NA Drops Heartbreaker to Central Catholic, 58-57
In a battle for the Section 1-6A title, sophomore Enzo Khalil’s basket-and-one with 0.7 seconds remaining lifted Central Catholic to a narrow 58-57 win over North Allegheny on Friday night at UMPC Court. The Vikings trailed for the vast majority of the contest and didn’t lead in the second half until Khalil’s game-winning basket and free throw in the waning seconds of the game.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair that saw the visiting Vikings grab a 9-8 lead before the Tigers ended the period on a 10-2 run to take an 18-14 advantage. North Allegheny’s height advantage posed problems for PCC as the duo of seniors Joey Dopirak and Ty Iwanonkiw combined for 19 points in the first half, helping the Tigers build a 31-25 lead by halftime.
NA led by as much as eight points in the first half, but in the second half, Central Catholic ramped up the defense and found a bit more offensive success thanks in part to junior big man Bradley Gompers. Gompers finished with 17 points on the night, while senior guard Peyton Wehner netted 13 points to help lead the Vikings comeback bid.
With NA leading 55-52 in the final minute of the game, junior guard Xxavier Thomas knocked down a corner 3-pointer to tie the game at 55-55 with 25 seconds remaining. North Allegheny regained the lead, 57-55, thanks to a pair of clutch free throws from senior guard Anthony Sciote with eight seconds left to play. However, Khalil’s heroics in final seconds propelled Central Catholic to a stunning win, 58-57.
Dopirak led the Tigers with 24 points and converted 10-of-13 shots from the free-throw line to take home Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors. Sciote finished with 15 points, going 5-for-6 at the charity stripe, while Iwanonkiw chipped in with 11 points.
North Allegheny dips to 10-11 overall and finishes section play with a 7-3 mark. Central Catholic improves to 13-8 overall and wins the Section 1-6A title with an 8-2 record. The Tigers will host Bethel Park on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. for a final tune-up game ahead of the WPIAL playoffs. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Boys Basketball vs. Central Catholic, 2-9-24
|SCORE BY QUARTERS