Lady Tigers Send Penn Hills Packing In PIAA Second Round, 65-48
The North Allegheny girls’ basketball team used a strong second half to dispose of the Penn Hills Indians in the second round of the PIAA playoffs, 65-48, on Tuesday night from Plum High School. The Lady Tigers led 26-22 at intermission but blew open the game in the second half with 65 percent shooting from the field. With the win, North Allegheny earns a rematch with the WPIAL champion Norwin Knights in the PIAA quarterfinals on Friday night. The Knights ousted the Tigers in the WPIAL semifinals, 60-52.
The Tigers opened the game against Penn Hills with a 3-pointer by senior Devvin LaBarge and shortly after added another trey courtesy of junior Abby Gonzales for a quick 6-2 lead. For the remainder of the first half neither team could gain an edge and North Allegheny maintained a four-point advantage into halftime. The Indians hung tough with the Tigers thanks in large part to the play of junior guard Jade Ely who tallied 10 of her 18 points in the first half.
While Ely paced the Indians, North Allegheny held talented sophomore guard Desiree Oliver in check with a scoreless half. Oliver was shadowed by sophomore Hailey Zeise and was a paltry 0 for 7 in the first 16 minutes of the game. Zeise chipped in with 10 points offensively and was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.
Another key player to the Tigers effort was senior Meg Morningstar who’s rebounding and mid-range jumper fueled the NA attack. Morningstar had eight points by halftime on her way to a 12 point night. While Morningstar was slowed by foul trouble in the second half, junior Taylor Lake came on for 11 points and Gonzales buried Penn Hills with 17 second half points on her way to a 22-point performance.
The Tigers built a 43-28 lead late in the third quarter, and despite a brief spurt by Oliver and the Indians that trimmed the NA advantage to nine points at 49-40, North Allegheny controlled the action and cruised in the fourth quarter to a 65-48 triumph. Oliver was limited to a 4 for 17 shooting night and finished with 11 points.
North Allegheny sits at 24-3 with the victory and will get a third crack at the Norwin Knights on Friday night at a site and time to be determined. Penn Hills, who won its first section title since the 1995 season, concludes the year with a 17-11 record and an appearance in the WPIAL title game.
Girls Basketball vs. Penn Hills, 3-10-15PIAA Class AAAA Second Round
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