Heading into the 2020 section finale against the archrival North Hills Indians, the North Allegheny boys’ basketball team needed a victory to clinch a playoff berth. A loss would end the Tigers season. In a do or die contest, the Tigers rose to the occasion for a 61-40 victory.
A strong outside shooting performance from senior guard Zach Andreykovich provided the spark as NA secured a second straight appearance in the WPIAL playoffs. Andreykovich totaled 17 points in the game and poured in five 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater to end the first quarter.
“That was a huge game,” said Andreykovich. “It was really cool to play well in that situation with a lot on the line.”
The playoff-clinching victory on Feb. 7 was the crescendo to the season for Andreykovich and the 2019-2020 Tigers. The sharpshooter orchestrated a superb senior campaign, finishing second on the team in 3-point percentage (.341) and 3-pointers made (46). He also averaged 9.0 points per game, third best on the squad.
By season’s end, Andreykovich received all-section honorable mention laurels from the Big 56 Conference and was granted a spot to play in the Roundball Classic on April 24, an annual all-star event featuring the best basketball players in the WPIAL, City League and District 10.
“It means a lot to me. It’s very special and I’m honored. All-Section is a pretty big deal and the Roundball Classic is an even bigger deal.”
Following an offseason of workouts to prepare for his senior year, his accomplishments are especially gratifying.
“I was at the gym a lot this summer. I definitely put in more work than in earlier years and I wanted to have a bigger, better season as a senior.”
Along with his performance in the North Hills game, another special moment for Andreykovich was a crucial late-game shot from beyond the arc in the second overtime of a 71-69 victory over eventual City League Champion, Obama Academy on Dec. 17.
As a 3-point specialist, nothing is better than making a big trey to rally his teammates.
“It’s the best feeling in the world, in my opinion. You hit that big three and look over to the bench and they’re all fired up. It’s a great feeling.”
For Andreykovich, basketball is in his blood. His grandfather, George Andreykovich, was a four-year letterman in both basketball and baseball at Allegheny High School (Class of 1956) on the North Side of Pittsburgh. His father, Andrew, was a two-year letterman for North Allegheny (Class of 1986).
One of his favorite players is former Los Angeles Laker and 5-time NBA champion, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, a player he shares the same birthday with (August 14). It’s the reason why Andreykovich wears No. 32.
Moving forward, Andreykovich will not pursue basketball in college. He plans to attend Penn State University’s main campus in State College. His major is undecided.
Three North Allegheny basketball players have been selected to take part in the annual Roundball Classic at Geneva College. At the time of this article, the Roundball Classic is slated for April 24-25 featuring senior all-stars from the WPIAL, City League and District 10 in a seven-game event.
On Friday at 7:30 p.m., senior guard Zach Andreykovich and senior forward Grant Timmerson will take part in the Boys North vs. South game. Andreykovich and Timmerson will both play for the South team, coached by Ryan Hughes of Sto-Rox.
On Saturday at 4:00 p.m., senior forward Kat Balouris will represent the NA girls’ basketball team in the Class 6A/City League vs. Class 5A/District 10 contest. The Class 6A/City League team will be coached by Ellen Guillard of Allderdice.
Congratulations to Andreykovich, Timmerson and Balouris for being named to this annual all-star event.
Three North Allegheny boys’ basketball players have been selected to the Big 56 Conference Section 1-6A all-section team.
Collecting second-team laurels were junior forward Khalil Dinkins and senior forward Grant Timmerson. Receiving honorable mention recognition was senior guard Zach Andreykovich.
For more on the Big 56 Conference all-section teams, click here.
The WPIAL released its basketball playoff pairings on Tuesday night and the North Allegheny boys’ basketball team received the No. 11 seed and will take on the sixth-seeded Bethel Park Black Hawks in the Class 6A opening round. The contest will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 8:00 p.m. at North Hills High School.
The Tigers finished the regular season with an 11-11 record and was the fourth-place team out of Section 1 with a 4-6 section mark. The Black Hawks were 13-8 overall and 6-4 in Section 2, good for a third-place finish in the section.
This will be the first playoff meeting between NA and Bethel Park since a WPIAL quarterfinal matchup in 2015. The Tigers won that game, 65-63, thanks to a Cole Constantino jumper with 1.7 seconds remaining. Bethel Park had one last chance to tie or win the game but NA’s Jordan Lake swatted a last-ditch 3-point attempt by Joey Mascaro in the left corner as time ran out.
The North Allegheny Sports Network will have live coverage of the WPIAL first round matchup between NA and Bethel Park on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
For a look at the entire Class 6A bracket, click here.