Jasmine Timmerson will soon be trading North Allegheny’s black and gold for the blue and gold of Pitt.
Before that happens, the senior guard had some unfinished business to wrap up on her future home court.
Timmerson scored a game-high 30 points and her Tigers made seven 3-pointers en route to a 71-45 victory against Upper St. Clair in the WPIAL Class 6A championship game Friday night at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center.
“I don’t think it’s so much about the court as it is about my teammates,” Timmerson said. “To have that kind of game with my teammates means a lot to me.”
It was the sixth WPIAL championship for North Allegheny (20-5), which has played in the finals in seven of the past eight years and won five titles during that span.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the group of kids to come as far as they’ve come since December because this was not in the cards in December,” said North Allegheny coach Spencer Stefko, who has now won seven WPIAL championships and two PIAA titles. “If they believed it, great, good on them, but I was having trouble seeing it in December and I’ll be darned if they didn’t make it happen.”
Forward Lydia Betz scored 17 points and added six rebounds for North Allegheny, while Kellie McConnell scored 11, with two 3-pointers, and Caroline Henderson added nine points on three 3-pointers.
“We knew what we had to go coming into the game,” guard Cam Phillips said. “We game planned all week and it went good for us today.”
Upper St. Clair (21-3), winner of six WPIAL championships all time, last won a WPIAL title in 2008. The Panthers, who played without standout senior point guard Samantha Prunzik, saw their 15-game winning streak snapped.
Prunzik broke her arm in the second half of the Panthers’ semifinal victory against Mt. Lebanon.
“I wish we had a scrimmage or another game before we had to play this one without her and maybe just get that game out of the way without having her on the floor with us,” Upper St. Clair coach Pete Serio said. “In that respect, I don’t know if people understand that it’s the first time that we’ve gone out there without her and to play in that kind of game without her.”
Upper St. Clair has now lost in the WPIAL championship game three of the past four seasons.
Rylee Kalocay scored a team-high 24 points for the Panthers and forward Kate Robbins added 10.
“I realized at halftime that if we wanted a better chance to win the game that I was actually going to have to start doing something,” Kalocay said. “I mean, the first half I had three points, missed every single one of my outside shots other than a layup, missed my first foul shot – that was not a great way to start the game. That’s definitely not how I wanted to start it.
“I realized that this is my seniors’ last year,” she added. “This is their last go. The least I can do is do anything I can to help them win.”
North Allegheny began to put separation between themselves and Upper St. Clair in the final six minutes of the first half.
The Tigers went on a 14-2 run before the break, making three 3-pointers during their outpouring from distance.
Betz scored seven points during the run, which was punctuated when she and Henderson hit consecutive 3-pointers inside the final minute of the half to give the Tigers a 32-17 lead.
“I think that I expect to make about 30% of them and if we’re rebounding well, we expect to go get 40% of the misses and that’s what kind of gives us the confidence to shoot those,” said Stefko of his team, which shot 36.8% from 3-point range.
Timmerson led all players with 13 points in the first half.
“It was nice to be on her sideline one more time,” Stefko said. “It’s interesting when you call plays, and she’s involved, they have tendency to work. I’ve had some other teams when I called the same plays and there have been different outcomes.”
North Allegheny advances to play District 3’s seventh-place team, Manheim Township, in the PIAA playoffs. Upper St. Clair will face either Erie McDowell or Altoona when the PIAA postseason begins.