Monday’s girls basketball showdown between Oakland Catholic and McKeesport was moved up to 2:30 p.m. in order to accommodate the many people who wished to take in the Steelers playoff game.

The irony behind that was that the teen from Oakland Catholic who made the biggest impact on the game said she doesn’t even watch football.

On a chilly day in Oakland, it was a London who put the freeze on McKeesport, as London Creach scored a game-high 21 points to help host Oakland Catholic remain unbeaten following a 58-49 win against McKeesport in a battle of WPIAL Class 5A heavyweights.

One of three undefeated teams in the WPIAL, Oakland Catholic (15-0, 6-0) won its 20th consecutive section game and took a one-game lead over McKeesport (11-2, 5-1) in Section 3. It’s the program’s best start since beginning the 2011-12 season 21-0. McKeesport saw its six-game win streak come to an end.

After winning all but one of its previous games by double-digits and boasting an average margin of victory of 30 points, Oakland Catholic found itself in a close contest against a rival that it beat four times last season, including the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals. With the score tied early in the fourth quarter, Oakland Catholic freshman Kaylee DeAngelo drilled a deep 3-pointer from about 5 feet behind the line, her fourth of the game, to give the Eagles a 40-37 lead with 6:53 left.

“Kay is one of the best shooters that I’ve coached in 26 years of basketball,” Oakland Catholic coach Eddie Benton said. “And I tell her, ‘If you’re open, let it go.’”

Just after a freshman put Oakland Catholic ahead, a junior made sure it remained that way. Creach, a 5-foot-8 junior forward and the team’s only returning starter, scored seven of her points in the pivotal fourth quarter. Creach, who owns several Division I offers, was especially impressive during a sequence that saw Oakland Catholic begin to pull away. After McKeesport’s Rachel Manfredo scored to cut the Tigers deficit to 42-41, Creach’s bucket pushed the Oakland Catholic advantage back to three points with 4:33 left. Then, following a McKeesport turnover, Creach threw a pretty pass to Josie Fontana, who converted an and-one that increased the Oakland Catholic lead to 47-41 just 23 seconds later. And just over a minute later, Creach produced an and-one herself to make it 50-43.

“In the beginning I was a little rusty and really passive. I knew I could take it so I just went and did it,” said Creach, who scored 13 of her points in the second half.

Added Benton, “London is a Division I player, and I’ve told her that Division I players step up in moments like this.”

McKeesport kept hanging around and trailed only 52-49 after Brooke Evans’ layup with 45 seconds left, but Oakland Catholic went 6 of 8 from the free-throw line down the stretch while the Tigers never scored another point.

Fontana (14 points) and DeAngelo (13 points) also scored in double-figures for Oakland Catholic, while Mia LeDonne added eight. Fontana, a 6-2 sophomore forward, finished 6 of 7 from the free-throw line, and LeDonne, a 5-9 freshman guard-forward, was a force on the boards.

“Mia and Kaylee are dogs,” Creach said. “I said, ‘Kaylee, I need you to shoot.’ And she did.”

Oakland Catholic, a WPIAL finalist and PIAA semifinalist last season, finished 21 of 46 from the field (45%), while McKeesport was 20 of 55 (36%).

Manfredo paced McKeesport with 17 points, Evans added 10, and Maddie Hertzler and Kaylee Charles chipped in eight apiece. 

These two strong programs that are both hoping to end long WPIAL title droughts — Oakland Catholic last won one in 2006 and McKeesport in 1998 (Swin Cash’s senior season) — will meet again at McKeesport on Feb. 8. And it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise if they battle one or two more times in the postseason just as they did a season ago.

“It’s always important to beat McKeesport,” Benton said. “It’s important to beat them because they’re one of the great programs around here. When you play against them, it’s a battle every single game.”

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