Boord’s record 3-pointers help McKeesport girls sink Penn-Trafford

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Wednesday, March 15, 2023 | 11:00 PM


As each three-pointer splashed down and each smile curled up larger than the last, Malina Boord closed in on a record she had longed to break.

As mere mortals around her shook their heads with the same disbelief she displayed in a few shoulder shrugs, the McKeesport senior broke that record with 9 three-pointers and a career-high 29 points as the Tigers throttled Penn-Trafford, 63-25, in a PIAA Class 5A second-round girls basketball playoff game Wednesday night at Norwin.

Boord, who wears No. 3, made 9 of 12 three-pointers — the Tigers hit 13 as a team — to break Jordan Grayson’s school record of seven 3s in a game.

Boord already had tied the girls single-game mark for 3s when she made six in a section win earlier in the season against Penn-Trafford, which lost all three matchups against the Tigers.

She had that many with three minutes to play in the first half this game and made seven by halftime.

Threes fell from the top of the key, from the wings and from the corners.

It was simply her night in a shooting performance worthy of framing.

“We were ready for tonight,” Boord said. “I made a couple 3s off transition, and that got me going.

“I was excited when I tied it and then broke it. This was a key game for it to happen.”

McKeesport (23-5) advances to the quarterfinals Saturday to play another Section 3 team, Oakland Catholic (24-4). It will be the teams’ fourth meeting of the season.

Penn-Trafford packs it up at 18-10. The Warriors were coming off their first state-playoff win since 2013.

Boord hit 4 of 5 3s in the first quarter to help stake the Tigers to a 23-9 lead.

Penn-Trafford led 4-2, but Boord’s shooting — and the Tigers’ suffocating defense — made for a swift stroke of momentum their way.

Amazingly, Boord revealed she has been playing with a torn labrum in each of her shoulders. She is holding off surgery so she can play out her senior season.

“She was on fire,” McKeesport coach Amy Gumbert said. “We had the (shooting) gun out for a couple days. We knew Penn-Trafford could come at us with a zone. We were ready for it. Malina means so much to us. She hasn’t been healthy since seventh grade. It’s great to see her break the record, and-one.”

Boord is glad she waited to have any procedures done. Stretching and therapy have kept her game-ready.

“I have yet to play a full year,” she said. “Tonight was fun. My teammates are my sisters and I love them.”

Junior Rachael Manfredo added 12 points for the Tigers, who pulled into halftime with a 41-15 advantage.

Boord made three 3s in the second, and juniors Maddie Hertzler and Maddie Cherepko also hit from long range.

“That’s crazy how she shot it,” Penn-Trafford coach John Giannikas said. “They got some 3s on run-outs and off rebounds. We had some calls where we tried to help, but we didn’t do that well enough and they made us pay.

“Once they got going, that gave them a confidence boost. It was a snowball effect. We were doing a good job concentrating on their bigs, but their guards got hot.”

The Tigers, who reached the semifinals last year, were impressive from beyond the arc, but it could be argued they were just as stately on defense.

They held Penn-Trafford’s leading scorer, junior Olivia Pepple, to four points, all on free throws.

The Warriors, who had no answer for the 3s offensively, making just two from deep, fell victim to the 30-point mercy rule in the second half. They were limited to just three field goals after the break.

Penn-Trafford was outscored 13-3 in the third. The Warriors never had more than a four-point run.

McKeesport had runs of 12-0 and 10-0.

“They couldn’t do anything against our defense,” Gumbert said. “We threw everything we had at them, with our zone, man and press.”

Lilly Palladino led Penn-Trafford with seven points.

“Our girls need to remember that feeling,” Giannikas said. “I am proud of the way they played all year.”

The Warriors will lose two seniors in Palladino and Kylee Piconi, who tore her ACL earlier and was not able to play in the postseason.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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