Following one quarter of one-sided action inside a packed gymnasium at Canon-McMillan High School, Uniontown appeared destined to derail Lincoln Park’s bid for back-to-back state titles in one of the biggest upsets of the year.

Turns out, Brandin “Beebah” Cummings wasn’t ready for his high school career to end just yet.

After going scoreless in the first quarter while the Leopards fell into a 15-point hole, Cummings erupted for 12 points in the second quarter and 12 more in the third, finishing with a game-high 32 points to lead Lincoln Park (25-3) to a 66-62 come-from-behind win in the second round of the PIAA Class 4A playoffs. Five-star recruit Meleek Thomas added 24 points for the Leopards, who are now two wins away from a return trip to the state finals.

“Those guys are really good basketball players,” Cummings said. “Every time they play us, they bring 100%. So if they bring their 100%, I’ve got to bring my 110%.”

A Pitt recruit, Cummings recently surpassed 2,000 points for his career and joined his older brother, Nelly, as the highest-scoring duo of brothers in WPIAL history. Still, even for someone with three WPIAL titles and a state title along with numerous jaw-dropping performances to his credit, Tuesday’s masterpiece may have been the finest performance yet on Cummings’ stellar high school career.

“[Cummings] yelled at me that he’s back,” said Lincoln Park coach Mike Bariski. “He is a force to be reckoned with, as is Meleek.”

With his team trailing by a score of 23-9 after the opening quarter, Cummings began unleashing a barrage of buckets to help the Leopards claw their way back into the game. His off-balance buzzer-beating 3-pointer off the glass cut the deficit to one at 32-31 going into the half, and Cummings then raced into the locker room as his teammates followed, with all the momentum now firmly in Lincoln Park’s corner.

Cummings then gave the Leopards their first lead at 36-34 with a 3-pointer early in the third, and both teams went back-and-forth at a frenetic pace throughout the quarter. As game an opponent as any WPIAL foe the Leopards have faced all year, the Red Raiders (23-5) refused to go away, keeping things knotted up going into the fourth quarter at 47-47.

A 3-pointer early in the fourth by Cummings gave Lincoln Park a 52-48 lead they would never relinquish, then an incredible and-one layup by the star senior made it 57-52 with 2:24 to play. From there, Thomas polished things off with some late free throws, and the Leopards clinched another trip to the PIAA quarterfinals in thrilling comeback fashion.

“We’re all dogs. We fight through anything,” Cummings said. “We just stay solid and stay poised and tell each other that we’ve got each other and we’re going to fight together. Obviously, the rest is history.

“They came for a show. They got a show. That’s Lincoln Park for you.”

Other Class 4A

North Catholic’s Jude Rottmann grabs the ball just out of reach of Avonworth’s Anthony Arlia in the second round of the PIAA Class 4A playoffs on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at Gateway High School. North Catholic won, 75-60. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

• In a battle between two of the top guards in the WPIAL, North Catholic‘s Max Hurray outdueled Avonworth‘s Rowan Carmichael, pouring in a game-high 37 points while leading the Trojans to a 75-60 win at Gateway. Carmichael finished with a team-leading 28 points for the Antelopes (18-10) in the season-ending defeat, while Owen Maddalon tacked on 13 points for North Catholic (18-9).

• Solidifying his status as one of the most clutch players in the area, star senior Peter Kramer kept Hampton‘s season alive with a pair of go-ahead free throws with 6.5 seconds remaining, lifting the Talbots (24-4) to a dramatic 50-48 victory against District 6 champion Johnstown (22-5) at Hempfield. Kramer finished with 21 points while Liam Mignogna added 14 to help Hampton reach the PIAA quarterfinals for the first time since 2014.

Hampton’s Peter Kramer, left, drained two clutch free throws to lead Hampton to a 50-48 win against District 6 champion Johnstown in the second round of the PIAA Class 4A playoffs. (Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Class 5A

Franklin Regional‘s top two scorers, Cooper Rankin and Cam Rowell, took a backseat on Tuesday as Colin Masten tallied a game-high 21 points along with 12 from Drew Devola, leading the Panthers (25-3) to a 56-45 win against District 4 champion Selinsgrove (18-8) at Altoona.

Shaler (25-3) advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals for the first time since 2012 and only the second time in school history, cruising to a 68-48 win against District 3 champion Mechanicsburg (21-6) at Altoona to set up a rematch of last month’s WPIAL semifinals against Franklin Regional. Kaden Orga and Julian Vizzoca scored 16 points apiece to go with 14 from Brandon London.

• In an all-WPIAL showdown at Peters Township, Bethel Park rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to knock off Fox Chapel, 48-43. Nick Brown scored a game-high 16 points and Shawn Davis added 12 for the Black Hawks (15-13), who had not won a PIAA playoff game in 24 years until this season. Asher White finished with a team-high 15 points for the Foxes (16-12).

• Elijah Guillory led a trio of double-digit scorers for Moon with 18 points in a 59-38 win against District 3 third-place finisher York Suburban (23-8) at Hollidaysburg. Aiden Reesman chipped in 12 points for the Tigers (25-3) along with 11 from Charlie Depner.

Class 1A

• Defending PIAA champion Imani Christian (15-11) steamrolled its way back to the state quarterfinals with a 79-45 rout against District 9 runner-up Clarion (18-10) at Armstrong. Nate Brazil led the Saints with 19 points while R.J. Sledge contributed 12.

• Lucas Stanley led Union to a nail-biting 64-62 win against District 9 champion Elk County Catholic at Clarion University, scoring a team-high 23 points for the Scotties (17-11). Lance O’Neill led all scorers with 33 points for Elk County Catholic (25-3).

Neighborhood Academy saw its season come to an end in heartbreaking fashion, falling to District 6 champion Bishop Carroll (17-10) in overtime, 71-70. Courtney Wallace led four players in double figures for Neighborhood Academy (19-7) with 21 points, followed by 15 from Junio Onwubiko, 14 from Syncer Nicholson and 12 from Kedron Gilmore.

North Catholic players celebrate their 75-60 win against Avonworth in the second round of the PIAA Class 4A playoffs on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at Gateway High School. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)


Class 5A

Bethel Park 48, Fox Chapel 43

Franklin Regional 56, Selinsgrove 45

Moon 59, York Suburban 38

Shaler 68, Mechanicsburg 48

Class 4A

Hampton 50, Johnstown 48

Lincoln Park 66, Uniontown 62

North Catholic 75, Avonworth 60

Class 1A

Bishop Carroll 71, Neighborhood Academy 70 (OT)

Imani Christian 79, Clarion 45

Union 64, Elk County Catholic 62

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