Jasmine Timmerson, North Allegheny girls roll past Upper St. Clair in Class 6A finals

Friday, March 3, 2023 | 8:41 PM

If the WPIAL Class 6A girls basketball championship needed a title in the history books, “All That Jazz” might be the way to go.

North Allegheny senior guard Jasmine Timmerson put on a career performance on her future college floor as the queens of 6A added another crown on Friday night at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center.

Timmerson scored a personal-best 30 points, grabbed six rebounds and added four assists and three steals as the Tigers rolled past shorthanded Upper St. Clair, 71-45, for their fifth WPIAL title in seven years since the district went to six classes.

“It’s nice to be on the sideline to watch her,” North Allegheny coach Spencer Stefko said. “All of the plays she runs have a tendency to work.”

Timmerson said she felt calm coming into the final, despite the obvious pressure.

“My dad is big on visualization,” said Timmerson, who made 11 of 12 free throws and shot 9 of 18 from the field. “To be honest, I slept like a baby (Thursday night). I couldn’t have asked for anything better tonight.”

Junior Lydia Betz added 17 points as the second-seeded Tigers (20-5) handled the No. 1 Panthers (21-3), who played without injured senior point guard Samantha Prunzik.

Prunzik suffered what spectators described as a “gruesome” wrist injury in the semifinals.

“We were on the bus ride home the other night when we heard (about Prunzik),” Stefko said. “You had to feel for them.”

Upper St. Clair coach Pete Serio said Prunzik’s absence could not be overstated.

“That’s our point guard, for four years,” he said. “This was our first time without her. I wish we had a game before this so we could adjust to not having her a little bit.”

North Allegheny coach Spencer Stefko gave the victory some perspective, harkening back to 2020 when the Tigers last played at “The Pete.”

The finals were played at Peters Township in 2021.

“The last time we were here, it was just before the world stopped,” Stefko said. “The world hasn’t been the same since then.”

But North Allegheny is still good. That has not changed.

Although Stefko did not peg this team as a favorite before the season.

“This was not in the cards in December,” he said. “We lost two games by 30 points. These girls made it happen. It was awe-inspiring to watch some teenagers go out and do this.

“This is a different group. I’ll remember these girls forever for that.”

It was a 19-15 game early in the second quarter when the Tigers reeled off a 13-2 run to take command.

“They hit shots and we didn’t,” Serio said. “That was a momentum-killer there for us. We were still hanging there at that point.”

Timmerson, who showed a commanding presence leading the offense, scored on a drive, and Henderson and Betz made 3-pointers to stretch the advantage.

“If there is something to happen, Jasmine is going to make it happen,” said USC senior forward Kate Robbins, who had 10 points and eight rebounds. Robbins and Timmerson are AAU teammates for the Western PA Bruins.

“I am happy for (Timmerson) because she has worked hard to get here. It’s bittersweet … more bitter than sweet.”

Sophomore Rylee Kalocay led USC with 24 points. She made 5 of 14 3s.

“It’s disappointing. We wanted to win for coach because he deserves it,” Kalocay said. “I am going to do everything in my power (in the future) to make sure he gets a gold medal around his neck instead of a silver one.”

The Tigers held a 32-17 lead at halftime and increased their advantage to 52-30 after three.

“They disrupted us in our setup,” Serio said. “They shot the crap out of the ball. They were making shots from the college line.”

Junior Kellie McConnell added 11 points, and junior Caroline Henderson added nine, on three 3-pointers, for the Tigers, who negotiated the Panthers’ size well.

The Tigers had 30 points in the paint to the Panthers’ 12.

North Allegheny now has six WPIAL titles, the same amount as the Panthers, who were seeking their first championship since 2008.

USC, which had won 15 straight games, also was the runner-up last year.

Stefko, who also coached at Seton LaSalle, now has seven WPIAL titles, and has made the finals 10 times in 11 years.

North Allegheny lost to Upper St. Clair in last year’s semifinals.

The Tigers had just seven turnovers and made 20 of 23 free throws.

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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