NA Bests Baldwin In WPIAL Quarterfinals, 41-27

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The Baldwin Highlanders trimmed a 15-point halftime deficit into a seven-point deficit by the fourth quarter, but the second-seeded North Allegheny Tigers finished strong for a 41-27 victory in the WPIAL quarterfinals on Friday night from North Hills High School.  Baldwin cut the score to, 33-26, midway through the fourth quarter, but the Lady Tigers responded with a game-ending 8-1 run to finish off the Highlanders.

In the first half, North Allegheny’s pressure defense forced the Highlanders into 19 turnovers as the Tigers built a 27-12 lead by intermission.  Both teams were cold from the outside, but North Allegheny controlled the paint and used its transition game to construct a 15-point lead. Abby Gonzales, Meg Morningstar and Taylor Lake combined to score 21 of NA’s 27 points in the first half.

Baldwin played with poise in the second half and limited the Tigers to just four points in the third quarter.  While the Highlanders scored points grudgingly, they scored enough to make it a 31-21 game at the end of three periods.  Sophomore Lauren Gilbert did her best to lead the Highlanders back, finishing with 10 points on 4 of 9 shooting from the field.

After Baldwin trimmed the score to 33-26, North Allegheny returned to form with clutch buckets by Gonzales and Lake, and a stifling defense that forced seven more turnovers in the final stanza.  In all, Baldwin ended the game with 29 turnovers.

Helping NA’s offense finish off Baldwin in the waning minutes, Gonzales totaled 13 points for the game and Lake added 11.

A key to NA’s victory was sophomore guard Hailey Zeise who shadowed Gilbert all game long.  While Gilbert totaled double figures, the talented shooter never truly got untracked.  Zeise scored four points and posted a game-high six steals, earning her Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors.

North Allegheny improves to 22-2 with the victory and advances to the WPIAL semifinals for the second straight season.  In the semifinals on Tuesday night, the Tigers will face one of only two teams to beat them this season, the Norwin Knights.  Baldwin slips to 15-9 overall and will play Shaler in the PIAA Play-in bracket on Monday night.

Girls Basketball vs. Baldwin, 2-20-15

WPIAL Class AAAA Quarterfinals
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