Top-Ranked Tigers Down Blackhawk, 55-47

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The North Allegheny girls’ basketball team closed out the Wright Automotive Tip-off Tournament triumphantly with a 55-47 win over the Blackhawk Cougars on Monday night. The Tigers, the top-ranked team in Class 6A, handled the Cougars, the top-ranked team in Class Quad-A, by dominating the boards. North Allegheny outrebounded Blackhawk, 44-21, with 16 boards coming on the offensive glass.

Both teams started out cold from the field in the first quarter, with the exception of sophomore Rachel Martindale who knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead midway through the period. Martindale narrowly missed out on a double-double, finishing the game with nine points and 10 rebounds.

The Tigers built a 10-5 lead by the early stages of the second period before the Cougars went on an 8-0 run to grab a 13-10 advantage. North Allegheny responded with a 9-0 run to retake the lead at 19-13, thanks in part to Hailey Zeise who tallied six points in the first half en route to a 15-point performance. Zeise also pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double.

The see-saw nature of the second period continued when Blackhawk went on another 8-0 run for a 21-19 lead. Freshman Mackenzie Amalia and older sister senior Madison Amalia, a St. Thomas Aquinas recruit, sparked the Cougars success in the first half with three 3-pointers and 11 points combined. Madison Amalia totaled 13 points while Mackenze Amalie finished with eight points.

Despite the output from the Amalia sisters, North Allegheny’s Piper Morningstar buried a 3-pointer to send the Tigers to the locker room with a 22-21 lead. Morningstar netted 14 points and connected on 3 of 8 attempts from beyond the arc.

North Allegheny gained a firmer grasp on the game in the third quarter and outscored the Blackhawks 20-8 in the period for a 42-29 advantage. The Tigers continuously fed the ball inside to junior forward Madelyn Fischer who scored 12 of her 14 points in the third quarter. Fischer also grabbed six rebounds on her way to Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors.

The Tigers extended the lead to 15 points at 44-29 in the early minutes of the fourth quarter before Blackhawk mounted a rally. The Cougars rolled off nine straight points to trim the NA lead to 44-38, spearheaded by sophomore Mady Aulbach who tallied a team-high 21 points. Along with 4 of 7 shooting from 3-point land, Aulbach also reeled in three steals to give the Cougars hope. However, North Allegheny doused the flames sparked by the Cougars and closed out the game in the waning minutes for a 54-47 victory.

North Allegheny sits at 3-0 on the season and will head to Florida for the KSA Tournament beginning on Thursday, December 15. Blackhawk falls to 0-3 on the young season.

Wright Automotive Tip-Off All-Tournament Team

Madison AmaliaBlackhawk
Mady AulbachBlackhawk
Ionie BannerPenn Hills
McKenzie BusheeMt. Lebanon
Madison DemskiVilla Maria
Madelyn FischerNorth Allegheny
Danielle McMasterNorwin
Amber NewberryAltoona
Mackenzie WagnerChartiers Valley
Hailey ZeiseNorth Allegheny
Most Valuable Player
Desiree Oliver Penn Hills