ShareThis Page

North Allegheny flummoxes Hempfield with defense

| Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, 8:39 p.m.
North Allegheny's Joe Mancini shoots a 3-pointer over Hempfield's Marc Demilio during their WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal game Feb. 22, 2014, at Penn Hills. North Allegheny defeated Hempfield, 82-59.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
North Allegheny's Joe Mancini shoots a 3-pointer over Hempfield's Marc Demilio during their WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal game Feb. 22, 2014, at Penn Hills. North Allegheny defeated Hempfield, 82-59.

The North Allegheny boys basketball team is doing its best to prove that defense wins championships.

The third-seeded Tigers' third-quarter defensive clinic, coupled with efficient 3-point shooting, carried them to an 82-59 win over No. 6 seed Hempfield in a WPIAL Class AAAA boys quarterfinal game Saturday at Penn Hills.

The Tigers (21-3) advanced to the semifinals, where they will face Hampton. The Talbots downed Franklin Regional, 76-61, in an earlier quarterfinal at Penn Hills.

North Allegheny held Hempfield (21-3) scoreless for the first 4:40 of the third quarter to pull away. The Tigers outscored the Spartans, 30-8, in the third quarter.

“It just clicked coming out of the locker room,” North Allegheny coach Dave DeGregorio said.

Elijah Zeise set the tone after halftime by taking a pair of charges within the first minute. After that, the Tigers' relentless full-court pressure gave Hempfield fits.

“It's very difficult for players to speed up to beat a press but then understand in the halfcourt, ‘OK, if I don't have a good shot, I need to pull it out,' ” Hempfield coach Mark Marino said. “And I think we struggled with that several times.”

It was a good day all-around for the Tigers, who made 12 3-pointers. Joe Mancini made five of those and finished with a game-high 22. Mike Carter, who scored the game's first seven points, added 16. Cole Costantino scored 15.

“We just played fearless and played with confidence, and we shot the ball well,” Mancini said. “Everybody came out ready to go hard and ready to play.”

The game continued the Tigers' trend of defensive dominance. They shut down Norwin, 66-36, in the first round.

Kason Harrell led Hempfield with 21 points, followed by Tony Pilato, who scored his team's first six points and finished with 19.

The Tigers moved on to a semifinal rubber match with Section 4-AAAA rival and No. 2 seed Hampton (21-3). The teams split their regular-season series.

“We're trying to get revenge from last year, when they beat us in the semis,” Mancini said. “We definitely know we can play with them. There's not a doubt in anyone in our locker room's mind that we can play with them. We can beat them because we already beat them once this year.”

Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.