Chartiers Valley’s Lilah Turnbull exhausted a lot of energy Thursday night on the basketball court, but for a girl that doubles as one of the top cross country runners in the WPIAL, she apparently wasn’t as worn out as when she runs a race.

“I have to say cross country takes it on this one,” Turnbull said, smiling. “That 5 [kilometers] hurts.”

Thursday, it wasn’t Turnbull’s 5K, but rather her career-high 25 points that put a hurting on Mt. Lebanon.

Turnbull put her team on her back, accounting for nearly three-fourth of the points while leading No. 5-seeded Chartiers Valley (16-6) to a 34-26 win at No. 4 Mt. Lebanon in what was a rubber match between section rivals.

The win by Chartiers Valley (16-6) came on the same court against the same opponent and in the same round as a season ago when the Colts coughed up a 16-point lead midway through the fourth quarter in a 47-46 loss. Chartiers Valley coach Mike Semplice, who was in his first season, called it one of the most difficult losses of his career as a coach or player. But a year later, the Colts got some revenge against Mt. Lebanon (12-11) while advancing to the semifinals Monday to take on No. 1 Norwin. The Blue Devils were trying to reach the semifinals for the fifth consecutive season.

“It’s definitely amazing,” said Turnbull, whose sister, Marian, was a starter on Chartiers Valley’s most recent WPIAL championship team in 2022. “Looking back at last year, blowing that lead was terrible. Everybody was so mad. Just being able to come out here and win tonight was awesome.”

In a game in which Chartiers Valley never trailed, Turnbull, a 5-foot-6 junior guard who averages 9.4 points per game, accounted for all but 2 of Chartiers Valley ’s points in a first half that saw the Colts take a 17-8 halftime lead. Scoring frequently on drives to the basket, she then tacked on 7 of the team’s 9 points in the third quarter, including a three-point play with 1:19 left that gave the Colts a 26-20 advantage. She would add another three-point play two minutes into the fourth quarter to push her total to 25 points and the Chartiers Valley lead to 29-20. The only other Colts players to score were Iyla Ozbey (4 points), Natalia Palumbo (2), Ava Shazer (2) and Ella Cupka (1). 

“She was unbelievable,” Semplice said. “That was a championship playoff performance out of her.”

You could say the same thing about Chartiers Valley’s defense, which limited Mt. Lebanon to its lowest point total of the season. The Blue Devils made just three baskets in the first half and finished the game 9 of 36 from the field (25%). Chartiers Valley’s halfcourt defense forced the Blue Devils into two five-second calls in the span of about a minute in the second quarter. Standout guard Payton Collins was the only player scoring in double figures for the Blue Devils. She scored 10, 5 below her season average.

“[Assistant] coach [Wayne] Capers put in a great defensive game plan,” Semplice said. “We played a little different lineup tonight. We went with a little quicker, smaller lineup to just be able to take them away on the perimeter, and it really worked out. I thought Natalia Palumbo was unbelievable on Payton Collins. She still scored the ball, but she’s a tough player to take away. But I told them, that’s how we’re going to win if we’re going to win this thing, is on the defensive end.”

Mt. Lebanon’s Payton Collins reaches for a rebound against Chartiers Valley’s Natalia Palumbo (11) and Emma Reynolds (23) Thursday night at Mt. Lebanon. Chartiers Valley won, 34-26. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Other Class 6A quarterfinals

• No. 1 Norwin (19-3) built a 20-point lead 11 minutes into the game and rolled to a 58-20 home win against No. 8 Seneca Valley (12-11). The Knights, which defeated Seneca Valley by margins of 11 and 7 points in the regular season, held a 35-12 lead at the half before outscoring the Raiders, 11-0, in the third quarter. It was the 10th win in a row for Norwin, which advanced to the semifinals for the third time in four seasons. Lauren Palangio paced the Knights with 14 points and Ava Kobus added 13. Natalie Hambly and Kaydence Kilhof led Seneca Valley with 7 points apiece. The Raiders closed the season with five consecutive losses.

