Bobcats, 21-5, to polish off an impressive victory.

“We had a good weekend. It was nice to keep it going tonight,” Mull said. “I told them that last year, we had some positives at the beginning of the season, and as the season went on, we kind of lost our focus a little bit. We just weren’t as consistent as the year went on. So hopefully our execution and some consistency can be there for us, night in and night out.”

Plum has seen steady improvement in its first two-plus seasons under Mull, rising from 5-10 overall in the 2021-22 season to 12-11 overall last season. Now, with an impressive 3-0 start on the Mustangs’ resume, Mull believes his team could be ready to take the next step toward title contention — but first things first, taking care of business in a loaded section.

“I’ve told them from day one, our expectations are high and we expect to get more competitive each year, and I think we’ve done that,” Mull said. “I think we need to be more consistent this year. … They’re not satisfied, but they were obviously happy. We don’t play for several days, so it will give us a chance to work on some things.

“We have a tough schedule. There’s nobody who is not competitive, and the section is really tough. It’s going to be a journey.”

Beaver’s Annsley Baker tries to get the ball past Plum’s Megan Marston on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at Plum High School. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Other girls games

• Violet Johnson scored a team-high 20 points, Emily Fisher added 19 and Ellie Junker chipped in 15 for returning WPIAL Class 1A finalist Aquinas Academy in an exciting 77-67 road win at Mohawk in double overtime.

• Kent State recruit Meghan Murray led the way for Hampton (1-2) in a 61-21 road win at Deer Lakes (1-2), scoring a game-high 24 points to go with 17 from Kat Milon in the Talbots’ first win of the season.

• Star senior Emma Paul poured in a game-high 21 points and Kyla Fitzgerald tacked on 13 for Armstrong (3-0) in a 48-29 win against visiting Pine-Richland (0-3). Madison Zavasky led the Rams with 17 points in the defeat.

• Nadia Davis registered a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds for Canon-McMillan (2-1), and Lauren Borella added 14 points along with a dozen from Samantha Miller in a 53-23 home win against Albert Gallatin (0-1). Mya Glisan led the Colonials with 10 points on the night.

• Caylee Sundy scored a game-high 22 points for Hopewell (1-2), but it wasn’t enough to take down Beaver Falls on the road in a 46-39 win for the Tigers. Taylor Pullen led the way for Beaver Falls (3-0) with 16 points to go with 13 from Cali Legzdin and 12 from Avina Norman.

Jeannette (1-2) picked up its first win of the season against visiting Springdale (1-2), with the trio of Venicia Vignoli (16 points), Mary Jones (16 points) and Adriana Allison (15 points) combining to score all but one of the Jayhawks’ points in a 48-37 triumph. Ashlyn Federbar finished with 14 points to lead the Dynamos.

• Angelina Jones led a trio of double-digit scorers for Ellis School (2-1) with 16 points in a 62-16 win against visiting Hillel Academy (0-1). Kallie Kristian added 14 points, and Taelor Spencer chipped in 11 for Ellis.

Plum’s Riley Stephans looks to pass as Beaver’s Sami Springman tries to block her on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at Plum High School. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Three stars

*** — Liam Gallagher, Greensburg Central Catholic. Gallagher tied for the team lead with 20 points and drained four 3-pointers for the preseason WPIAL Class 2A title favorites in an 82-37 blowout win at Ligonier Valley.

** — Casey Brancato, Burrell. Brancato brought her A-game in a 66-4 win against visiting Valley, scoring a game-high 30 points in the lopsided victory for the Buccaneers.

* — Kaley Rohanna, Waynesburg. Rohanna was a one-woman machine on Monday, outscoring Carmichaels by herself while tallying 28 points in a 72-25 victory for the Raiders.

Hot from deep

Players with 3 or more 3-pointers: Liam Gallagher, Greensburg C.C., 4; Geelece Ingram, Uniontown, 4; Kaley Rohanna, Waynesburg, 4; Lauren Borella, Canon-McMillan, 3; Cali Legzdin, Beaver Falls, 3; Alayna Simon, Carmichaels, 3.

Boys scores

Greensburg C.C. 82, Ligonier Valley 37

Hopewell 74, New Brighton 54

Southmoreland 76, Frazier 50

Uniontown 97, Washington 40

West Shamokin 58, Apollo-Ridge 36

Girls scores

Allderdice 54, Ambridge 18

Armstrong 48, Pine-Richland 29

Aquinas Academy 77, Mohawk 67 (2OT)

Beaver Falls 46, Hopewell 39

Beth-Center 45, Mapletown 25

Burgettstown 47, Apollo-Ridge 25

Burrell 66, Valley 4

Canon-McMillan 53, Albert Gallatin 23

Connellsville 42, Uniontown 37

Ellis School 62, Hillel Academy 16

Frazier 72, Sto-Rox 32

Hampton 61, Deer Lakes 21

Jeannette 48, Springdale 37

Keystone Oaks 50, West Mifflin 33

Laurel Highlands 57, Brownsville 33

Plum 62, Beaver 38

Riverside 28, New Brighton 20

Thomas Jefferson 57, Southmoreland 10

Waynesburg 72, Carmichaels 25

West Allegheny 50, New Castle 14

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