NA Rallies From 15 Down to Beat Butler, Dave DeGregorio Earns 500th Win

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North Allegheny boys’ basketball team rallied from a 15-point second half deficit to beat the Butler Golden Tornado on Friday night, 70-63. Before a raucous crowd at UPMC Court, the thrilling NA comeback marked the 500th career win for head coach Dave DeGregorio and propelled the Tigers into a first-place tie with the Central Catholic Vikings.

In a hot-shooting first half for both teams, North Allegheny and Butler matched each other blow for blow and were tied 35-35 when senior Anthony Sciote buried a 3-pointer with 1:30 remaining in the second quarter. However, the Tornado stormed back with three consecutive 3-pointers for a 9-0 run to end the half. Senior Ayden Davis, who poured in five treys in the half, banked in a last second 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Butler to a 44-35 lead at intermission. Davis netted 17 points in the first half but didn’t score again for the rest of the night.

The Golden Tornado stretched their lead to 15 points at 53-38 near the midway point of the third quarter. With an incredible shooting performance in the first half, Butler buried 11 3-pointers. However, in the second half the GT’s only made two as the NA defense clamped down.

With the Tornado held at bay, senior Ty Iwanonkiw sparked the Tigers’ comeback with 10 points in the third quarter and finished 17 points. For his efforts in leading and sparking the second-half rally, Iwanonkiw was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.

Thanks in part to the efforts of Iwanonkiw, North Allegheny trimmed the deficit to 57-50 after three quarters of play. The surge continued in the fourth quarter and the Tigers finally gained the lead in the game when senior Joey Dopirak‘s short-range hook shot found the bottom the net and gave NA a 61-60 lead with 2:31 left to play. Thanks to clutch free-throw shooting by Dorpirak and Sciote, the Tigers grew the lead and put the game away as NA prevailed, 70-63.

Dopirak was 8-for-9 on free throws and converted 7-for-8 in the final stanza, while Sciote went 6-for-8 from the charity stripe. Butler was only 5-for-11 on the free throws. Dopirak finished with 17 points and Sciote netted 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Additionally, seniors Joe Marquis and Ben Lukitcsh also connected on critical shots from beyond the arc in the second half.

With the win, North Allegheny improves 9-10 overall and 6-2 in Section 1-6A. Butler slips to 14-4 overall and 5-3 in the section. Thanks to a Central Catholic loss to New Castle, the Tigers pull into a tie for first place with two section games remaining on the season. North Allegheny will next visit Seneca Valley on Tuesday.

Boys Basketball vs. Butler, 2-2-24

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