Tigers Fend Off Golden Tornado, 58-53

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The North Allegheny girls’ basketball team earned a hard-fought 58-53 win over the upstart Butler Golden Tornado on Friday night at UPMC Court. The victory was NA’s 27th in a row against Butler in the head-to-head series.

The Tigers’ lengthy winning streak was nearly snapped by the visiting Tornado, who built a 29-24 lead by halftime. Junior Amelia McMichael netted 12 of her team-high 19 points in the first half and junior Sydney Patterson scored eight of her 13 points over the first 16 minutes.

The Tigers stormed back against the Tornado in the third quarter and took a 39-36 lead by the end of the period. Senior forward Lydia Betz came alive in the third quarter and posted 17 of her game-high 23 points in the second half. For her efforts, Betz was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.

North Allegheny never trailed again and stretched the lead to as much as eight points in the fourth quarter before one last gasp by Butler trimmed the NA lead to 56-53 in the final minute of the game. Sophomore Vange Balouris delivered the dagger with a pair of free throws with seven seconds left to bring the final score to 58-53.

Also touching double figures for North Allegheny were seniors Caroline Henderson and Grace Heliger, who scored 13 and 11 points, respectively. Henderson buried three 3-pointers, giving her a new personal single-season career high of 65 on the campaign. She now has 157 for her four-year career at North Allegheny.

With the win, North Allegheny improves to 17-2 overall and 6-2 in Section 1-6A, while Butler slips to 4-15 overall and 1-7 in section play. The loss eliminates the GT’s from post-season contention. The Tigers will look to continue their winning ways at Seneca Valley on Monday night.

Girls Basketball vs. Butler, 2-2-24

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