NA Edged In OT by North Penn in PIAA 2nd Round, 56-54

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Senior Caleigh Spurling’s spinning layup at the buzzer in overtime lifted North Penn to a stunning 56-54 win over North Allegheny in the PIAA Class 6A second round on Tuesday night at Bald Eagle Area High School. The Tigers led by as much as nine points in the third quarter but a rally by the Knights forced overtime and Spurling’s game-winning basket propelled North Penn to the PIAA quarterfinals on Friday night.

Spearheaded by senior forward Lydia Betz and senior guard Caroline Henderson, the Tigers led most of the first half and held a 29-25 advantage at intermission. Betz, a Goldey-Beacom College commit, tallied 12 of her game-high 21 points in the first half and Henderson, an RIT commit, totaled 11 of her 19 points in the first 16 minutes.

The Tigers constructed a 35-26 lead midway through the third quarter before an Olivia Stone steal and subsequent 3-pointer by Cameron Crowley cut the NA advantage to 35-29 and began to sway the momentum toward the Knights. North Allegheny sophomore Vange Balouris answered back with a 3-pointer of her own to increase the Tigers lead back to nine at 38-29, but North Penn continued to battle and slowly chipped away.

In the fourth period, North Penn opened the stanza on a 8-2 run and led for the first time since the first quarter, taking a 45-44 lead. With the Knights leading 47-46 in the waning minutes, Henderson buried a critical go-ahead 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Tigers a 49-47 advantage with just 1:14 to play. Undaunted, Crowley hit a long 2-point jumper from the left corner to tie the game at 49-49 with 57 seconds remaining and ultimately forced overtime.

In the extra session, freshman Lily Brown scored immediately for North Penn to give Knights a 51-49 lead. In regulation, the Knights never led by more than one point, but in overtime the Suburban One League Champions garnered a four-point lead at 53-49 before the Tigers clawed their way back. Down 54-51 in the final minute of overtime, Henderson once again connected on a crucial 3-pointer to knot the score at 54-54 with 16 seconds left. That set the stage for Spurling’s game-winning basket at the buzzer to give North Penn a 56-54 victory.

Spurling, a Thomas Jefferson University commit, finished with a team-high 16 points. Crowley netted 13 points, including 11 in the second half and overtime. Brown totaled 12 points with 10 coming after halftime.

For North Allegheny, Henderson was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game for knocking down critical 3-point baskets in crunch time.

North Allegheny’s season comes to an end with a record of 23-4, compiling a win total of 20 or more for the 11th consecutive season. Congratulations to head coach Spencer Stefko and the entire North Allegheny girls’ basketball team for another memorable season.

North Penn improves to 23-4 and advances to the PIAA quarterfinals to face Garnet Valley on Friday night.

Girls Basketball vs. North Penn, 3-12-24

North Allegheny1910137554
North Penn1691212756