Top-Ranked Tigers Fend Off Raiders For 8th Straight Win
The North Allegheny girls’ basketball team staved off a fourth-quarter rally by the Seneca Valley Raiders for a 35-32 home win on Tuesday night. The win was the eighth in a row for the Lady Tigers and the 19th consecutive victory in the head-to-head series with Seneca Valley.
Against the high-flying Tigers, the visiting Raiders used a deliberate pace to slow the tempo and were deadlocked with NA after one quarter, 5-5. North Allegheny heated up with a 9-0 run in the second quarter to take a 14-5 lead, spearheaded by a defense that forced 13 first-half turnovers.
North Allegheny increased the lead by as much as 15 points with a 29-14 advantage in the late stages of the third quarter thanks in part to the efforts of senior Hailey Ziese. On senior night, the Stony Brook University recruit posted a team-high 14 points, five rebounds and three assists on her way to Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors. Juniors Piper Morningstar and Courtney Roman added seven and six points, respectively.
Despite the deficit, Seneca Valley refused to go away and mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter. Trailing 32-19 early in the fourth, the Raiders slowly but surely chipped away with an 11-0 run that was capped on a 3-pointer by sophomore McKenna Gross who finished with a team-high nine points.
With the North Allegheny lead trimmed to 32-30 with under a minute remaining, North Allegheny was able to close out the win at free-throw line with a 1 for 2 trip to the charity stripe by Rachel Martindale and a 2 for 2 effort at the line by Zeise for a 35-30 lead with seven seconds remaining. Seneca Valley ended the scoring with a meaningless bucket by Karlie Martin at the buzzer to bring the final to 35-32, Tigers.
Following the win, North Allegheny improves to 18-1 overall on the season and 7-1 in Section 1-AAAAAA. Seneca Valley sits at 7-12 overall and 3-5 in section play. Despite the loss, the Raiders can still clinch a playoff spot with just one victory in their final two section games. The Tigers, who have already locked up a postseason berth, will host Butler on Thursday night in a game that will be broadcast live via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Girls Basketball vs. Seneca Valley, 1-31-17
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