NA Drops Heartbreaker in Triple Overtime To Mt. Lebanon In Season Opener, 83-80
The North Allegheny boys’ basketball team dropped a heartbreaker in the season opener on Tuesday night, 83-80, in triple overtime to the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils in non-section contest. In a valiant effort, the Tigers rallied to force overtime and a second OT with buzzer beaters in each period, but the Blue Devils hit a buzzer beater of their own to force a third OT and escaped UPMC Court with the narrow win.
Trailing 19-14 late in the first period, North Allegheny went on an 13-0 run for a 27-19 lead by the early stages of the second period. In a tightly contested affair, neither team led by more than eight points and the NA advantaged was trimmed to 35-31 by halftime.
With the game tied 47-47 after three quarters, the scoring came to a screeching halt in the fourth quarter with Mt. Lebanon inching its way to a 52-47 lead with less than a minute to play. North Allegheny scored its first basket of the quarter on a 3-pointer by senior Joe Marquis with 29 seconds left in regulation to trim the deficit to 52-50. A pair of made free throws by senior Riley Farabaugh increased the Mt. Lebanon lead to 54-50 with 25 seconds left, but North Allegheny connected on another 3-pointer courtesy of senior Ty Iwanonkiw from the left wing to trim the deficit to 54-53 with seven seconds to play. Farabaugh, who went 15-for-15 at the free-throw line, made two more at the charity stripe to raise the Blue Devils advantage to 56-53 with 3.4 seconds left. That left just enough time for senior guard Anthony Sciote to bank in a half-court buzzer to knot the score at 56-56 and force overtime.
As they did late in the fourth period, the Tigers needed some late 3-point shooting heroics to rally in the extra session. Trailing 61-57 with 27 seconds remaining, senior forward Paul Rubish was left wide open in the right corner and he drained a triple to cut the deficit to 61-60 with 17 seconds to play in OT. Mt. Lebanon sophomore Patrick Smith then knocked down a pair of free throws to grow the Blue Devils lead to 63-60 with 15 seconds remaining. On their final possession of the overtime, Iwanonkiw fired up a three from the left wing that missed its mark but was rebounded by senior forward Joey Dopirak. With time winding down, Dopirak quickly rifled a pass back to Iwanonkiw who buried his second opportunity at the buzzer to tie the game again at 63-63 and force a second overtime.
In the second OT with the game tied 67-67, Dopirak split two defenders for a layup with just 2.5 seconds remaining and the Tigers held a 69-67 advantage. Needing to travel the length of the floor, Mt. Lebanon heaved a deep pass into the forecourt that was tipped by Rubish. Farabugh hustled to the loose ball and threw up a desperation 3-point attempt that missed but the rebound was tipped in midair by sophomore Liam Sheely at the buzzer to again knot the score at 69-69.
Farabaugh, who finished with a game-high 32 points, and senior Nate Girod, who made 8-of-10 from the free-throw line, gave Mt. Lebanon an 83-80 lead with clutch shooting from the charity stripe with seven second on the clock. North Allegheny’s late-game magic ran out however, as a Sciote 3-point attempt from 35 feet out bounced twice off the rim and fell out and the Blue Devils hung on for an 83-80 win.
North Allegheny’s valiant effort was spearheaded by Sciote, who connected on six 3-pointers and totaled a game-high 26 points to earn Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors. Iwanonkiw netted 18 points and buried four treys. Dopirak tallied 12 points and Rubish chipped in with 11 points.
For Mt. Lebanon, along with Farabaugh’s 32-point effort, Girod posted 16 points, senior Brody Barber netted 15 points and Sheely added 13 points.
North Allegheny looks to bounce back from the season-opening defeat on Friday night at the York Suburban Tip-Off Tournament.
Boys Basketball vs. Mt. Lebanon, 12-5-23
|SCORE BY QUARTERS