WEXFORD — Trailing by 14 in the first quarter, North Allegheny had an outside shot to keep its undefeated record intact on Friday night.
In the end, the outside shot propelled the Tigers to victory.
Seneca Valley scored the first 10 points and led 17-3 toward the end of the first quarter, but the rival Tigers countered with a barrage of 3-pointers and rallied for a 55-49 Section 3-AAAA triumph over the Raiders on Friday night at North Allegheny High School.
The Tigers chipped away at the early Seneca Valley advantage, but the Raiders still held a 47-42 edge with 4:54 to play in the final quarter. However, James Meeker drilled a trio of 3-pointers down the stretch and Adam Haus made four clutch free throws to complete a 13-2 run and secure the North Allegheny victory.
The Tigers were launching from beyond the arc all night, as 38 of their 49 shots came from 3-point range. North Allegheny (6-0, 3-0) made just two 2-point baskets on the night, but drained 14 treys.
NA coach Dave DeGregorio expects as much from his squad, estimating the Tigers take “about 35” 3-pointers per game.
“That’s what we do,” DeGregorio explained. “Sometimes it’s going to come early and sometimes it’s going to be late. You just have to stick with it.”
“Kudos to NA,” said Seneca Valley coach Victor Gianotta. “They got hot; they made their 3s.
“I thought going in if we gave up 55 (points) we would win, but their defense hurt us and they made enough shots to win.”
Not much was falling for the Tigers in the first quarter, though, and Seneca Valley took full advantage.
The high point for the Raiders (4-2, 2-1) came with 1:30 to go in the first quarter when Easton Bazzoli absorbed contact and knocked down a 3-pointer at the top of the key. He hit the free throw to complete a rare 4-point play and provided SV with a 17-3 cushion.
Bazzoli finished with a team-high 16 points and outscored the Tigers by himself in the first quarter by a 10-9 margin.
But NA responded before the game spiraled out of control and trimmed the gap to 26-20 by halftime.
“If it’s two good teams, it’s not going to be won or lost in the first six, eight minutes of the game,” said DeGregorio. “You just have to weather the storm and come out the other side and stay positive.”
NA took its first lead of the game on a Joe Mancini 3-pointer with 5:15 to go in the third quarter, but SV still held a 41-40 edge entering the final frame.
The Raiders’ chances were weakened when Bazzoli was whistled for his third and fourth fouls on consecutive possessions with under a minute to go in the third quarter. The fourth foul marked the third time he was called for a charge. He didn’t return until 3:30 remained in the fourth and also missed significant time in the second quarter.
“We played without our best player for (a while),” said Gianotta. “That hurt us.”
Meeker led NA with 17 points and six rebounds, while R.J. Colabrese had a game-high five assists.
R.J. McCauley scored in double figures for SV with 12 points and pulled down a game-high nine boards. Alex Snyder and T.J. Holl added six points apiece, while Matt Darby had a game-high four steals.
SENECA VALLEY 49
Matt Darby 1-5 2-2 4, T.J. Holl 3-8 0-2 6, Alex Snyder 3-8 0-1 6, Easton Bazzoli 5-9 3-4 16, R.J. McCauley 4-9 4-9 12, Eric Woods 2-7 0-0 5, Mike Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Dakota Topf 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-46 9-18 49.
NORTH ALLEGHENY 55
Joe Mancini 3-12 0-0 9, Sean Hennigan 2-4 0-0 6, R.J. Colabrese 2-5 0-0 5, Adam Haus 1-4 6-8 9, David Haus 1-5 1-1 3, Andre Sumpter 0-1 0-2 0, Luke Soyster 2-7 0-0 6, James Meeker 6-12 0-0 17. Totals: 17-49 7-11 55.
Seneca Valley 17 9 15 8—49
North Alleghney6 14 20 15—55
3-point goals: Seneca Valley 4-15 (Bazzoli 3-5, Woods 1-6, Holl 0-2, Darby 0-1, McCauley 0-1). North Allegheny 14-38 (Meeker 5-10, Mancini 3-12, Soyster 2-6, Hennigan 2-4, Colabrese 1-2, A. Haus 1-2, D. Haus 0-2).
JV: North Allegheny 43, Seneca Valley 41 (NA: Gwaltney 16; SV: Topf 14).
Thursday: Seneca Valley Tournament