Gators Take Bite Out Of McKeesport In Section Finale
The Gateway girls’ basketball team secured second place in Section 2-AAAA with a 45-35 win over the McKeesport Lady Tigers on Friday night. The Gators started fast and finished strong to cut down their section rival.
Seniors Morgan Hainsey and Elena Merlino knocked down open jumpers, including one trey apiece, to open up a 10-0 lead over McKeesport. The Gators own the stingiest defense in Quad-A and didn’t allow a point to the Tigers until a made free throw by Maniah Robinson with 3:06 to go in the first quarter. Gateway held a 14-3 lead and a 16-6 advantage by the end of one quarter, but the Tigers started to fight back in the second and third periods.
Owning a distinct advantage on the glass, McKeesport rallied back on the strength of sophomore Johnasia Cash. Cash pulled down numerous boards and scored 13 points to help the Tigers tie the score at 22-22 early in the third quarter. Nassiah Bray also finished with 13 points for McKeesport.
However, McKeesport never held a lead in this game and couldn’t keep pace with the Gators following a 16-5 run that put Gateway in front, 38-27. Hainsey was the leading scorer for Gateway with 13 points, but the inside play of junior Jasmine Copeland helped turned the tide on the Tigers. Copeland finished with eight points and was named the Player of the Game by the Quad-A Network. Hainsey helped put McKeesport away in the waning minutes of the game with four conversions from the free-throw line.
Gateway improves to 12-8 overall and 9-3 in Section 2-AAAA. McKeesport falls to 12-7 overall and 8-4 section play. The Gators will play Bethel Park today in a non-section contest. The Tigers visit Thomas Jefferson tonight in their regular season finale.