'Been unbelievable': Westmont Hilltop's Eisenhuth named 3A girls coach of the year, Gordon earns first-team all-state selection to lead 4 area players

Apr. 26—A few months ago, neither Westmont Hilltop coach Brittany Eisenhuth nor junior guard Christiana Gordon could have envisioned a run to the PIAA Class 3A girls basketball title game.

With only eight players on the roster, Westmont Hilltop strung together a magical — and historic — effort that ended with a silver-medal performance at the Giant Center in Hershey March 21.

The impact of a 23-5 season was evident, as Gordon was named a first-team Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State player in Class 3A. Eisenhuth earned 3A girls coach of the year.

"This whole year has been unbelievable," Eisenhuth said. "It's hard to put into words. There is so much that has happened. It's great for our program and it's great for our area."

The Westmont Hilltop coach and her leading scorer were among a group that included four area players on the all-state girls team.

In Class 2A, Bishop McCort Catholic senior Gianna Gallucci made the second team, and Portage senior Jenna Burkett was on the third team. Berlin Brothersvalley freshman Coral Prosser was a second-team selection in Class 1A.

'Hard to grasp': "You look back on it and just smile to where we got to throughout the state playoffs," said Eisenhuth, who twice earned second-team, all-state honors as a player at Ferndale Area High School. "It all happened so fast. It's hard to grasp. It's something that our team and all the parents will remember for the rest of our lives."

The District 6-3A runner-up Hilltoppers' march through the PIAA tournament included wins over Beaver Falls, Seton-LaSalle, Shady Side Academy and Mercyhurst Prep. District 3 champion Lancaster Catholic, which returned five starters from a 2023 state semifinalist team, pulled away in a 56-39 victory over the Hilltoppers in the PIAA final.

Westmont Hilltop had only one senior among its eight players.

"Having such a small team, we had the privilege of giving all the parents a medal as well, which is something that probably never happens," Eisenhuth said. "The group we had is special and it will never be forgotten."

'Basketball 24/7': The 6-foot Gordon scored 484 points, an average of 21.6 points a game. She totaled 224 rebounds, 75 blocked shots, 56 assists and 48 steals.

"Christiana is basketball 24/7," Eisenhuth said. "She puts the work in and deserves anything she gets.

"It's obvious the skills that she has, but what made her and us get as far as we did this year is she grew up as a person and became a better teammate. She was not only making herself better, but she was making everyone else on the court better. That's what got her to the next level of basketball."

Gordon, a third-team all-state selection in 2022-23, said the players and coaches forged a bond that helped the Hilltoppers navigate through adversity in February and March.

"I couldn't have done this without my team," Gordon said of the all-state selection. "To go that far, it takes a whole team. When I have a bad game, I can rely on my team. It's really a team effort.

"The coaches really kept us together," she said of Eisenhuth and her brother/assistant coach Chad Eisenhuth. "After the district championship loss (against Forest Hills), they held us together and said, 'We're not finished.' It really motivated us."

The season ended in a championship game loss, but Gordon said the short-term disappointment will make the Hilltoppers better in the future.

"I feel like in the moment, you don't think of it," Gordon said of reaching the state final, "but honestly, we will remember this for a while. I feel like we all grew up together.

"I feel like I've really grown. I feel like all of my teammates were very upset by the loss, but I wanted them to know it was important that we made it this far."

'Big lift to program': Bishop McCort Catholic's Gallucci scored 604 points while adding 192 rebounds, 104 steals and 55 assists on a 26-3 team whose three losses came against a trio of state finalists.

The Crimson Crushers advanced to the Class 2A quarterfinals, falling to the eventual state champion Kennedy Catholic, 60-35. Bishop McCort's other losses were against eventual Class 1A state champion Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic and eventual 2A PIAA runner-up Marion Center, both District 6 opponents.

"A very well-deserved honor for Gianna," Bishop McCort coach John Hahn said. "We just had our season-ending banquet and I was going through all of her awards — Laurel Highlands MVP, making the Mirror Classic, the Cambria County all-stars. She's just been a big lift to the program. She made a big impact her freshman year and never looked back since. She plays on both ends of the floor and is just a great girl to coach."

Gallucci's 1,602 career points rank third all-time in the Bishop McCort girls program history.

"I'm going to miss her dearly," Hahn said.

Burkett scored 456 points and averaged 16.3 points a game to earn a spot on the third team in 2A.

The 5-9 standout grabbed 197 rebounds and added 48 steals, 37 assists and 29 blocked shots for a 24-4 District 6 runner-up squad. Portage reached the second round of the state playoffs before falling to eventual champion Kennedy Catholic.

She scored 846 career points despite missing much of her sophomore season and part of her junior year due to injuries.

"Kudos to Jenna for being recognized as one of the top high school cagers in Pennsylvania," Portage coach Lance Hudak said. "She has faced adversity in her career, but has never wavered. Through a total commitment to the fundamentals of basketball, Jenna has developed the skill set that advances her to be a next-level player.

"Offensively, defensively and the intangibles, she is the complete package that a coach desires. Her impact on Portage hoops, our school and community is profound and will not be forgotten."

Prosser helped the District 5 champion Mountaineers (23-6) reach the PIAA tournament quarterfinals in Class 1A before falling to Williamsburg. As a freshman point guard, Prosser scored 480 points (16.6 average) and supplied 158 rebounds (5.4), 146 assists (5.0), 98 steals (3.4) and 15 blocked shots.

"I think she fit our system well because she has been around it for years while growing up," said veteran Berlin Brothersvalley girls coach Rachel Prosser, who is Coral's mother. "Her teammates did a nice job of playing as a team and finding the chemistry we needed to be successful. She did a good job under pressure and she's a hard worker."

On the all-state front, Coral Prosser joined her brother, senior Pace Prosser, who earned Class 1A boys player of the year and repeated as a first-team all-state selection while receiving his third all-state nod Wednesday.

Coral and Pace's father, Berlin Brothersvalley coach Tanner Prosser, was named Class 1A boys coach of the year Wednesday after leading the Mountaineers to a state runner-up finish for the third time in four years.

"Our program has been successful," said Rachel Prosser, who led Berlin Brothersvalley to the 2019 girls 1A state title. "We have a really nice young group that has been contributing. They've played together growing up. We're really looking forward to the coming years and the hard work they'll be putting in during the offseason."