Seneca Valley's Meghan Hess lays it up over North Hills' Breanna Bertram, 20, and Sarah Treser at Seneca Valley High School on Monday, January 27, 2014.
JACKSON TWP — Meghan Hess’ four-point play not only pointed the way to victory for the Seneca Valley girls basketball team, it also opened the door to the postseason for the Raiders. SV had trailed North Hills the entire fourth quarter Monday until Hess drained a 3-pointer with 39.5 seconds left, giving the Raiders a 40-39 edge. The junior guard was also fouled on the play and made her foul shot. The Raiders went on to defeat the visiting Indians 45-39, clinching for SV (8-9, 6-4) its first WPIAL playoff appearance in six seasons. “The shot did not feel good when I let it go,” admitted Hess of the 3-pointer. “It was pretty much a desperation shot.” “The play that we drew up was an attempt to tie it with a (two-pointer) inside with either (Melissa Carter or Abbie Trzeciak),” said Raiders’ coach Rob Lombardo. “If one of our guards got open on the outside, then we just needed them to make a play.” Moments earlier, it was Lexus Lambert’s trifecta that cut North Hills’ lead to 39-37. Following Hess’ four points, Christina Dunning sealed the win by draining four free throws in the final 24 seconds. “Lambert, Hess and Dunning didn’t score a point in the first three quarters, but they all came up big at the end of the game,” said Lombardo. “It just proves that it’s a team game.” Though the Indians (8-11, 2-7) put a scare into the Raiders, North Hills was dealt its fifth straight section defeat. Nine turnovers in the final quarter doomed the visitors, whose last field goal was a 3-pointer from Sarah Treser with 5:50 left in the game. At that point, the Indians enjoyed a 36-29 advantage. “It was a lack of focus late in the game that hurt us,” said Indians’ coach Lauren Wilmus. “Seasoned teams know how to win games like this. We just aren’t there yet.” Trzeciak scored a game-high 19 points, 14 of them coming in the first half as the Raiders led 20-16 at intermission. “I did not tell the girls before the game that a win would clinch a playoff spot for us,” said Lombardo, “but at halftime, I let the cat out of the bag. I expected that we would come out fast in the third quarter, but it didn’t happen.” It was the Indians that took control in the third, outscoring the Raiders 17-6, thanks in large part to 10 points in the period from sophomore guard Jamie Halloran, who scored a team-high 16 points by the end of the game. “We remained positive the whole game,” said Hess. “We are a close team and I think that helps us in games like this. We never doubted that we could win.” “It doesn’t matter how you get it done as long as you get it done,” said Lombardo. “I’ve been preaching that for five years.” Carter added nine points and eight rebounds for Seneca Valley. NORTH HILLS 39 Sarah Treser 3 3-6 11, Jamie Halloran 6 2-4 16, Breanna Bertram 3 4-4 10, Brandi Williams 1 0-0 2, Scout Cheeks 0 0-2 0, Megan Taschner 0 0-0 0. Totals:13 9-16 39. SENECA VALLEY 45 Katie Brown 1 0-0 2, Abbie Trzeciak 8 1-4 19, Meghan Hess 1 1-3 4, Lexus Lambert 1 0-0 3, Melissa Carter 4 1-2 9, Christina Dunning 0 4-6 4, Michaela Lamont 1 2-2 4, Hannah Parey 0 0-0 0, Shaley Bream 0 0-0 0, Sarah Jones 0 0-0 0, Erin Danik 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 9-17 45. North Hills 8 8 17 6 — 39 Seneca Valley6 14 6 19 — 45 3-point goals: North Hills 4 (Treser 2, Halloran 2); Seneca Valley 4 (Trzeciak 2, Hess, Lambert). Monday: Seneca Valley at Oakland Catholic