Erica Gribble sparks Greensburg Central Catholic past Serra Catholic for 6th WPIAL title

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Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 8:48 PM


Erica Gribble had played on the court at Petersen Events Center only one time before, as an innocent third grader.

“It was like a youth game where we got to play at halftime,” the sophomore from Greensburg Central Catholic said. “We were there to watch my sister play.”

Alayna Gribble, a former Norwin star and two-time WPIAL champion, played at Pitt.

About seven years later, the younger Gribble is a champion like big sis.

You might call that a double Gribble.

“I hope to win more,” Erica Gribble said.

The 5-foot-10 point guard scored a game-high 28 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead top-seeded GCC to its first WPIAL title since 2007 with a 62-41 victory over No. 3 Serra Catholic in the Class 2A title game Thursday night at Petersen Events Center.

GCC beat Serra three times in a row this season.

“We started out slow, but then we started to get it going,” said Gribble, who scored 14 in the fourth quarter and continually hit shots when Serra started to make a run. “My teammates helped me out and passed me the ball. This is great.”

Gribble, a Division I college prospect whose offers include Monmouth, Quinnipiac, Bucknell, Navy and Villanova, scored her 1,000th career point in the semifinals.

Senior Wheeling commit Avery Davis added 14 points for the Centurions (20-6), who hadn’t been to the finals since 2016.

Serra Catholic (21-5) was seeking its fifth WPIAL title and first since 2005.

“Our girls played their hearts out,” Serra first-year coach Mike Voit said. “(GCC) has so many really good shooters. If you don’t guard them, they make you pay for it.”

The Centurions made 8 of 13 3-pointers, 16 of 18 free throws and outrebounded the Eagles, 36-22.

“These girls have played thousands of games, and they are constantly working to get better,” GCC coach Chris Skatell said. “They shoot a lot. They work at it and hone it. This feels amazing.”

Sophomore Abby Dlugos quietly had one of the stats of the night as she pulled down 14 rebounds.

GCC overcame the loss of sophomore Jayla Peterson early in the second quarter. She appeared to suffer an ankle injury.

“Every one of these kids had an integral role in our success,” Skatell said. “Our defense played really well. Offense comes from great defense.”

GCC shook off a slow start. It trailed 10-6 in the first quarter.

Serra led 17-16 when senior Cal (Pa.) commit Mya Morgan hit a 3 for the Centurions.

A 3 by Gribble made it 30-21 at halftime.

Morgan finished with nine points, six rebounds and four assists.

The lead grew to 15 in the third thanks to a 9-2 run, but Serra trimmed it to 42-33 going to the fourth.

Twice when the Eagles cut it to seven, Gribble buried a 3 — undeterred by the depth issues some deep-ball shooters experience at The Pete. She made 9 of 18 shots.

“She can score, but the thing about (Gribble) is that she is highly skilled,” Voit said. “She can fake and go off the dribble, or she can catch and shoot. She is one of those lanky guards who is tough to play against.”

Senior Cate Clarke pushed the Eagles to within 44-37 early in the fourth, but Gribble hit consecutive 3s to make it 50-37.

Clarke led Serra with 13 points, and Bri Battles added 11 to go with five rebounds.

GCC still has not lost to a 2A team this season (16-0).

Both teams will open the PIAA playoffs next Friday. GCC will host Bellwood-Antis, and Serra will host Bishop McCort.

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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