2018-2019 Game Summaries
In a showdown between two of the top teams in Class 6A, the reigning state champion Upper Dublin Cardinals upended the North Allegheny Tigers, 41-32, in the second round of the PIAA tournament on Tuesday night at Chambersburg High School. Upper Dublin advances to the state quarterfinals to face District 1 rival Abington on Friday night.
North Allegheny opened the first quarter with a 5-1 lead courtesy of a layup by junior Katerina Balouris and a 3-pointer by senior Rachel Martindale. Upper Dublin was slow to find its rhythm in the early going and didn’t score from the field until a Jackie Vargas layup with 2:22 remaining in the opening stanza cut the NA lead to 5-3. The Vargas layup sparked an 8-0 run for the Cardinals, who held a 9-5 lead after one quarter of play.
After a pair of Martindale free-throws trimmed the Upper Dublin lead to 16-11, the Cardinals used another 8-0 run to end the second quarter for a 24-11 advantage at intermission. Vargas, a first-team all-state selection last season, scored 10 of her game-high 17 points in the first half.
The third quarter was a defensive struggle that saw NA cut the deficit to single digits at 27-19 before freshman Bliss Brenner threw up a desperation 3-pointer to successfully beat the third-quarter buzzer to give the Cardinals a 30-19 lead going into the fourth period.
North Allegheny began the first of two fourth-quarter rallies with a 7-0 run that trimmed the Upper Dublin lead to 30-26 with 5:14 remaining in the game. The NA run consisted of a Martindale pull-up jumper, a Brynn Serbin 3-pointer and two free-throws from sophomore Lizzy Groetsch.
The defending state champs responded with a 7-0 run of their own that was sparked by a 3-pointer courtesy of sophomore Dayna Balasa. The Upper Dublin sharpshooter finished the night with 11 points and three treys.
With Upper Dublin leading 37-26 with two minutes to play, North Allegheny mounted another late charge that was spearheaded by Martindale. The Akron University commit drained a pair of 3-pointers during a 6-1 run to trim the Upper Dublin lead to 38-32 with 1:09 remaining. Martindale scored a team-high 13 points and was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game by the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Despite NA’s comeback bid, the Cardinals were able to fend off the Tigers at the free-throw line and with their feisty defense for a 41-32 victory.
North Allegheny’s season comes to a conclusion with a record of 24-3, marking the sixth consecutive season the Tigers reached the 24-win plateau.
For the senior class, Tuesday’s outcome caps a remarkable four-year run of success. Over the last four years, the Lady Tigers compiled a record of 105-11, which includes two WPIAL titles and one PIAA championship game appearance. Congratulations to head coach Spencer Stefko and the entire North Allegheny girls’ basketball team for another memorable season.
Girls Basketball vs. Upper Dublin, 3-12-19
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Appearing in the PIAA playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, the North Allegheny girls’ basketball team used a dominant effort on the glass to secure a 44-22 win over Governor Mifflin in the first round of the state playoffs on Friday night. The Tigers improve to 24-2 on the season, also marking the sixth straight year NA has won 24 or more games in a single season.
The No. 5 seed out of District 3 took the game’s early lead with a 5-0 run thanks to a 3-pointer by Elisa Fiore and a runner by Stelle Mollica. North Allegheny’s offense was cold to start the night and didn’t score until senior Brynn Serbin connected on a pair of free throws with 3:41 remaining in the quarter to bring the score to 5-2, Mustangs.
The Serbin free throws helped spark a 13-2 run that was spearheaded by sophomore Lizzy Groetsch, who scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half, including a pair of 3-pointers. Groetsch was also paramount in NA’s efforts in the rebounding department and was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game by the North Allegheny Sports Network.
North Allegheny, typically an outstanding 3-point shooting team, made only 6 of 34 attempts from beyond the arc. However, the Tigers ability to win the glass was the difference in the game. On offense, NA benefitted with numerous second and third chance opportunities. On defense, the Tigers limited Governor Mifflin to one-and-done possessions and hampered the Mustangs with their pressure defense.
North Allegheny held a 22-12 lead at halftime and pulled away in the second half on the strength of Serbin and senior Rachel Martindale. Serbin buried a pair of treys in the third quarter and finished with 11 points. Martindale netted 10 of her 14 points in the second half, doing the bulk of her damage at the free-throw line. The combination of Serbin and Martindale helped the Tigers cement a 44-22 win in the PIAA first round.
