Considering the amount of sustained success both programs have enjoyed in recent years, it’s hard to believe Greensburg Central Catholic and Serra Catholic have waited a combined 37 years since raising their last WPIAL championship banner.

For one, the wait will be over Thursday night.

“I didn’t know that,” said Greensburg Central coach Chris Skatell about the lengthy title drought for both schools. “There’s a history of girls basketball at both of those schools, and it’s cool to see that continue.”

Although they have six losses on the season, the Centurions (19-6) are the No. 1 seed for a reason, and likely the favorite in the eyes of many to bring home their first WPIAL title since 2007 when they face off with the Eagles (21-4) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center. After all, Greensburg Central has faced a who’s-who of high-caliber opponents in the WPIAL’s largest classifications, boasting wins against Class 6A foes Upper St. Clair and Canon-McMillan while losing hard-fought battles against Class 6A semifinalist Peters Township, Class 5A semifinalists Oakland Catholic and McKeesport and reigning Class 4A champion North Catholic.

So don’t let the Centurions’ record fool you — this team is an absolute powerhouse.

Greensburg Central Catholic’s Avery Davis is one of three high-scoring guards for the top-seeded Centurions. (Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Union Progress).

Featuring a trio of talented scorers in sophomore guard Erica Gribble and senior guards Mya Morgan and Avery Davis, Greensburg Central can put points up in bunches — evidenced by their 77-10 first-round win against Northgate on Feb. 16, one of the most lopsided results in WPIAL postseason history. The Centurions followed that up with a 63-41 rout against Rochester and a 73-38 blowout against South Side to reach the final.

“It’s hard. I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t,” first-year Serra coach Mike Voit said about defending the trio. “You’re not going to stop them. You just have to try to limit what they’re able to do and make other people on the team have to step up. If we can do that and disrupt the flow of how they like to get out and run and kick and shoot, we have a chance.”

The younger sister of former Norwin standouts Alayna and Olivia Gribble, Erica Gribble leads the team with an average of 20.5 points per game, finishing No. 10 in the WPIAL in scoring average during the regular season. She recently surpassed 1,000 points for her career in less than two full seasons, scoring 26 points in the semifinal win against South Side. Morgan, also a member of the 1,000-point club, contributed 22 points in Saturday’s victory.

“Her length makes her even more special,” Voit said about Gribble. “It’s always hard to play against a long, lanky guard. And she can shoot and she can take it to the hoop. She can dish it. She can do a little bit of everything. She gets their offense going. That’s clear watching them and playing them. In my opinion, she’s the best player on that team.

“It’s special to watch a kid like that come through, but it’s also a challenge, too.”

Greensburg Central Catholic’s Mya Morgan is one of two 1,000-point scorers for the high-powered Centurions. (Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Union Progress).

While nobody in the their lineup sticks out as a true star player like Gribble, the Eagles lay claim to one of the most balanced starting lineups in the area, with all five players capable of reaching double figures on any given night. Sophomore guard Abby Genes leads the way with an average of 15.2 points per game, followed by 12.6 ppg from senior guard-forward Bri Battles and 10.5 ppg from senior guard Cate Clarke. Senior guard Caitlyn Cooley and sophomore guard Niki Sfanos round out the starting five with 9.3 ppg each, and the team shoots 42.3% from 3-point range as a unit.

With an average of 62.8 ppg, Serra ranks second in Class 3A behind Clairton and just above Greensburg Central (61.6 ppg), so make no mistake — the Eagles can score with the best of them, too.

“I’ve been saying it all year — it’s an ‘any given night’ type thing,” Voit said. “Sometimes it’s a forwards game, sometimes it’s a guards game. That’s kind of the secret sauce as far as why it’s hard to guard us.”

Attempting to guide Serra to its first WPIAL title since 2004, Voit’s debut season has been a successful one to this point — except when facing the Centurions. Greensburg Central has gotten the better of the Eagles in both matchups so far this season, winning the first matchup on the road on Jan. 4, 66-53, before defeating Serra in the rematch at home on Jan. 29, 59-47.

“I said to [Voit] last time I saw him — ‘I’m sure we’ll see you again,'” Skatell said.

Serra Catholic coach Mike Voit has the Eagles in the WPIAL Class 2A championship game in his first year coaching high school basketball. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

With that in mind, Voit knows his team will be the underdog on paper going into Thursday’s championship clash, but the seeds and records don’t mean a thing when a championship is on the line. Playing under the bright lights at Petersen Events Center will be a brand-new experience for the players on the Centurions team, but the Eagles’ seniors like Battles, Clarke and Cooley still vividly remember their WPIAL championship defeat against Neshannock from 2021.

Of course, Serra still had legendary coach Bill Cleary roaming the sidelines then, and the seniors on the team now were just watching from the bench as freshmen. As for Skatell, he was an assistant coach on Greensburg Central’s staff last time the Centurions reached the WPIAL title game in 2016, although this will be his first championship appearance as head coach. Voit, on the other hand, is in his first year coaching high school basketball, so the experience edge likely lies on Greensburg Central’s side from a coaching standpoint.

“It was quite a while ago, and a lot of stuff has happened since then,” Skatell said about his previous trip to the championship game. “But I certainly remember going. It’s just an honor to get there. It’s the hardest thing in the world to do to get there, and then you have to try to win the game.”

When it comes time to tip off the game on Thursday, fans can expect a fast-paced, exciting showdown between two well-oiled machines, and don’t be surprised to see this one come down to the final buzzer.

“I think it will be a highly intense battle from players and fans, and obviously they have a great coach,” Voit said. “I have respect for him and what he has done with that program and his players. … We expect it to be a dogfight. It will be a good one.”

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