North Allegheny’s Lizzy Groetsch named Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Player of the Year
Monday, April 5, 2021 | 1:13 PM
North Allegheny senior basketball player Lizzy Groetsch has been taking piano lessons since she was 6 years old. She enjoys playing classical music.
That’s seems appropriate since she and her Tigers teammates have just completed a season for the ages.
Groetsch led North Allegheny to a 27-1 season in which they won a second straight WPIAL Class 6A championship and the program’s first PIAA title.
For her efforts in orchestrating such a successful campaign, Groetsch has been named the Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“The 2021 season was a roller coaster ride for everyone with all that has been going on in the world, but Lizzy’s consistent effort, steady leadership and positive world view all helped her to help keep outside influences from being too disruptive,” North Allegheny coach Spencer Stefko said. “When things shut down, Lizzy would set up the Zoom calls, then would be the first on the screen for Zoom workouts. The three shutdowns were less disruptive for us than they were for other teams. Her leadership was a big reason why.”
The 5-foot-11 guard also came up big in the big games for NA.
The Penn recruit averaged 16 points, but she pumped in a game-high 24 points in the WPIAL Class 6A championship game as the Tigers successfully repeated by beating Upper St. Clair, 70-36.
In the PIAA semifinals and state championship game, Groetsch scored a combined 46 points in double-digit victories over Cumberland Valley and Spring-Ford to clinch double gold.
In her four years at North Allegheny, Groetsch was a big part of a team that finished 103-8 with four section titles, three WPIAL championships and now a PIAA crown.
“As good a leader as you can imagine, in her own, quiet, understated way,” Stefko siad. “I don’t know that I have ever heard a conscious, ‘let’s go’ word from her mouth. She just does it, does it consistently, and does it with such intensity that others follow. In addition to elevating other kids, she consciously ceded first-option status at times that other kids may have had better matchups. She also gets a look in her eye, and change in body language, in big games. Our other kids feed off of that, and it has made us a pretty tough out in big games for all of her time here.”
Trib HSSN had a chance to find out a little more about the 2021 Girls Basketball Player of the Year:
How did it feel when time was winding down in the PIAA championship game?
It was such a great feeling for me and my teammates. After everything we have been through the past two seasons, it was amazing to know that all of our hard work had paid off.
What does winning that elusive state title mean compared to the third WPIAL championship you earned this season?
Winning the WPIAL is always a great feeling, but bringing the state title home to NA felt extremely special. It has been a team goal to win the state title since my freshman year. I was glad that our class could finish the work that many of the great teams before us started.
When the season was shut down in December, was there fear among you and your teammates that it would not resume like last spring?
I definitely was worried, but I think our team did a great job staying positive and focusing on the things that we could control. We did everything we could to stay sharp during the shutdowns and once we stepped back on the court we were ready.
What was the toughest part of playing this season during a pandemic?
I think the toughest part was just the uncertainty of everything. We had to play every game like it was our last because we never knew when another shutdown might happen.
How would you analyze how you did this season?
Going into the season, I knew that our team had all of the pieces to be very special. My goal was to do whatever it took to win and lead our team to reaching our full potential. My confidence definitely grew as the season progressed, and I think I played my best basketball during our playoff run. There will always be skills to work on, and I will continue to work on all facets of my game as I prepare for Penn.
What were some of the reasons behind choosing Penn?
I went to an elite camp at Penn the summer after my freshman year and immediately fell in love with the school and basketball program. I really liked the coaches and the campus, and I wanted to be close, but not too close to home. I think it is the perfect fit in all aspects as I will compete at a high level both athletically and academically.
The Tigers were one of the higher scoring teams in the district, yet one of the stingiest. Do you take more pride in your scoring or defending?
For me personally, playing tough defense is something I know I can bring every game. It is fun to create chaos and it leads to many scoring opportunities for me and my teammates.
How does it feel knowing everybody circles NA on their schedules at the start of the season?
Every time we walk onto the court we know that we are going to get the other team’s best effort. I think this brings out the best in us and ultimately pushes us to be better.
What was your personal highlight from this past season?
One special moment was walking into the Giant Center with the other seniors and Coach Stefko knowing that we were about to play our last game and leave it all on the court. The celebration on the court with my teammates and coaches after the game was very special too.
What do you do for fun away from sports?
Academics and athletics take up most of my time, but I really enjoy hanging out with my friends.
Besides food and water, what three things would you need if you were deserted on a beach for a week?
Sunscreen, flaming hot Cheetos, my dog (Buddy).
Three favorite meals?
The No. 4 8-count nugget meal from Chick-Fil-A, any fruit salad, my mom’s grilled salmon.
Favorite movie of all-time?
“Mama Mia.” I think all the songs are so good.
Artist or band you like to listen to when working out?
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