With the win, North Allegheny advances to the PIAA second round where it’ll face the reigning Class 6A state champions, Upper Dublin, on Tuesday night at a site and time to be determined. The game will be broadcast live via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Governor Mifflin, who had won 10 of their last 11 coming into Friday’s game, ends the year with a record of 20-10.
Girls Basketball vs. Governor Mifflin, 3-8-19
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North Allegheny’s bid for a WPIAL three-peat came to an end on Saturday night at the Petersen Events Center with a 43-40 overtime defeat to Peters Township in the Class 6A championship game. The WPIAL title win for the Indians is their first in program history.
The game was a rematch of last year’s WPIAL Class 6A championship, with the Tigers claiming a 79-48 mercy-rule win over the Indians. Hoping to erase the nightmarish memories of last season’s title tilt, Peters Township opened the game with a strong first quarter that was spearheaded by senior guard Makenna Marisa. The Penn State University commit poured in 12 points in the first quarter, helping the Indians to a 14-10 lead.
Senior Isabella Mills opened the second quarter with a layup to increase the Peters Township lead to 16-10. However, the North Allegheny defense clamped down on Marisa for the rest of half and the Tigers shooters heated up with a 9-0 run to grab a 19-16 advantage with 30 seconds left before intermission. Senior Rachel Martindale sparked the run with a 3-pointer, followed by consecutive baskets from Katerina Balouris, Lizzy Groetsch and Taylor Rawls. Peters Township capped the first-half scoring on a layup by junior Mackenzie Lehman to bring the score to 19-18, Tigers, at the half.
Peters Township regained the lead on the first basket of the third quarter on a rebound and put-back by freshman Journey Thompson for a 20-19 advantage. The Tigers followed the Thompson bucket with another 9-0 run that was once again sparked Martindale. The Akron University commit posted back-to-back 3-pointers to start the run, followed by another trey by sophomore Paige Morningstar for a 28-20 NA lead midway through the third.
The Indians answered with a 16-4 run that lasted into the fourth quarter for a 36-32 lead. With Peters Township seemingly poised for a victory, North Allegheny’s championship game experience came through as Balouris contributed with a layup and Martindale converted four straight free throws to pull North Allegheny ahead, 38-36 with 1:47 remaining in the ballgame. Martindale led the Tigers offensively with a team-high 15 points, netting 12 in the second half.
With Martindale pacing the NA offense, and Groetsch playing a primary role in slowing down Marisa through three quarters and overtime, the duo of Martindale and Groetsch received Wright Automotive Co-Player of the Game honors.
The Tigers maintained their 38-36 lead until the waning seconds as Lehman tied the score at 38-38 on a last-second layup to force overtime.
In overtime, Mills made one of two free throws for a 39-38 PT lead and Lehman followed with a steal and layup, giving the Indians a 41-38 advantage with 1:45 left in overtime. Balouris responded with a layup for NA to cut the deficit to 41-40 with 1:30 to play.
A North Allegheny foul sent Mills back to the charity stripe for a one-and-one opportunity with 26 seconds remaining in OT and she converted two free throws for a 43-40 advantage for Peters Township. The Tigers had one last chance to force a second overtime, but Martindale’s 3-point try at the buzzer fell short and the Indians held on for a 43-40 victory.
Peters Township was led offensively Marisa with a game-high 17 points. Mills and Lehman added 10 points each. With the loss, North Allegheny falls to 23-2 on the season. Peters Township remains undefeated at 25-0. Both teams qualify for the PIAA playoffs which begin on Friday night.
Girls Basketball vs. Peters Township, 3-2-19
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Junior Katerina Balouris delivered the game-winning layup with seven seconds to play, and secured a steal on Norwin’s final last-ditch possession, to propel North Allegheny to a 37-36 triumph over the Knights in the WPIAL Class 6A semifinals on Tuesday night at Fox Chapel High School. The Tigers will make their fourth straight appearance in the WPIAL championship game and will vie for a three-peat at “The Pete” in Pittsburgh on Saturday. North Allegheny will take on undefeated Peters Township in a rematch of last year’s Class 6A title tilt.
