Sophomore Erica Gribble hits milestone as No. 1 Greensburg CC reaches WPIAL finals

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Saturday, February 24, 2024 | 6:20 PM


She came off a curl and caught the basketball on the wing, in front of her team’s bench, and let it fly with 21.4 seconds left in the third quarter.

Erica Gribble, Greensburg Central Catholic’s skilled sophomore, asked for the ball on a weaving give-and-go from senior Avery Davis — and delivered.

Her 3-pointer gave her 1,000 career points — in her 54th career game — as No. 1 seed GCC rocked another playoff opponent, running past No. 12 South Side, 73-38, in a WPIAL 2A semifinal Saturday afternoon at Peters Township’s AHN Arena.

A milestone for a program-changing type of player highlighted GCC’s long-awaited return to the finals.

GCC (19-5) advances to the championship for the first time since 2015-16 and will take on No. 3 Serra Catholic (21-4) for the title at 7 p.m. Thursday at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center.

GCC hasn’t won a championship since 2006-07.

“I’m so happy and so thankful my teammates got me the ball,” said Gribble, who has several Division I college offers. “It means a lot to get another milestone for us and make the finals.”

When she hit 1,000, Gribble was greeted by teammates for a few seconds before realizing South Side (15-10) was going the other way for a layup. Gribble recovered and nearly had a block.

The game was well in hand by then, though, as GCC mercy-ruled a third straight playoff opponent.

The Centurions’ average score in the postseason is 71-29.

“I thought we could win it last year, but we had some issues at the end of the year,” coach Chris Skatell said. “This is a little bit of redemption. I’m proud of the girls. They are focused, and they want this.”

Gribble finished with 26 points, and senior Mya Morgan added 22, with both making four 3-pointers.

“The good thing was (Gribble’s milestone) happened right at the end of the quarter,” Skatell said. “They weren’t going to stop the game, but we didn’t have to take a timeout or anything. Gribbs is the hardest-working kid. All of our girls work hard. We’re talking 200 to 300 shots a day. I can’t do that; they do that. They put in the time.”

Gribble wanted the ball when she got to 998 points.

“I asked (coach Chris Skatell) if I could take it there,” Gribble said. “We ran an inbounds play, and I said, ‘Can I do it?’ I was anxious. It was cool to get it on a 3.”

That makes two Gribbles to score 1,000 in three days. Her sister Olivia, a senior guard at Marietta who played at Norwin, reached the scoring mark Thursday.

Their oldest sister, Alayna, who played at Pitt and St. Joseph’s, is Norwin’s all-time leading scorer with 1,782 points.

“Me and (Olivia) were going back and forth,” Erica Gribble said of Olivia. “It was like a contest to see who got (to 1,000) first. It was like, 32-30, then 20-18. I guess I let her get it first.”

GCC now has two 1,000-point scorers on the same team. Morgan reached the milestone during a holiday tournament at Cal (Pa.), her future college home. GCC only played 14 games when Morgan was a freshman because of covid cancellations.

Morgan scored 14 in the first half Saturday.

“I am really proud of her,” Morgan said of Gribble. “That’s an impressive accomplishment.”

GCC made 10 3s in its first semifinal appearance in seven years.

Gribble scored 10 in the third as the Centurions added to a 38-19 halftime lead. Her short jumper gave GCC its first 20-point lead, and her 3 made it 51-24.

Morgan, Davis and Gribble made consecutive 3s to end the third.

A 15-0 run spilled into the fourth as the lead climbed to 40.

Sophomore Jayla Peterson added eight points for GCC.

Junior Bailey Strnisa led South Side with 15. South Side moves into the WPIAL consolation bracket to play for state seeding.

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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