Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic took home one WPIAL championship Thursday night. On Friday night, they try for an unusual sweep.
It's a boy-girl thing.
The North Catholic girls play Blackhawk in the WPIAL 4A title game at 7. If North Catholic wins, it will be two championships for the school in Cranberry. The North Catholic boys defeated Lincoln Park, 56-51, to win the 3A title Thursday night at The Pete.
In the history of the WPIAL, a school has won boy and girl championships in the same year only 13 times. But the boy-girl sweep is not new at North Catholic. The Trojans and Trojanettes won both in 2009. The first school to win both was Beaver Falls in 1985.
Here are the schools that have won boy-girl championships:
1985 – Beaver Falls
1987 – Penn Hills
1987 - Aliquippa
1988 – Aliquippa
1996 – Blackhawk
1996 – Upper St. Clair
1999 – Blackhawk
2000 – Blackhawk
2005 – Moon
2009 – North Catholic
2010 – Mt. Lebanon
2013 – Vincentian
2014 – Seton-LaSalle
Chartiers-Houston won a WPIAL girls championship for the first time in school history Thursday night. The Buccaneers' coach is Laura Montecalvo. Winning and coaching runs in her family.
Maybe you've heard of Montecalvo's father, Guy, a highly successful football coach for many seasons at Washington High School who finished his career at Canon-McMillan. Dad won two WPIAL titles and one PIAA championship at Washington.
Laura Montecalvo was an outstanding three-sport athlete at Washington in volleyball, basketball and track and field and won 12 varsity letters. She is in her third season as Char-Houston's coach and has done an excellent job. Heck, you could maybe make a case for her as coach of the year in the entire WPIAL. And with four juniors in the starting lineup, included dominant forward Alexa Williamson, could there be another championship in the Montecalvo family future?
More championship stuff
*** The North Catholic boys were awfully impressive offensively against Lincoln Park. Pass. Pass. Pass. Reverse the ball. Attack when it's there. Shoot a 3 when it's there. Find the open guy.
It was pretty motion offense.
And the Trojans' defense was pretty good also. North Catholic's matchup zone held down Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park coach Mike Bariski said after the game that his team just missed too many open shots. But many of those shots were contested. Nelly Cummings, who averages 29, made only 4 of 23. He rarely had an easy shot. Just take a look at the photo from P-G's Matt Freed of Cummings trying to score over North Catholic's Dom Serventi.
*** The Monessen-Imani Christian game was no thing of beauty. You can call the contest "chippy" and we'll leave it at that. Both teams will be in the PIAA playoffs next weekend, but Imani will be without leading scorer Kenny Robinson. He got a technical early in the game and another one late. The second one counted for his fifth foul. And two technicals means an automatic ejection and also ineligible to play the next game. So Robinson is out for the PIAA game.
**** This is the year for fresh faces in the WPIAL championships. I don't ever remember so many freshmen in the title games who have made such big impacts. On the boys side, freshman Ethan Morton starts at point guard for Butler and he will have a Division I college future. He just continues to impress. He has turned into the leader of that team on the court.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart's point guard is freshman Donovan Johnson, whose brother, Cam, plays for Pitt. Freshman guard Isaac DeGgregorio comes off the bench for Hampton and played a gigantic role in the Talbots' semifinal victory against Mars. Sewickley Academy uses a few promising freshmen off the bench.
On the girls side, Chartiers Valley Megan McConnell is doing big things as a freshman. Maybe you've heard of her brothers, T.J. and Matty, or her father, Tim. At Blackhawk, guard Mackenzie Amalia (pictured) is a terrific freshmen who already has Division I college interest. She averages in double figures and has 57 3-pointers for the year.
Also, 5-11 freshman forward Emma Small starts for Winchester Thurston.
**** This is the first year the WPIAL opened up the "Oakland Zoo" seats on the first level of The Pete. But the seats are reserved and tickets for the seats are $20. Judging from last night, those tickets aren't exactly going like hotcakes. Wonder if more people will be willing to shell out the $20 the next two nights, when the crowds should be bigger.