Erica Gribble leads Greensburg CC to dominant win over California in WPIAL 2A 1st round

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Friday, February 17, 2023 | 8:48 PM


“Just go play.”

That was the advice Erica Gribble gave herself as she prepared for the first high school basketball playoff game of her blossoming career.

The Greensburg Central Catholic freshman guard didn’t flinch — nor did several of her teammates who tasted the WPIAL playoffs for the first time — in a runaway victory in the Class 2A first round.

Gribble made 12 of 14 shots and piled up a career-high 26 points, outscoring California herself as No. 4-seeded GCC consumed the No. 13 Trojans, 83-23, on Friday night at Gateway.

“I try not to be nervous for any game, and I play with confidence,” Gribble said. “It’s another game … just go play.”

GCC (19-4) advances to play No. 5 Burgettstown (18-5) on Wednesday in the quarterfinals at a time and site to be announced.

Burgettstown took care of No. 12 Winchester Thurston, 56-40.

Another perk for the Centurions: With the WPIAL sending eight teams to states this year, they qualified for the PIAA playoffs for the first time since 2017-18.

Junior Mya Morgan added 22 points, and junior Avery Davis had 16 as GCC rolled up 56 first-half points, dribbling around physical defenders for an array of layups and finding early touch from the perimeter.

GCC forced 16 first-half turnovers.

California (10-12), a quarterfinalist in two of the last four seasons, was overmatched from the tip.

One of Gribble’s two 3-pointers to close the first quarter made it 29-2.

“(The stage) doesn’t seem to matter (for Gribble),” GCC coach Chris Skatell said. “Her understanding of the high school game keeps getting better. She’s used to going 1,000 miles-an-hour in AAU. Sometimes, you have to covet the possession.”

Morgan, who has been in multiple playoff games and looked the part, scored 12 in the opening eight minutes, and Gribble tallied 11.

Several GCC players scored on drives to the rim and soft layups off the glass.

A 27-8 second-quarter charge followed, and the Centurions lengthened their advantage to 55 after three quarters, rounding it off to 60 at one point (72-12) on a three-point play by Davis.

Perhaps GCC was motivated by not getting a home game despite being led to believe it would.

The WPIAL said GCC’s gym was not large enough to host a playoff game, even though the girls hosted two home playoff games last season.

“We were mad after that,” Gribble said of the neutral site. “It’s good, though, to play in different gyms so we get used to it.

“We want to go far, and we showed everyone we can with this win.

The highest-scoring team in 2A led by 62 in the fourth, their largest margin since an 83-16 win over Springdale in late January.

The Centurions beat Ellis School, 77-12. They scored 87 against Steel Valley (87-39).

“The first game is always a tough one,” Skatell said. “Four of our starters were playing their first playoff game. It’s about learning the (playoff) routine and how things go. This win gives us confidence.”

Davis, junior Cara Dupilka and senior Cadie Peters debuted as starters in a postseason game.

Eleven players scored for GCC. Freshman Alayna Stawovy, sophomore Sara Hudock and junior Emeron LaCarte hit 3s in the fourth.

“It was a good chance to get your kids on the floor,” Skatell said. “There were kids in the game who may never get to score in a playoff game.”

Senior guard Rakiyah Porter led California with 11 points.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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