Tigers Claw Past Panthers In WPIAL Quarterfinals, 44-41

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by Jared Barton

The third-seeded North Allegheny girls’ basketball team earned its way back to the WPIAL 6A semifinals with a hard-fought 44-41 win over sixth-seeded Upper St. Clair from UPMC Court Thursday night.

It was all Tigers in the first quarter, as NA held an 11-0 lead before USC could get on the board. Senior Caroline Henderson had a trio of 3-pointers in the first frame, giving North Allegheny the hot start. The Tigers led 13-2 after one quarter.

Upper St. Clair woke up in the second stanza, outscoring North Allegheny, 20-7, in the quarter. Junior Meredith Huzjak had eight points in the frame, while fellow junior Olivia Terlecki had eight before the halftime break. Junior Claire Rosenberry scored right before the half ended as USC led 22-20.

North Allegheny came out of the gates strong in the third quarter, led by senior Kellie McConnell, who hit a quick 3-pointer to start the second half. Fellow senior Lydia Betz also went to work in the second half, scoring important points in the paint. She finished the game with nine total.  USC’s Huzjak tied the score at 32-32 in the final seconds of the third quarter on a buzzer-beating 3-point shot.

Senior Grace Heliger drained a three to begin the final quarter, as she contributed seven total points, with most coming in the second half. Late in the contest, Terlecki knotted the game at 41-41 with a trey, but NA had a quick response from Henderson with 50 seconds left. The sharpshooter nailed a 3-point shot giving her a game-leading 24 points. Henderson was named Wright Automotive Player of the Game for her efforts. USC held the final possession, but Huzjak was unable to hit from beyond the arc as time expired.

Upper St. Clair ends the season with a 12-11 overall record. North Allegheny improves to 21-2 and has guaranteed a spot in the PIAA State Basketball Tournament with the win. The Tigers face No. 2 Peters Township on Monday night in the WPIAL Semifinals at site and time to be determined.

Girls Basketball vs. Upper St. Clair, 2-22-24

Upper St. Clair22010941
North Allegheny137121244