Class 6A: There's plenty of speculation about the number of WPIAL titles North Allegheny's girls basketball team had won entering the 2017 tournament. Some say the WPIAL title won by the 1972 team should not be a part of the discussion. Regardless of sentiment, the Tigers ended all speculation by capturing a 50-39 victory over Bethel Park to win the 2017 WPIAL 6A championship on March 4 at Petersen Events Center.
That game was a frustrating experience for Bethel Park coach Jonna Burke, who used a carnival game to describe the difficulty of stopping North Allegheny, whose primary all season had been Rachel Martindale. And, she thought that Martindale would be the Tigers' go-to player in the championship game.
It certainly didn't work out that way.
"What went wrong for us was the same thing that was going wrong all night," Burke said. "If we cut [the lead], they had five guys that could come back and hurt you. We thought 'Martindale killed us in the first half,' so we tried to focus more on her in the second half. But if they needed a big bucket, here came Piper Morningstar, then came [Hailey] Zeise. It was like we were playing 'Whack-a-Mole.' You knock one down, and the next one pops up, and then the next popped up. That's what happened. We're used to getting big stops. What's gotten us through the past few games has been big stops. They just had too many weapons for us to continually get big stops."