SLIPPERY ROCK — Slippery Rock sank only one 3-pointer all night.
Nicole Papley made it count.
The 6-foot junior drained a trey from the left corner with 47 seconds remaining Saturday night, giving the Rockets the lead for good in a 39-38 girls basketball victory over Seneca Valley.
The score was tied seven times overall and the lead changed hands seven times in the second half alone.
“My gosh ... I didn’t even know what I was doing,” Papley said. “I just turned around and threw it up there. Thankfully, it went in.”
Papley’s trey gave Slippery Rock a 37-36 lead. She stole the ball moments later and two Haley Angerett free throws widened the gap to 39-36 with 30.8 seconds to go.
Seneca Valley’s Hanna Parey was fouled while attempting a game-tying trey with 12.5 seconds left. She missed the first free throw, but made the next two.
The Raiders would get one final shot at victory, but Meghan Hess’ 3-point attempt from well beyond the arc was off the mark as the buzzer sounded.
“Nicole came up big for us,” Slippery Rock coach Christin Miller said. “When she misses a couple of shots, she has a tendency to not want to shoot anymore. I’m glad she took that one.”
Papley led the Rockets with 17 points. She began the night averaging 12.6 points per game with 13 treys.
Seneca Valley had the game’s largest lead — 21-14 — with 2:10 left in the first half. Slippery Rock trimmed that deficit to 21-18 by halftime.
“We had a typical Seneca Valley third quarter, scoring only four points,” Raiders coach Rob Lombardo said. “That quarter has been a problem spot for us all season.
“This was a good high school basketball game played on the floor. But it was the worst officiated game in my 17 years of coaching. Those officials were allowing girls to get hurt out there and doing nothing about it.
“The players were great to each other, continually helping each other up. This could have been worse if the players weren’t so respectful,” Lombardo added.
Slippery Rock’s Morgan Siebka tallied eight points, five steals, five assists and four rebounds before leaving the game with approximately two minutes to play.
“She caught an elbow or forearm to the head ... something ... and was feeling dizzy and a bit disoriented,” Miller said. “I wasn’t going to take any chances with her. She’s OK now. She just has a headache.
“This game was more physical than I thought it’d be. Morgan’s my second best ball handler and my point guard, Riley (McGonigle) wasn’t in there. I just told Haley to get the ball and hold it.”
Angerett led the Rockets with nine rebounds before hitting the two free throws late.
“We missed Morgan not being on the court late, but other girls stepped up and we made enough plays to win,” Papley said.
Kaitlyn Eagle came off the bench to score eight points and two assists for the Raiders. Hess contributed eight points.
Seneca Valley has dropped seven of nine games — averaging 32 points in its 10 losses, 48 in its eight wins. But the Raiders can still make the playoffs with a win at Butler Friday, coupled with a Shaler loss to North Allegheny.
“It’s tough for any team to reach 40 points in a game in our section,” Lombardo said. “That’s why we work so hard on defense and our defense was strong tonight.
“That No. 50 hit the game-winning 3. It was clutch. It was the difference.”
Slippery Rock won its second straight game as it gears up for the District 10 playoffs.
“A game like this is all about building momentum toward the playoffs,” Miller said. “This is the time of year you want to start peaking.”
Note: SV’s girls dropped a 54-41 section contest to Oakland Catholic Monday night.
SENECA VALLEY 38
Kaitlyn Eagle 3-8 0-0 8, Jane Vandrak 1-1 0-0 2, Meghan Hess 3-5 0-0 8, Katie Brown 1-2 0-0 2, Hanna Parey 1-1 2-3 4, Paige Montrose 0-1 3-4 3, Lexus Lambert 2-7 0-2 5, Melissa Carter 0-0 0-0 0, Abbie Trzeciak 3-1-0 0-0 6. Totals: 14-35 5-9 38.
SLIPPERY ROCK 39
Morgan Siebka 3-5 2-2 8, Marissa Siebka 1-3 0-0 2, Lauren Dietz 1-1 0-0 2, Haley Angerett 1-8 2-2 4, Riley McGonigle 2-3 0-0 4, Nicole Papley 6-11 4-4 17, Emily Campbell 1-1 0-1 2. Totals: 15-32 8-9 39.
Seneca Valley 11 10 4 13—38
Slippery Rock8 10 10 11—39
3-point goals: Eagle 2, Hess 2, Lambert; Papley
JV: Seneca Valley, 48-24 (SV: Jane Vandrak 10, Paige Montrose 8; SR: Jocelyn Guy 9)