Tigers Ride 2nd Quarter Surge To PIAA 2nd Round Win Over Blue Devils
The North Allegheny girls’ basketball team advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals for the third time in the last four seasons with a 57-34 victory over Mt. Lebanon on Tuesday night in second round of the state tournament at North Hills High School. Trailing 19-11 after one quarter, the Tigers used a 19-0 run to start the second period to gain the lead and a strangle hold of the game.
Meeting in the playoffs for the fifth time in the last seven years, Mt. Lebanon was attempting to snap a five-game head-to-head losing streak to NA and jumped out to an eight point lead in the first quarter thanks to some hot shooting from beyond the arc. The Blue Devils poured in four 3-pointers in the opening stanza, including two by sophomore Shea McCarthy, for a 19-11 advantage. Considered one of the top perimeter shooters in the WPIAL, sophomore Payton Collins also knocked down a 3-pointer during the initial surge. However, those were the only points Collins scored for the entire night thanks to a stifling Tigers defense.
In the second quarter, North Allegheny stormed back with a 19-0 run for a 30-19 lead. Senior guard Jasmine Timmerson helped spark the spurt with 13 of her game-high 19 points in the second period alone. The NA defense clamped down on the Blue Devils and didn’t allow a field goal in the quarter until Gina Smith scored on a layup with 1:08 left before halftime.
Leading 32-22 coming out of halftime, the Tigers opened the second half on a 6-0 run before the Blue Devils expended a timeout. Mt. Lebanon could only briefly slow NA’s momentum and the Tigers continued to pull away on the strength of an 18-point performance by Kellie McConnell. The junior guard netted 12 of her 18 points in the second half. Delivering several well-timed steals and slick passes, McConnell was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game for her all-around contributions to the victory.
Maintaining a 47-29 lead after three quarters, the Tigers went into cruise control in the fourth and closed out a 57-34 triumph. Along with the double-digit efforts by Timmerson and McConnell, seven different players touched the score sheet for North Allegheny. The lone player to reach double figures for Mt. Lebanon was junior guard Jenny Smith with a team-high 10 points.
With the win, North Allegheny improves to 22-5 on the season and advances to the PIAA quarterfinals to face section rival Norwin on Friday night. Mt. Lebanon’s year comes to a close with an 18-9 mark. Friday night’s contest between NA and Norwin will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Girls Basketball vs. Mt. Lebanon, 3-14-23
|SCORE BY QUARTERS||1||2||3||4||FINAL|