Clutch 3-pointer lifts Plum girls to victory over Gateway
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Plum's Jordan Seneca is a Division I college softball prospect as a shortstop.
She made the play of the game from the hot corner Saturday afternoon — this time for the girls basketball team.
Seneca hit a 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds left in overtime to lift Plum to a 39-37 victory over visiting Gateway to keep the Mustangs in the Section 2-AAAA title race.
Plum has secured a fourth straight WPIAL playoff berth, but never has won a section title.
The dramatic shot was Seneca's only field goal of the game.
“I kept shooting, so I knew one was going to go in eventually,” said Seneca, a junior who has softball interest from St. Francis (Pa.), Kent State and Akron. “I knew I could make that shot. I knew it was going in.”
Plum (15-4, 8-2), which has won six straight and nine of its last 10, denied Gateway (15-4, 9-2) a share of the section title — at least on this day — and is now a half-game out of first place. Gateway and Fox Chapel are tied at the top.
“If I had a dollar for every lead change today, I'd be a rich man,” Plum coach Bernie Pucka said.
Neither team led by more than five. Junior guard Krista Pietropola's steal and two free throws tied it, 32-32, with 23.5 seconds left in regulation.
The lead changed hands five times in the extra period.
In overtime, after senior guard Ang Borriello hit a 3 — on Senior Day — to give Plum a 36-34 lead, Gateway's Maria Taylor got the Gators within one with free throw.
After Gateway junior guard Jada Epps made a soft jumper with 44 seconds left, Plum went to work on its final possession.
With leading scorer Pietropola trapped by a collapsing 3-2 zone, Seneca sprung free into the far corner, caught a pass from Pietropola and fired.
“Jordan's a thinker,” Pucka said. “Sometimes she is better just reacting and not thinking too much. That was a huge shot.”
Plum went 12 for 22 shooting free throws and had several turnovers on fast-break attempts, which allowed Gateway to hang around.
“We were hesitant at times today,” Pucka said. “In the first three or four minutes we in attack mode. We needed to take better care of the ball after we got rebounds.”
Junior forward Aly Weifenbaugh grabbed 12 rebounds, and sophomore Courtney Zezza 11 for Plum. Zezza fouled out with 2:17 left in OT.
Gateway led, 18-16, at the half. The third quarter opened with some pushing and shoving after Plum took a 23-18 lead. Tempers cooled, and Plum capped a 10-0 run early in the fourth on a coast-to-coast hoop by Pietropola.
Gateway cut into another five-point deficit and pulled even, 30-30, on a basket by Katey Wilson with 3:02 left.
Gateway held the ball for nearly two minutes and took a 32-30 lead on Taylor's driving layup with 49.2 seconds.
Pietropola scored a game-high 16 points, including 9 of 15 free throws, and grabbed eight rebounds.
“Everyone played one of their best games today,” said Pietropola, who has 906 career points. “The last time we played them, we were soft, especially in the first half.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is the Local Sports Editor of the Valley News Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cager Classic notebook: Highlands, Mars players bury hatchet for the weekend
- PIAA committee wants to revive western final
- Tough seasons to end on high note for girls at Cager Classic
- Ford City, Kittanning making final appearances at Cager Classic
- Seton-La Salle girls basketball team peaks with 8-game playoff run
- Longtime Westminster coach’s influence is felt in WPIAL basketball
- Division I-bound duo to lead East girls team at Cager Classic
- Seton-La Salle coach’s system validated with back-to-back berths in WPIAL finals
- East Allegheny board opens boys basketball coaching jobs
- Basketball all-stars delay hanging up sneakers