For the first three quarters, Wednesday’s WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinal clash between No. 2 Aliquippa and No. 10 Clairton looked like a game that both teams and their fans would rather forget.

In the fourth quarter, though, the Quips and Bears made sure it was one to remember.

With Clairton star Iyanna Wade making acrobatic, highlight-reel baskets in rapid succession and Aliquippa desperately trying to survive Wade’s onslaught, the Quips did just enough to escape with a nail-biting 35-34 win at North Hills Middle School. The win sends Aliquippa to the WPIAL semifinals for the second year in a row, with the Quips now two wins away from capturing their first WPIAL title in 34 years.

“That Wade girl — all week, I’ve been calling her Allen Iverson, and I mean that with all respect, because she’s lightning quick, can get whatever [shot] she wants, and she never stops coming after you,” said Aliquippa coach Dwight Lindsey. “I like the way we played. I just wish we could have made a couple more plays to give us a little more cushion.”

After a rocky start, Wade caught fire late to finish with a game-high 30 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter. Carla Brown led the Quips with 12 points to go with 10 from Yaree Carter.

Aliquippa’s Carla Brown scored a team-high 12 points to help the Quips defeat Clairton, 35-34, in the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Aliquippa’s aggressive defense made every possession extremely tough on Wade, who became the second girl in WPIAL history to average 40 points per game during the regular season while setting the WPIAL single-game record with a 65-point outburst against Steel Valley on Jan. 25. The Quips double-teamed Wade whether she had the ball or not, making it difficult for her to even get her hands on it as she fought through traffic to get open.

Wade scored only five points in the first quarter, with three coming on a deep 3-pointer just before the end of the quarter. Both teams then struggled mightily from the floor in the second quarter, and another deep 3 by Wade gave her nine points in the first half as Aliquippa took a 12-11 lead into the break.

Yaree Carter (3) scored 10 points for Aliquippa in a 35-34 win over Clairton in the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

The third quarter followed a similar pace, with the Quips holding a 22-18 lead going into the fourth. Aliquippa soon stretched its advantage to double digits with a 6-0 run before a 3-point play by Wade cut it to 28-21. Wade then buried a deep 3-pointer to cut Clairton’s deficit to 30-24 with 2:10 remaining, followed by an incredible off-balance layup from behind the backboard to keep the Bears within six.

On Clairton’s next possession, Wade drained a ridiculous one-handed 3-pointer while falling to the ground, trimming the margin to four at 33-29 with 51 seconds to play. Another bucket by Wade pulled the Bears to within three at 34-31 in the final 30 seconds, but Brown sank a key free throw to make it a two-possession lead for the Quips. Wade’s last-second 3-pointer made the final 35-34.

“I told the girls, she’s a great player and she’s going to make plays, but we just wanted her to have an ugly 25 or an ugly 30,” Lindsey said. “I’ll take it, because we won.”

Clairton’s Iyanna Wade (10) finished with a game-high 30 points in a 35-34 loss to Aliquippa in the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Other Class 2A quarterfinals

• Five players finished in double figures for top-seeded Greensburg Central Catholic, which cruised to a 63-41 win against No. 9 Rochester at Chartiers Valley High School. Mya Morgan led the way with 15 points for the Centurions (18-6), aided by 14 from Avery Davis, 12 from Erica Gribble and 10 apiece from Abby Dlugos and Jayla Peterson. Aleaya Mercier finished with 13 points for the Rams (15-8).

• No. 3 Serra Catholic set the tone with a dominant opening quarter against section rival Winchester Thurston (11-12), racing to an 18-point first-quarter lead against the No. 11 Bears and coasting to a 67-42 victory at Bethel Park High School. Caitlin Cooley led four players in double figures for the Eagles (20-4) with 15 points, followed by 14 from Abby Genes, 13 from Niki Sfanos and 10 from Cate Clarke. Jasmine Hollins led Winchester with 17 points.

Class 3A quarterfinals

• Rebecca Goetz led a trio of double-digit scorers with 17 points for defending WPIAL champion Avonworth (21-1), helping the top-seeded Antelopes win their 15th game in a row with a 69-45 rout against No. 8 Keystone Oaks (16-7) at Mt. Lebanon High School. Emma Obersteiner contributed 14 and Eden Schleis added 11 for Avonworth, while Bailey Rieg tallied 17 points for the Golden Eagles.

• After falling behind by five going into the fourth quarter, No. 2 Shady Side Academy rallied for a narrow 37-35 triumph over No. 7 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at North Allegheny High School. Cassie Sauer and Karis Thomas each scored 13 points for the Bulldogs (22-2), while Claudia Ierullo led all scorers with 15 points for the Chargers (16-7).

Sophomore Cassie Sauer scored 13 points for Shady Side Academy in a 37-35 win over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinals. (Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Union Progress)


Class 3A girls

Avonworth 69, Keystone Oaks 45

Beaver Falls 56, Seton LaSalle 41

Neshannock 69, South Park 46

Shady Side Academy 37, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 35

Class 2A girls

Aliquippa 35, Clairton 34

Greensburg C.C. 63, Rochester 41

Serra Catholic 67, Winchester Thurston 42

South Side 50, Fort Cherry 42

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