DeGregorio scores 25 as North Catholic holds off Aliquippa
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 | 10:39 PM
Aliquippa did all it could to derail WPIAL Class 3A champion North Catholic on Wednesday night at North Hills.
The ‘Quips played physical and had the Trojans running on an empty gas tank. They erased a 10-point third-quarter deficit and pulled within one point on multiple occasions throughout the final frame.
But, at this point in the season, the Trojans are a well-oiled machine, and they were able to outlast the ‘Quips down the stretch. Senior guard Isaac DeGregorio scored two of his game-high 25 points from the free-throw line with 11.9 seconds left to seal the victory and punch his team’s ticket to the quarterfinals as the Trojans won, 68-62.
“That’s where I love to be,” DeGregorio said. “I mean, in the WPIAL championship game, I was 10 for 10 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. So I thrive at the free-throw line, especially in those situations.”
By no means was North Catholic’s victory easy. The ‘Quips stuck with the North Catholic machine all night long as the teams traded blows and exchanged runs.
Early on, it was the Trojans that struck first as DeGregorio and the Trojans built an early 11-5 lead midway through the first quarter. But the ‘Quips bounced back and tied the game at 13 before the Trojans hit a 3-pointer to take a three-point lead into the second quarter.
“It was hard for him because he was face guarded all over the place,” North Catholic coach Dave DeGregorio said of his son’s hot start. “It was hard for him just to catch the ball.”
The Trojans led for a majority of the game, but the ‘Quips were just waiting in the wings for their opponents to succumb to their intense pressure.
After scoring 11 in the first, DeGregorio only added seven in the second and admitted that he was starting to fatigue.
“I was going 94 feet every play,” Isaac said. “So, it wears you down. I’m usually not gassed because we play so fast, but I got gassed because that’s what they do. They run. So we had to push through it.”
Seven points separated the teams at halftime, but it seemed as though the ‘Quips had a lot left in the tank. Penn State football recruit Zuriah Fisher had only scored two points in the first half and he came out swinging in the second.
Of Aliquippa’s 16 third-quarter points, Fisher scored 10.
“We went into the locker room and he knew they were wearing down, so we knew we had to put our foot on the gas,” Aliquippa coach Dwight Hines said. “He talked to the guys and let them know that we could do it.”
The Trojans extended their lead to double digits by the end of the third quarter, but the ‘Quips once again chipped away. They went on a 10-4 run to start the fourth and with just under two minutes remaining, senior guard Dewayne Revis drilled a three to bring his team within one.
But that one-point margin was large enough down the stretch. The ‘Quips had a few opportunities to tie from the free-throw line but missed and committed a few costly turnovers in the waning moments to decide the game.
“These guys played their butts off tonight. They played for 32 minutes, and we threw a lot of bodies out there,” Hines said. “Granted, we’re on the outside looking in. But we left it all out there tonight and played the best we possibly could.”
North Catholic will take on District 6 champion Richland on Saturday at a time and site to be announced. Richland defeated South Allegheny, 68-58, Wednesday night.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
More Basketball• Southmoreland’s Gracie Spadaro wins Tribune-Review Westmoreland Girls Basketball Player of the Year honors
• Belle Vernon’s Devin Whitlock named Tribune-Review Westmoreland Boys Basketball Player of the Year
• Chartiers Valley headlines Big 56 all-section basketball teams
• PCN to broadcast 2017 basketball title tilt between Pine-Richland, Reading
• PIAA keeps winter championships, spring sports on hold