Paige Morningstar of North Allegheny (Wexford, Pa.) was born competitive. That happens when you're the daughter of former NBA player Darren Morningstar. It also manifests when your older sisters, Meg and Piper, pave the way as champions at North Allegheny before becoming successful Division I athletes.
Paige Morningstar, a volleyball and basketball standout, said things as simple as a game of Monopoly over the holidays are a big deal at the Morningstar household.
"It can get real heated," Paige said. "If we can actually finish a game, we make the loser clean up."
But that drive forged a championship pedigree as Morningstar heads to the University of Louisville on a volleyball scholarship after winning five state titles, including two this season, for the Tigers.
"Growing up and having them all push me and in my head definitely helped me," she said. "That's why I'm the most decorated. I don't let them forget it."
Morningstar can add 2020-21 MaxPreps Female Athlete of the Year to her resume ... something sure to come up during the next Monopoly game. She won four volleyball championships and one basketball crown at North Allegheny, though it's likely the Tigers would've added another had COVID not scrapped the season in the quarterfinals.
Graphic by Ryan Escobar
In 2020-21, Morningstar posted 715 assists, 97 digs, 91 kills, 41 blocks and 30 aces for the 18-0 Tigers, while averaging 9.3 points per game and 5.7 boards for the 27-1 hoops team.
"She has a different demeanor than her dad or sisters," said North Allegheny volleyball coach Heidi Miller. "Her court savvy and sense of how to play high-level sports are there, but where Meg was vocal and feisty, Paige is laid back and a little more chill."
Chill or not, Miller said when it came to matters inside the lines that Paige Morningstar was all business.
"It's hard to win a state title in the largest classification," Miller said. "To do both (win basketball and volleyball titles) at a high level at a big school is tough. And to do it as a key player is impressive."
In the 2020 volleyball finals, Morningstar notched 30 assists, while she pouring in 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the hardwood title contest.
"She blocked the last point in the state championship match," Miller said. "She was someone you could count on to make the play."
Miller's squad went 88-1 over Morningstar's four years, the one blip coming in the 2019 Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League finals, a loss Miller said helped refocus the team and fuel the state title run.
"I'm still not happy about it," said Morningstar. "It woke us up. My goal this year was to go 4-for-4 (in volleyball state titles) and put the cherry on top."
But she admits the basketball title might've been a little sweeter.
"In volleyball, we were so good," she said. "No one really expected us to win and knowing it was my last basketball game made it special. Sad, but also very happy."