2024 WPIAL Class 4A girls basketball championship breakdown: Blackhawk vs. North Catholic

Friday, March 1, 2024 | 12:01 PM

WPIAL Class 4A girls basketball championship

No. 1 Blackhawk vs. No. 2 North Catholic

3 p.m. Saturday at Petersen Events Center

On the air: Audio broadcast: Trib HSSN; Video livestream: NFHS Network

WPIAL titles: Blackhawk 8 (2022, ‘14-15, ‘11, ‘00, 1999, ‘96-97), North Catholic 22 (2023, ‘22, ‘17-20, ‘11, ‘09, ‘07, ‘03-04, 1993-95, ‘88-89, ‘86, ‘84, ‘80-82, ‘78)

Blackhawk (22-2)

Coach: Greg Huston

Projected starting lineup

No., Name, Ht., Cl., Pos.

5, Andrea Kinger, 5-6, jr., PG

11, Alena Fusetti, 5-10, sr., G

20, Aubree Hupp, 5-10, so., F

25, Haley Romigh, 5-10, sr., G/F

30, Piper Romigh, 5-10, sr., G/F

How they got here: After a first-round bye, defeated No. 8 Greensburg Salem, 49-25, in the quarterfinals; and No. 5 Laurel Highlands, 51-32, in the semifinals.

Notable: Blackhawk is looking for revenge after falling to North Catholic, 51-35, in the WPIAL Class 4A title game last season. The Cougars, who won the 2022 title, will try for their ninth overall. They won Section 2 with a 10-0 mark and have rolled through the playoffs. They have held teams to just 27.5 points per game this season, the best mark in the WPIAL. Blackhawk is led by senior guard Alena Fusetti, a Mercyhurst recruit who averages 16.2 ppg and had 21 in the semifinals. Sophomore forward Aubree Hupp added 16. Senior 5-foot-10 forwards Haley and Piper Romigh also are returning starters with championship game experience. Greg Huston took over as head coach for Steve Lodovico, who stepped down last April, and guided the team back to the WPIAL title game.

North Catholic (16-7)

Coach: Molly Rottmann

Projected starting lineup

No., Name, Ht., Cl., Pos.

2, Brady Wehner, 5-6, fr., G

11, Alayna Rocco, 5-11, sr., G

22, Sarah Loughry, 5-6, jr., G

32, Lauren Reitz, 6-2, fr., F

33, Lauren Mihm, 5-8, sr., G

How they got here: After a first-round bye, defeated No. 7 Central Valley, 66-32, in the quarterfinals; and No. 3 Elizabeth Forward, 42-34, in the semifinals.

Notable: North Catholic’s 22 championships are the most in WPIAL girls basketball history. The Trojanettes have been regulars in the finals over the past decade, with five titles since 2017. North Catholic won Section 1 at 12-0 and has won 103 consecutive section games. The Trojanettes played a challenging nonsection schedule that included games at the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia. Senior guard Alayna Rocco is a Harvard commit who averages 19.1 ppg and had 15 in the semifinals. She surpassed 1,000 career points as a junior. Freshman forward Lauren Reitz added 16 in the semifinal win. Freshman guard Brady Wehner also has been a key contributor as a first-year varsity player, scoring 18 points in the quarterfinals. Molly Rottmann is in her 26th year coaching North Catholic and has led teams to 11 titles.

Bill Hartlep is the TribLive sports editor. A Pittsburgh native and Point Park graduate, he joined the Trib in 2004, covering high school sports. He held various editing roles before assuming his current position in 2019. He can be reached at bhartlep@triblive.com.

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