Tigers Topple Second-Ranked Talbots, 68-62

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Before an electric crowd at North Allegheny High School, the third-ranked NA Tigers outlasted the second-ranked Hampton Talbots on Friday night, 68-62, for an important Section 3-AAAA victory.  In the first meeting between these section rivals, the Talbots earned a 62-61 overtime win without the services of Pitt-recruit Ryan Luther who was out with an ankle sprain.  With Luther back for the second act of this thrilling series, it was the Tigers who brought down the final curtain on Hampton in the rematch.

Behind the play of Luther and junior guard David Huber, the Talbots jumped out to a 6-0 lead and built a 17-11 advantage after one quarter of play.  North Allegheny never trailed Hampton by more than seven points in the first half and trimmed the Talbots lead to one point by halftime, 29-28.  Luther scored nine points in the first half and finished with 21 on the night.  Huber was consistent as he poured in 11 points in each half for a 22 point performance. 

In the third quarter, the Tigers fell behind 43-37 before NA went on a game changing 14-0 run. North Allegheny trimmed the score to 43-42 by late in the period when senior Mike Carter knocked down a three-pointer to put the Tigers in front for the first time in the game, 45-43.  Cole Constantino added hot shooting in the fourth quarter as he netted 11 points, all in the second half. 

While Hampton battled in the final stanza, the gritty play of David Haus helped ward off the Talbots for the 68-62 triumph.  Haus battled for every loose ball and rebound and scored a hard fought 16 points. The senior guard added five assists, four rebounds and three steals.

Another key contributor to NA’s win was Elijah Zeise. The senior guard/forward was matched up with Ryan Luther, and at times twin brother Collin Luther, throughout much of the evening.  Zeise thrived against his much taller foes, scoring 13 points and hauling in nine rebounds.  Carter played an important role as well, scoring a team-high 17 points. Carter hit some critical free-throws along the way, shooting 6 of 6 from the charity stripe.

With the win, North Allegheny improves to 16-2 overall and 10-2 in Section 3.  Hampton falls to 18-2 overall and 10-2 in the section. The Tigers host the top-ranked and undefeated New Castle Red Hurricanes on Tuesday night.  Hampton hosts Seneca Valley on Tuesday. Both games tip at 7:30 pm.