The co-section champions from Section 1-6A dueled in a classic WPIAL semifinal on Tuesday night and the game proved to be another thriller between the two squads. The last time these teams met, Norwin edged North Allegheny 44-43 on a Jayla Wehner runner with six seconds to play on Jan. 29 in Irwin.
In the first quarter, North Allegheny opened the game with a 3-pointer by sophomore Lizzy Groetsch and held the lead for the entire first half. The Tigers led by as much as 11 points in the second quarter at 23-12 before Norwin chipped away with a pair of Danielle Rosso treys to cut the score to 26-20 by halftime. North Allegheny senior Rachel Martindale had the hot hand in the early going, scoring 15 of her 17 points in the first half, including five 3-pointers.
Norwin stormed out of the gates in the third quarter and used a 12-0 run to grab a 32-26 advantage with 3:34 remaining in the period. Junior Olivia Gribble and senior Jessica Kolesar each contributed with a 3-pointer during the Knights’ run.
Following an NA timeout, Martindale hit a pull-up jumper from the mid blocks and senior Brynn Serbin knocked down a 3-pointer before the third-quarter buzzer to trim the Norwin lead to 32-31.
The final quarter was a low-scoring stanza with five lead changes. The Tigers took the lead on a Groetsch reverse layup with 4:40 remaining for a 33-32 advantage. The Knights leapfrogged ahead on a Wehner drive to the rim for a 34-33 lead with 1:56 remaining.
The score stayed that way until Groetsch went to the line for a pair of free-throws with 36 seconds to play. The Big 56 Conference first-team all-section guard made both free throws to pull NA ahead, 35-34. The lead was short-lived as Norwin jumped ahead at 36-35 on another Wehner layup with 16 seconds remaining.
North Allegheny’s ensuing possession ended on what proved to be the game-winning basket by Balouris, assisted by Groetsch, with seven seconds to go for 37-36 North Allegheny lead. Norwin called a timeout with 2.2 seconds remaining to set up a last-ditch attempt to win it. The inbounds pass under the basket was tipped and stolen by Balouris who secured the turnover and the win for a return trip to the Petersen Events Center on Saturday night.
Martindale led all scorers with 17 points, followed by Groetsch who netted 15. For her clutch free-throws and game-winning assist, Groetsch was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game by the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Norwin was paced by senior Emily Brozeski’s 10 points, followed by Wehner who ended the night with nine points, including two crucial baskets in the fourth quarter.
With the win, North Allegheny improves to 23-1 on the season and advances to the WPIAL Class 6A championship game to face the Peters Township Indians. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live via the internet by the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Norwin falls to 21-2 on the campaign and will participate in the PIAA playoffs next week.
Girls Basketball vs. Norwin, 2-26-19
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by Jared Barton
A slow start led to a close finish as the North Allegheny girls’ basketball team beat Upper St. Clair 33-26 Friday night in the WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals at West Allegheny High School.
The first quarter was filled with back-and-forth play and both teams committed minimal fouls throughout the first half. The Panthers held a slim 9-8 lead at the end of one frame.
The scoring slowed in the second quarter with NA and USC scoring six and two points respectively, and the Tigers held a 14-11 lead at the half.
The scoring opened up in the second half, led by the strong play of senior Rachel Martindale, who tallied 14 total points. Sophomore Lizzy Groetsch was also a strong shooter from the foul line and finished the contest with 11 points.
At the end of three quarters, the Tigers led 24-18.
Martindale opened the fourth quarter with a early three-point shot that gave control of the game to North Allegheny. Masterful defensive efforts from Katerina Balouris, Groetsch and Brynn Serbin secured the win. The trio was solely responsible for keeping senior forward Sarah Price in check with just 10 points on the night. Sophomore Paige Morningstar was also a difference maker off the bench, with six points.
Martindale earned Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors for her all-around play on both ends of the court.
The Panthers fall to 11-12 and still has a chance to continue their season in the PIAA playoffs if the Tigers win the WPIAL championship.
Meanwhile, the Tigers improve to 22-1 overall on the year and head into the next round with some added motivation. NA takes on the Norwin Knights Tuesday evening, the only team that beat the Lady Tigers this season. Norwin defeated Mt. Lebanon 39-35 to make it to round two.
Girls Basketball vs. Upper St. Clair, 2-22-19
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|Upper St. Clair||9||2||7||8||26|