Standing 5 feet 5, Armstrong’s Emma Paul is oftentimes the smallest player on the court.

But on Thursday, Paul produced the biggest scoring performance in school history.

Paul set a pair of school records by scoring 45 points and making 10 3-pointers while helping Armstrong pick up an important 78-70 win at Mars in Class 5A Section 2.

“She was simply amazing,” Armstrong coach Jim Callipare said. “She’s just a phenomenal athlete. She’s the total package. She does all the little things and she’s super competitive. She put the team on her back and willed us to a win.”

Paul, a senior point guard and four-year starter, actually made only two 2-point shots in the game. Other than that, it was all 3-pointers and free throws. She finished 11 of 12 from the line. All of Paul’s free throws came in the fourth quarter when she put up 20 points.

Paul said the 45 points she collected were her most ever at any level. And while Paul said she didn’t feel any differently while shooting around in warmups, she had a feeling something special was about to happen when she made four 3-pointers in the opening quarter.

“Once I got in the game and hit a couple 3’s, I felt really good,” she said.

Sarai Weaver added 18 points for Armstrong (7-4, 2-2), which trailed, 55-54, after three quarters. Vita Vargo and Carmella McDole scored 17 points apiece for Mars (6-5, 2-1).

Armstrong’s 78 points were also the most in the program’s nine-year history.

“She put the team on her back down the stretch,” Callipare said. “They were pressing us and double- and triple-teaming her, but she’s so strong willed and skilled. It’s just a tough combination to deal with.”

Baldwin’s Kate Lucarelli dribbles to the hoop while pursued by Chartiers Valley’s Lilah Turnbull during Thursday’s game at Chartiers Valley. (Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Other girls games

• Payton Collins knocked down a shot with 19 seconds left to lift Mt. Lebanon (6-5, 3-1) to a 35-34 home win against Upper St. Clair (6-6, 1-2) in Class 6A Section 2. Clare Cramer led Mt. Lebanon with 14 points and Collins added nine. Ryan Prunzik and Kate Moore scored nine points apiece for Upper St. Clair, which played without injured star Rylee Kalocay.

• Ella Cupka’s 22 points propelled host Chartiers Valley (8-1, 3-0) to a 57-55 overtime win against Baldwin (6-5, 0-4) in Class 6A Section 2. Emma Reynolds chipped in 13 points for the Colts, who won their fifth game in a row. Lynsey Bernotas scored 20 points for Baldwin.

Seneca Valley (9-2, 2-1) pushed its win streak to nine games courtesy of a 56-51 win against visiting Hempfield (7-4, 0-2) in Class 6A Section 1. Natalie Hambly led the Raiders with 20 points and Emerson Peffer added 11.

• Kellie McConnell scored 19 points and Lydia Betz had 18 to help North Allegheny (7-1, 1-1) rebound from its first loss by winning at Pine-Richland (2-7, 1-1), 57-33, in Class 6A Section 1. Madison Zavasky paced Pine-Richland with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

• Alayna Rocco scored 22 points and freshman Brady Wehner added 20 as North Catholic (5-4, 4-0) snapped Greensburg Salem’s nine-game win streak by defeating the visiting Golden Lions, 62-35, in Class 4A Section 1. North Catholic held a 36-18 halftime lead. Kait Mankins led Greensburg Salem (10-2, 2-1) with 15 points.

• Alena Fusetti (six) and Andrea Kinger (four) combined to make 10 3-pointers while leading Blackhawk (10-2, 2-0) to a 67-28 win at Hopewell (5-6, 0-2) in Class 4A Section 2. Fusetti finished with 20 points and Kinger had 16.

• Adah Fuller scored 19 points and Karlee Buterbaugh added 14 to help Knoch (6-4, 2-1) claim its fourth consecutive win, 51-16, against visiting Derry (4-8, 1-3) in Class 4A Section 1. Knoch has held each of its past four opponents to 30 or fewer points.

• Karis Thomas scored 15 points to help Shady Side Academy (8-2, 2-0) roll to a 55-24 win against visiting Burrell (7-2, 1-1). Maggie Spell and Leah Buford chipped in 12 points apiece for the Bulldogs, who held a 42-14 lead at the half.

