NA Punishes Top-Ranked Penn Hills For Tip-Off Tourney Title

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The title tilt at the Wright Automotive Tip-Off Tournament pitted the top-ranked and second-ranked teams in Class AAAA according the preseason MSA Sports Network poll and it was North Allegheny who came away the victor in a 70-50 triumph over the Penn Hills Indians. The Tigers pounced on the No. 1-ranked Indians with a first half barrage that Penn Hills could never quite recover from.

North Allegheny’s outside shooting and domination of the glass resulted in a 21-8 lead in the first quarter and a 38-15 advantage by late in the second period. Zakaria Karanikos, Taylor Lake, Rachel Martindale, Piper Morningstar and Hailey Zeise all poured in 3-pointers in the opening half as the Tigers totaled eight treys on the afternoon.

Adding to the difficulty for Penn Hills was the early foul trouble for Cleveland State-recruit Jade Ely who was hit with four fouls in the first half. Despite falling behind by 23 points, Penn Hills rolled off an 11-0 run that trimmed NA’s lead to 38-26 by the opening minute of the third quarter. Juniors Desiree Oliver and Ionie Banner sparked the run and finished with 16 and 21 points, respectively.

However, the Indians could not inch any closer and North Allegheny pulled away in the second half for an impressive 70-50 victory. Senior Abby Gonzales netted a team-high 14 points, Zeise scored 12 points, and senior Taylor Lake tallied 11 points.

On the glass, the Tigers held a 41-24 advantage in rebounding with 22 of those rebounds coming of the offensive variety. Individually, Morningstar totaled a team-high eight rebounds, followed by Gonzales and Madelyn Fischer who hauled in seven boards apiece. Matched up defensively with Penn Hills standout Desiree Oliver and playing an outstanding all-around game, the North Allegheny Sports Network selected Hailey Zeise as the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.

North Allegheny improves to 2-0 overall on the young season while Penn Hills drops to 1-1. The Lady Tigers visit Baldwin on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm.

Wright Automotive Tip-Off All-Tournament Team

Cheyenne TrestCanon-McMillanJunior
Nicole OlkoskyChartiers ValleySenior
Desiree OliverPenn HillsJunior
Abby GonzalesNorth AlleghenySenior
Hailey ZeiseNorth AlleghenyJunior
Taylor Lake (MVP)North AlleghenySenior