ALTOONA, Pa. — The “why” in why was Wyomissing the state’s only remaining unbeaten team had to do with defense, as the District 3 champ had been absolutely exceptional in that area all season long.

But the Spartans finally met their match when they faced Blackhawk in Tuesday’s PIAA Class 4A semifinals.

Its opponent’s outstanding defensive play is the reason why Wyomissing will be missing from the championship game.

Aubree Hupp scored a game-high 22 points and Alena Fusetti made a pair of critical 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as Blackhawk held Wyomissing to its lowest point total of the season while handing the Spartans their first loss, 47-31, at Altoona High School to advance to the final for the second year in a row, both times as the WPIAL runner-up.

Blackhawk (26-3) will shoot for its fifth PIAA title and first since 2015 when the Cougars meet District 2 champion Scranton Prep (23-5) in the final at noon Saturday at Giant Center in Hershey. The Cougars fell to Lansdale Catholic, 53-45, in last year’s final. This Cougars team has won 20 of its past 21 games, the only loss coming to North Catholic in overtime in the WPIAL final. Coincidentally, North Catholic was the last team to beat Wyomissing, topping the Spartans in last year’s PIAA quarterfinals before losing to them in this year’s quarterfinals.

“Lose in the WPIAL championship and then go to Hershey two years in a row. It’s bizarre,” said Blackhawk first-year coach Greg Huston. “But the one thing we want to change is going down there and winning it.”

Like Wyomissing (31-1), Blackhawk entered the game allowing opponents to score just 28.2 points per game. The Cougars allowed only 19 in a quarterfinal win against Fairview. So the thought of “first to 30 wins” didn’t sound too outlandish. But it was Wyomissing’s defense that cracked, not Blackhawk’s. Wyomissing shot just 10 of 44 from the field (22%) and didn’t make a field goal in the third quarter on the way to its lowest scoring output of the season.

“I feel like we came in defensively knowing that defense was going to win us this game and we came in and got it done,” said Hupp, a 5-foot-10 sophomore forward who led Blackhawk with 23 points in the quarterfinals.

Hupp was excellent on both ends on the floor, scoring 14 of her points over the first two quarters to give Blackhawk a 21-18 halftime lead, while also playing terrific defense against Wyomissing standout Amaya Stewart, a 6-1 junior forward with Division I offers. Stewart finished with a team-high 18 points, but she had to work hard for just about everything she got. No other Spartans player scored more than four points.

“I knew it was going to be tough for Aubree just because [Stewart] does have a little bit of size on her,” Huston said, “but you can never count out Aubree, and I think she proved that here today.”

Blackhawk outscored Wyomissing, 8-5, during a third quarter that saw the Spartans go 0 of 8 from the field. Hupp beat the buzzer on a tip play to put the Cougars ahead, 29-23, heading into the fourth quarter.

Stewart scored a pair of baskets to open the final quarter that pulled Wyomissing within 29-27, but Fusetti, who up until that point had scored only four points, followed by making a pair of massive 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, the second of which increased her team’s lead to 35-27 with 3:44 to play.

“That was one of her rougher games this year. She did not play well,” Huston said of Fusetti, a senior guard and Mercyhurst recruit who is the team’s leading scorer on the season. “But you leave her in there because you know that’s what she’s capable of. And we have obviously great faith in her. She’s an all-stater for a reason.”

Fusetti’s triples ignited what was a game-ending 18-4 run by Blackhawk, which limited Wyomissing to 3-of-16 shooting in the final quarter. Fusetti finished with 11 points for the Cougars, who went 12 of 16 from the free-throw line in the fourth.

Sophomore guard Mia Sheesley came off the bench and scored six points, both on big 3-pointers — one to beat the first-half buzzer that put Blackhawk ahead and another in the third quarter after Wyomissing had cut its deficit to two.

Huston will return to Hershey to compete for a PIAA title for the first time in 24 years. He was a player at Blackhawk when the Cougars made consecutive trips to the final, winning his junior year and losing his senior year in 2000.

“The girls asked me on the bench, ‘Is this your first time?’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s my first time as a coach. It’s my third time being on a team,’” Huston said. “It’s super exciting to do it, but all the credit goes to these girls. I’m just happy to be along for the ride.”

Class 5A semifinal

McKeesport (24-5), the WPIAL’s third-place finisher, came up one win short of reaching the final for the first time after being locked down by District 10 champion Cathedral Prep (23-3), 35-20, at Slippery Rock University. The 20 points were the fewest scored by a McKeesport team in six years. Cathedral Prep, which earlier in the playoffs eliminated WPIAL opponents Trinity and Oakland Catholic, held McKeesport without a point in the second quarter and limited the Tigers to only 10 over the first three quarters as the Ramblers built a 21-10 lead. Addie Biel scored 12 of her game-high 16 points in the first half for the Ramblers and Lena Walz added 12 points. McKeesport saw its season end in the semifinals for the second time in three years. The Tigers also lost in the semifinals in 1998, Swin Cash’s senior season. Cathedral Prep moves on to the final for the 12th time. The Ramblers will try to win their fourth title when they take on three-time defending champion Archbishop Wood (25-5) in Saturday’s championship game.


Class 5A

Archbishop Wood 53, Bethlehem Catholic 30

Cathedral Prep 35, McKeesport 20

Class 4A

Blackhawk 47, Wyomissing 31

Scranton Prep 83, Universal Audenried 50

Class 1A

Bishop Guilfoyle 51, Williamsburg 45

Mountain View 46, Greenwood 23

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