HUNTINGTON — The Huntington St. Joe girls came up with the baskets or free throws when needed to hold off North Allegheny (Pennsylvania), 65-59, at the St. Joe gym in girls high school basketball Monday night.
In the third period, St. Joe opened a 36-23 lead and appeared to have the Tigers on the ropes. The visitors from then went on 11-2 run to get within 38-34. Lizzy Groetsch had six points for North Allegheny in the surge. However, St. Joe’s Hannah Roberts countered with two three-point baskets to give the Irish a 44-34 lead after three.
In the fourth period, North Allegheny got within six again (44-38) only to see Bailee Adkins score and then Dionna Gray score twice after steals for a 50-38 lead, forcing the Tigers to take timeout.
From that point, St. Joe had enough grit to keep North Allegeheny at bay, then Adkins went 6 of 6 down the stretch at the foul line to ice it for the Irish (13-0). North Allegheny, which got within four (63-59) before the final two free throws by Adkins, is 9-2.
“They’re a good team,” St. Joe coach Shannon Lewis said. “They kept fighting to the end. Hannah made it look like I knew what I was doing. I just subbed her in. We then got two baskets off turnovers. We did enough to weather the storm.”
Grace Hutson led St. Joe with 16 points and Adkins, who has signed with Dayton, added 15. Gray and Roberts scored 10 each for the No. 1 team in Class A in West Virginia.
Paige Morningstar paced North Allegheny with 18 points. Groetsch had 14 and Taylor Rawls 11.
“We’d keep coming back, but we couldn’t get over the hump,” Tigers coach Spencer Stefko said. “That’s why they’re a good team. We wanted to find a team that plays well together. We want to get where they are.”
Hutson knew the visitors would put up a battle.
“They weren’t going away,” Hutson said. “We had to play a complete game. The experience helped us. We can go on stretches and we can go deeper. Bailee is a game changer.”
“I loved the effort,” Lewis said. “We defended enough to win. Grace has fit right in. We know what she can do.”
Imani Hickman and a teammate bumped heads in the fourth period and Hickman got helped off the floor.
NORTH ALLEGHENY 12 9 13 25 — 59: Timmerson 5, Fischer 6, Rawls 11, Morningstar 18, Groetsch 14, Balouris 5.
HUNTINGTON ST. JOE 11 16 17 21-65: Hickman 7, Adkins 15, Whitmore 3, Hutson 16, Abby Lee 4, Gray 10, Roberts 10.