Hampton boys hold strong during win over North Allegheny

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 10:45 p.m.

The chain held strong.

With Pitt recruit Ryan Luther out because of a sprained ankle suffered in practice Tuesday, Hampton boys basketball coach Joe Lafko likened his team to a chain prior to Wednesday's Section 4-AAAA home game against rival North Allegheny.

Thanks to Collin Luther's baseline layup with 52 seconds left in overtime, top-ranked Hampton survived a wild finish to knock off No. 3 North Allegheny, 62-61, and remain undefeated.

“We're like a chain with links,” Lafko said. “We have to be strong — every single link. We proved tonight that we're a pretty strong team.”

For the winning basket, Luther executed a pick-and-roll play that likely also would have featured his brother.

But Collin Luther kept it, drove to the hoop and scored.

“There was a screen there,” Luther said. “I could have used it. I decided to attack and make something happen. Luckily it worked.”

Jack Obringer made sure it stood up by grabbing a defensive rebound off a Cole Constantino attempt that barely missed, calling a timeout before he was out of bounds.

“Usually at the end of the game we're running plays for Collin and Ryan together,” Obringer said. “You know you have a go-to. But Collin stepped up, swung it around and ended up making a shot.”

David Huber (14 points) missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving North Allegheny (10-1, 4-1) a final chance, but Cole Constantino's driving layup at the buzzer was no good.

North Allegheny led for much of the fourth quarter until Hampton's Hayden Seserko and Joey Lafko (14 points) made 3-pointers during a 25-second stretch with about three minutes to go in the game.

At that time, Hampton (12-0, 5-0) led 57-55.

North Allegheny tied it 57-57 after Constantino (21 points) got his own rebound and converted on a floater. The play was made possible by key steal from David Haus, and overtime became necessary when Seserko's off-balance attempt spun out.

After not scoring in the first half, Collin Luther took a feed in the post and finished for a 32-28 Hampton lead at 5 minutes, 16 seconds of the third quarter.

But North Allegheny responded by scoring 12 of the next 14 points to grab a 40-34 lead after a fadeaway from Elijah Zeise at 2:24.

A last-second jumper from Obringer cut North Allegheny's lead to 43-41 after three.

“I thought we played really hard,” North Allegheny coach Dave DeGregerio said. “I'm not so sure we played really smart, especially when we had the lead a couple times.

Neither team separated by more than four points during the opening half, and Hampton (12-0, 5-0) had a 28-24 edge at halftime after using a 7-0 run late in the second.

After a 3-pointer from North Allegheny's Mike Carter that gave the Tigers a 22-19 lead — the fourth of five lead changes in the first half — Trace McConnell completed a three-point play in between two Huber layups for a 26-22 Hampton lead at 2:25.

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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