• Natalie Wetzel’s 30 points propelled No. 2 Peters Township (22-1) to a 58-46 win against visiting No. 7 Pine-Richland (8-14). Saint Francis recruit Gemma Walker chipped in with 13 points for Peters Township, which reached the semifinals for the first time since going 30-0 and winning WPIAL and PIAA titles in 2019. The Indians raced to a 21-13 first-quarter lead before Pine-Richland cut the deficit to 32-26 at the half. IUP recruit Madison Zavasky pumped in 32 points for Pine-Richland, which lost to Peters Township, 55-46, Dec. 2. The Rams were trying to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2016.

• Caroline Henderson scored 24 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 50 seconds left, and No. 3 North Allegheny (21-2) moved into the semifinals for the 11th consecutive season after a 44-41 win against visiting No. 6 Upper St. Clair (12-11). The score was tied, 32-32, after three quarters before North Allegheny outscored Upper St. Clair, 12-9, in the fourth. The Panthers missed a 3-point attempt just before the final buzzer. Meredith Huzjak scored 17 points and Olivia Terlecki added 11 for Upper St. Clair, which had advanced to the title game three years in a row, losing to the Tigers in the final a year ago. The teams were meeting in the WPIAL playoffs for the seventh year in a row.

Chartiers Valley coach Mike Semplice in the huddle with his team in the Colts’ 34-26 win against Mt. Lebanon Thursday night in the WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Class 1A quarterfinals

• Kelly Cleaver scored a game-high 16 points and No. 1 and defending champion Union (17-5) coasted to its 12th win in a row by thumping No. 8 West Greene, 59-16. Kylie Fruehstorfer and Mia Preuhs chipped in 11 points apiece for the host Scotties, who led, 45-3, at the half after holding West Greene without a point in the second quarter. The defending PIAA champs advanced to the semifinals for the third year in a row. Kendra Tharp paced West Greene (10-14) with 5 points. The Pioneers lost in the quarterfinals for the third year in a row and to Union for the second year in a row. The Scotties won this matchup a year ago, 64-20.

• No. 2 Aquinas Academy (16-6) beat No. 10 Eden Christian (9-14) for the third time this season, 47-31, at St. Joseph to advance to the semifinals for the fourth year in a row. The runner-up the past two seasons, Aquinas Academy was led offensively by Tess Duer (13 points) and Ellie Junker (11 points). The Crusaders led, 27-16, at the half before outscoring Eden Christian, 14-4, in the fourth quarter to pull away. Emmi Smith scored a team-high 9 points for Eden Christian, which has lost eight games in a row. Aquinas Academy won the regular-season meetings by scores of 58-48 and 53-32.

• Katerina Tsambis poured in 20 points and No. 4 Riverview (16-6) earned a spot in the semifinals for the first time since 2015 courtesy of a 44-23 win against No. 5 Monessen (18-6) at Fox Chapel. Riverview led, 25-14, at the half and got 12 points from Lola Abraham and 11 from Lily Bauer. The Section 3 runner-up also defeated Monessen, the Section 2 champion, 50-25, Feb. 3. MyAsia Majors and Na’Jaziah Carter each scored 5 points for Monessen, which lost in the quarterfinals for the third year in a row. The Greyhounds were looking to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2011.

• Julie Spinelli’s 24 points vaulted No. 3 St. Joseph (20-3) into the semifinals for the third year in a row following a 66-36 win against visiting No. 6 Bishop Canevin (7-14). Emma Swierczewski chipped in 18 points and Gia Richter added 16 for St. Joseph, champions of Section 3 and winners of 15 of their last 16 games. St. Joseph outscored Bishop Canevin, 21-5, in the first quarter. Amari Elliott scored a team-high 13 points for the Crusaders, who won the title in 2022 before losing in the semifinals last season. They entered the night having won four of their past five games.

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