Shegog’s buzzer-beating layup lifts Gateway over Plum for Section 2-5A title
Friday, February 7, 2020 | 8:32 PM
The winner-take-all game Friday between Gateway and Plum for the girls Section 2-5A championship wasn’t the prettiest, but the Gators gladly accepted the outcome.
Junior forward Dynasty Shegog converted a layup at the buzzer, completing a full-court rush coming out of a timeout, to lift Gateway to a 31-29 victory at Plum.
“We work a lot on situations like that in practice,” said Shegog, who finished with 10 points. “The last time we played, they pressured us, so we knew that pressure was going to come. The work paid off, obviously. It was just about being calm in what felt like a playoff environment.”
The win secured Gateway’s second consecutive section title and fifth since 2011. The Gators (15-5, 10-2) have won six of seven games and avenged a Jan. 13 loss to Plum.
“This is such a special feeling for everyone on the team,” Shegog said. “We worked so hard this week to get ready. This is a game that will help us going into the playoffs.”
Plum (13-6, 9-3) was denied in its attempt to win its first section championship. It was runner-up as recently as the 2013-14 season.
“We talked after the game, and I asked the girls if they gave me everything they had and also their school, the coaches and their teammates,” Plum coach Steve Elsier said. “The answer is yes. Man, what a game to be a part of. Unfortunately, someone had to lose that game. For as bad as we played in the first half, we were only down five at halftime. We did everything we could in the second half and the fourth quarter, specifically. Sometimes, it just goes that way.”
The Gateway and Plum school districts were closed Friday because of snow.
But by the afternoon, the precipitation stopped, the roads were cleared and teams and fans converged on Plum High School for the highly anticipated rivalry game.
Spectators witnessed Gateway maintain its lead through the third quarter, and sophomore guard Lexi Margolis hit one of her four 3-pointers early in the fourth to extend the Gators advantage to 25-18. Margolis led all scorers with 13 points.
Plum battled back to tie the score 27-27 on a free throw from freshman Dannika Susko with 59 seconds left.
After a Shegog layup gave Gateway the lead, Mustangs junior Kennedie Montue tied it again with a putback of a Mackenzie Lake miss with 12 seconds left.
Gateway called a timeout to set up the dramatic final sequence.
The Gators led 12-2 after the first quarter as the Mustangs didn’t score until Lake converted a layup with 1:16 left.
Gateway went cold in the second quarter until Shegog made a layup with 1:59 to go to make it 14-7. Lake then sank a pair of free throws to set the halftime score at 14-9.
In addition to the double-digit scoring efforts from Margolis and Shegog, senior center Lexi Jackson scored eight points for the Gators and added 17 rebounds. Shegog finished with nine rebounds, and Annie Garness added seven boards.
Lake, in her final home game, fronted Plum with nine points. Montue, who came in averaging 20.1 points, was limited to seven points. Senior Gianna Trombetta came off the bench to score six points.
Plum closes the regular season Monday at Burrell, and Gateway hosts Baldwin on Saturday and Latrobe on Monday.
“Despite the loss, I am really proud of the girls,” Elsier said. “We’re not competing for fourth place anymore. Now, we’re competing for section titles. That’s what we want to do.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .
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