• In a battle of one-loss teams, Waynesburg (11-1, 2-0) raced to a 15-point first-quarter lead and coasted to a 62-32 win against visiting McGuffey (9-2, 0-2) in Class 3A Section 4. Waynesburg’s Kaley Rohanna connected on five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 26 points.

Rochester (6-4, 3-0) stayed unbeaten in Class 2A Section 1 following a 43-36 win against visiting Freedom (5-6, 3-1). Aleaya Mercier and Avah Williams each scored 12 points for Rochester, while Olivia Henderson led Freedom with 14 points.

• Erica Gribble and Mya Morgan scored 26 points apiece to propel Greensburg Central Catholic (7-2, 3-0) to a 66-53 win at Serra Catholic (7-2, 2-1) in Class 2A Section 3. The Centurions led, 32-19, at the half. Bri Battles paced Serra with 20 points and Abby Genes tacked on 16.

• Janine Vertacnik picked up her 350th career coaching win while guiding host Monessen (5-1, 2-0) to a 59-33 win against Jefferson-Morgan (2-10, 0-2) in Class 1A Section 2. Madison Johnson (13 points) led a group of four Monessen players scoring in double-figures.

• Julie Spinelli’s 19 points helped host St. Joseph (9-2, 2-0) win its fourth game in a row, 56-28, against Jeannette (5-4, 0-1) in Class 1A Section 3. Freshman Adriana Allison scored a team-high 13 points for Jeannette, which played with five players.

Chartiers Valley coach Mike Semplice directs his team during their 57-55 overtime win against Baldwin on Thursday. (Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Three stars

*** — Raney Staub, Fort Cherry. Staub poured in a game-high 24 points, including the 1,000th of her career, while leading host Fort Cherry (7-3, 2-0) to a 51-24 win against Brentwood (4-6, 1-1) in Class 2A Section 2.

** — Payton Newman, Neshannock. Newman scored nine of her game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter to propel host Neshannock (6-4, 2-0) to a 62-40 win against Laurel (2-9, 0-2) in Class 3A Section 1.

* — Savaughn Wimbs, West Mifflin. Wimbs scored 25 points to help West Mifflin (5-4, 3-0) remain unbeaten in Class 4A Section 3 following a 48-16 win at Uniontown (2-7, 0-3).

Hot from deep

Players with 3 or more 3-pointers: Emma Paul, Armstrong, 10; Alena Fusetti, Blackhawk, 6; Kaylee Rohanna, Waynesburg, 5; Mary Vargo, Baldwin, 4; Andrea Kinger, Blackhawk, 4; Adah Fuller, Knoch, 4; Shyan Tindall, Laurel, 4; Bella Antonacci, Indiana, 3; Brady Wehner, North Catholic, 3.

Boys score

Summit Academy 60, Hillel Academy 55

Girls scores

Apollo-Ridge 55, Ligonier Valley 47

Aquinas Academy 58, Eden Christian 48

Armstrong 78, Mars 70

Blackhawk 67, Hopewell 28

California 53, Beth-Center 31

Chartiers Valley 57, Baldwin 55 (OT)

Ellwood City 62, Riverside 40

Fort Cherry 51, Brentwood 24

Greensburg Central Catholic 66, Serra Catholic 53

Hampton 54, Fox Chapel 46

Indiana 53, Gateway 13

Knoch 51, Derry 16

Mapletown 49, Avella 21

Monessen 59, Jefferson-Morgan 33

Montour 60, West Allegheny 39

Neshannock 62, Laurel 40

North Allegheny 57, Pine-Richland 33

North Catholic 62, Greensburg Salem 35

Northgate 39, Carlynton 26

Norwin 58, Butler 26

Oakland Catholic 68, Thomas Jefferson 33

Quaker Valley 35, Beaver 28

Rochester 43, Freedom 36

St. Joseph 56, Jeannette 28

Shady Side Academy 55, Burrell 24

South Allegheny 47, East Allegheny 12

South Park 56, Brownsville 45

Union 58, Bishop Canevin 22

Waynesburg 62, McGuffey 32

West Mifflin 48, Uniontown 16

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