It’s been a noteworthy couple of days for McKeesport star Rachael Manfredo.

A day after signing her national letter of intent with Edinboro, Manfredo’s outstanding performance Saturday helped McKeesport inscribe its name into the state’s Final Four.

Manfredo scored a game-high 22 points and McKeesport did an excellent job against Armstrong standout Emma Paul as the Tigers roared to a 57-35 win in a PIAA Class 5A quarterfinal at Norwin.

With the win, McKeesport (24-4), the WPIAL’s third-place finisher, moved into the semifinals for the second time in three seasons. The Tigers will shoot for their first berth in the final when they take on District 10 champion Cathedral Prep (22-3) in Tuesday’s semifinals. Meanwhile, it marked the end of a historic season for WPIAL runner-up Armstrong (23-6), which had never played in a PIAA playoff game prior to this season. The River Hawks had won 18 of their previous 19 games.

“It feels really good,” Manfredo said. “This win and just signing, it takes a lot of stress off. We’re ready for the next one.”

Manfredo outdueled Paul, who had been on an absolute tear in the postseason, averaging 26 points over Armstrong’s previous six playoff games. But against McKeesport and its 2-3 zone defense, Paul was limited to 15 points, her lowest total since scoring 15 against Hampton Feb. 2. Armstrong’s point total was its second lowest of the season.

“We really overplayed her,” McKeesport coach Matt Miller said. “Our zone has been really good for us, and it worked again today.”

Getting the ball to Manfredo worked again, as well. A 6-foot guard-forward, Manfredo’s biggest impact Saturday came in the first quarter. Manfredo scored 12 points in the frame, including 10 straight to turn a one-point McKeesport deficit into an 18-9 lead following her 3-pointer with 11 seconds left. In all, the Tigers scored the final 14 points of the quarter to go up, 20-9.

Manfredo received a huge assist from fellow senior Kaylee Charles, a 5-10 forward who returned to action after missing the previous eight games with a broken left hand. Charles first checked into the game with 4:40 left in the first quarter, and it was no coincidence that McKeesport soon followed with its huge run. Charles scored only six points in the game, but her presence and toughness produced better and more frequent scoring opportunities for her teammates.

“I think [Manfredo] was just happy to not have three people on her,” Miller said. “I think she felt like she was wide open the whole time. For the last month or two, it’s been three girls pounding or hitting her, so now I think she’s relaxed and not exhausted. I think she felt like the weight of the world was off her shoulders.”

Added Manfredo, “She was the piece we were missing. It was a piece of the puzzle that we needed for these playoffs to keep us moving forward, so I’m confident.”

McKeesport led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter as Union suffered through a field-goal drought that lasted nine minutes. The Tigers then went cold in the third quarter when they went 0 of 9 from the field, yet they still held a 41-30 lead after three. Armstrong trailed, 44-32, a few minutes into the fourth when McKeesport used an 11-0 run to put the game away.

Brooke Evans added 10 points and Maddy Hertzler nine for McKeesport, which has won 13 of 15. The Tigers lost to Oakland Catholic in overtime in last year’s quarterfinals.

Paul was the only player to score in double figures for Armstrong. A 5-5 senior guard, Paul scored a school-record 45 points in a January game and poured in 36 in a loss to South Fayette in the WPIAL championship.

“I think the girls play really hard. They’re tough kids,” Miller said. “When their shots aren’t falling, they’re still playing defense. I think we have some good length, especially at the guard position, which makes it harder for smaller guards to get shots off.”

Other Class 5A

Oakland Catholic (26-3), the WPIAL’s fourth-place finisher, came up short in its quest for a second consecutive appearance in the semifinals after being ousted by District 10 champion Cathedral Prep (22-3), 39-29, at Sharon. Freshman Mia LeDonne led the Eagles with 11 points and was their only player to reach double-digits. The Eagles trailed just 17-14 at the half, but Cathedral Prep held a 13-8 edge in the third quarter to grow its lead to 30-22 heading into the final quarter. Georgetown recruit Jayden McBride led Cathedral Prep with 14 points, and Addie Biel chipped in 10. The Ramblers lost to South Fayette on a buzzer-beater from Maddie Webber in last year’s quarterfinals. They will play in the semifinals for the third time in the past four seasons. The Ramblers last reached the final in 2021.

Aubree Hupp drove Blackhawk into the semifinals for the second year in a row by scoring a game-high 23 points in Saturday’s 43-19 win against Fairview in the PIAA Class 4A quarterfinals. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Class 4A

• Aubree Hupp scored a game-high 23 points and WPIAL runner-up Blackhawk (25-3) rolled into the semifinals for the second year in a row courtesy of a 43-19 win against District 10 champion Fairview (22-6) at Slippery Rock University. Blackhawk beat Fairview, 40-34, in last year’s quarterfinals on its way to reaching the final. The Cougars limited Fairview to just one field goal and four points over the first 12 minutes of the game. They held a 26-11 halftime lead and extended their advantage to 37-16 after three quarters. Hupp made three 3-pointers for Blackhawk, which has won 19 of its past 20 games. Bre Heidt scored five points to lead Fairview. The Tigers eliminated WPIAL opponents Knoch and Laurel Highlands the first two rounds.

• Alayna Rocco connected on five 3-pointers among her team-high 20 points, but WPIAL champion North Catholic (19-8) was eliminated by unbeaten District 3 champ Wyomissing (28-0), 61-46, at Bald Eagle. Freshman Brady Wehner chipped in 11 points and Lauren Mihm tacked on 10 for the Trojanettes, who had advanced to the semifinals the previous two seasons. They had defeated Wyomissing, 60-27, in last year’s quarterfinals. Wyomissing hasn’t lost since. Amaya Stewart, a 6-1 junior center, led Wyomissing with 24 points. UMass soccer recruit Annie McCaffrey added 13 points, and North Carolina lacrosse recruit Audrey Hurleman had 10. After leading by 29 points at the half in last year’s meeting, North Catholic trailed, 29-22, at the half Saturday before the Spartans increased their lead to double digits in the third quarter.

Class 1A

• Defending champion Union (21-6) fell into a 14-point hole in the first quarter and could never recover as the WPIAL champion Scotties were eliminated by District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle (27-3), 60-43, at Norwin. Kelly Cleaver finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds and 6 steals for Union, which had won 16 consecutive games. The Scotties trailed Bishop Guilfoyle, 47-28, after three quarters before using an 11-0 run to pull within 47-39 just over three minutes into the fourth quarter, but that’s as close as they would get. Mia Pruehs (7 points), Kylie Fruehstorfer (6) and Miera Gunn (6) were the only other players to score for the Scotties. Maurie Querry scored 18 points to lead Bishop Guilfoyle and Morgan Ruggery added 14. The Marauders will meet District 6 runner-up Williamsburg (27-3) in the semifinals.


Class 5A

Cathedral Prep 39, Oakland Catholic 29

McKeesport 57, Armstrong 35

Class 4A

Blackhawk 43, Fairview 19

Wyomissing 61, North Catholic 46

Class 1A

Bishop Guilfoyle 60, Union 43

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