North Allegheny seniors bow out in 2nd round of states

By: Josh Rizzo
Friday, March 15, 2019 | 7:49 PM

Shots didn’t fall for North Allegheny girls basketball in the second round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs.

While the lack of offense led to a 41-32 defeat against defending state champion Upper Dublin last Tuesday at Chambersburg, it didn’t change much for the Tigers.

North Allegheny, which led its classification in the WPIAL by limiting opponents to 33.2 points per game, played the same kind of game it always does.

“That’s why they are who they are,” Tigers coach Spencer Stefko said. “They do the gritty, gutty stuff. They have that selflessness and help each other out. They are special in a lot of ways.”

Results on the court showcased what a run it was for North Allegheny’s seven seniors. The group compiled a 105-11 record, including two WPIAL championships and a berth in the PIAA finals.

Senior guard Brooke Barcia said continuing the Tigers’ tradition is a challenge they welcomed. The Tigers’ other seniors were Brynn Serbin, Kristen Chomos, Rachel Martindale, Kamaria Carioto, Olivia Whitacre and Mary Evankovich.

“We handled pressure well,” Barcia said. “Our coach prepared us well in practice to handle all situations.”

North Allegheny parlayed its strong defense into a co-section championship and a fourth straight appearance in the WPIAL finals. The Tigers (24-3) forced undefeated Peters Township into overtime before falling 43-40.

No one was able to lure North Allegheny into a shootout. The Tigers held nine of their opponents below 30 points, including a 44-22 win over Governor Mifflin to open the state playoffs.

Little deception was required.

“I don’t think it was the defense we played,” Barcia said about the style. “Any defense would have worked. The kids on our team were who made the defense. I think other teams prepared more for our defense than for stopping our offense.”

Against Upper Dublin, North Allegheny never could catch up after falling behind 9-5 in the first quarter. The Tigers cut the lead to 30-26 in the fourth quarter behind a 7-0 run on a Serbin 3-pointer, a basket from Martindale and free throws from Lizzy Groetsch. Upper Dublin pulled away by making its free throws late.

Stefko wasn’t ready to look ahead since this group was so special to him.

“I’m hurting still,” Stefko said. “It’s hard. I love these kids. This is the first group I’ve had at North Allegheny for all four years.”