NA Wins 3rd WPIAL Title in 4 Years with 71-45 blowout of USC
Photo Gallery by Hannah Heliger
On the strength of a career-best 30-point performance from senior guard Jasmine Timmerson, the North Allegheny girls’ basketball team rolled to a 71-45 triumph over Upper St. Clair in the WPIAL Class 6A championship game at the Petersen Events Center. Its the third WPIAL crown for the Tigers in the last four years and fifth District 7 championship overall.
The second-seeded Tigers faced the top-seeded Panthers for the sixth consecutive year in the postseason and was hoping to atone for a loss to USC in the WPIAL semifinals last season. Upper St. Clair, meanwhile, was appearing in the WPIAL championship game for the third straight year and hoping to avenge two prior losses in the title tilt, including a 70-36 defeat at the hands of North Allegheny in 2021.
Each team tried to set the tone and both had success in the early going. Marist College commit Kate Robbins opened the scoring with a layup to give USC a quick 2-0 lead, but North Allegheny immediately answered on a 3-pointer junior Kellie McConnell for a 3-2 advantage. The game was tied at 6-6 with 5:32 remaining in the first quarter, when the Tigers used a 7-0 run to take a lead they would never relinquish. Timmerson started the run with a pair of free throws and followed with a steal and layup for a 10-6 lead. Junior Caroline Henderson added a 3-pointer and NA led, 13-7, with 2:02 remaining in the opening stanza.
Upper St. Clair was playing without injured point guard Sam Prunzik, who sustained a season-ending arm injury in the WPIAL semifinal win over Mt. Lebanon on Monday. Off the bench, her younger sister, freshman Ryan Prunzik, provided a spark with five points late in the first quarter to trim NA’s lead to 15-11 after one period of play.
Despite the jolt from Ryan Prunzik, it did little to slow the Tigers and the hot-shooting Timmerson in the second quarter. North Allegheny outscored USC, 17-6, in the period and built a 32-17 lead by intermission. Timmerson totaled 13 points in the first 16 minutes and junior forward Lydia Betz ended the half with a buzzer-beater 3-pointer to send the Tigers into the locker room with decided momentum.
AT THE HALF:
USC 17 pic.twitter.com/unkYDPRHYN
— NATigers (@NATigerAthletic) March 4, 2023
Upper St. Clair’s Rylee Kalocay, the second-leading scorer in Class 6A with 19.6 points per game, was limited to just three points in the first half. Needing to rally coming out of halftime, the Panthers fed Kalocay often and the strategy paid dividends as Kalocay scored 21 of her team-high 24 points in the second half. Kalocay hit five 3-pointers on the night.
While Kalocay poured in the points, the Panthers couldn’t gain any ground as Timmerson matched Kalocay shot for shot. The University of Pittsburgh commit, playing on the home court of her future team, gave Pitt a glimpse of the talent they’re getting. Timmerson finished with a career-high 30 points, adding six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Additionally, Timmerson connected on 11-of-12 shots from the free-throw line to propel North Allegheny to a 71-45 victory. With a virtuoso performance, Timmerson was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game by the North Allegheny Sports Network.
NA TAKES THE TITLE!!
71-45 FINAL pic.twitter.com/5p2amp5Cp2
— NATigers (@NATigerAthletic) March 4, 2023
Timmerson may have been the headliner but she was far from the only contributor for the Tigers. Betz netted 17 points on an efficient 6-for-7 night from the field. McConnell reached double figures with 11 points and Henderson connected on a trio of treys for a nine-point outing. Senior forward Eva Prenatt, a Penn State Behrend commit, chipped in with four points and three rebounds. As a team, North Allegheny shot 49-percent (22-of-45) from the field and 37-percent (7-for-19) from beyond the arc.
Along with Kalocay, Robbins also touched double digits for Upper St. Clair with 10 points. USC, the highest scoring team in Class 6A (60.3 ppg), was held in check and shot just 29-percent (14-of-48) from the field. NA also pressured the Panthers into 15 turnovers and converted those miscues into 18 points.
With the WPIAL championship victory, North Allegheny improves to 20-5 overall and will host Manheim Township in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs. Its the 11th straight year the Tigers have won 20+ games in a single-season. The North Allegheny Sports Network will have live coverage of Friday’s PIAA playoff game with Manheim Township.
Upper St. Clair, meanwhile, slips to 21-3 on the season and will take on the loser of the PIAA Subregional game between McDowell and Altoona on Saturday.
Girls Basketball vs. Upper St. Clair, 3-3-23
|SCORE BY QUARTERS||1||2||3||4||FINAL|
|Upper St. Clair||11||6||13||15||45|