North Allegheny likes to shoot 3-pointers, averaging 26 shots a game behind the arc.
But in one recent game, North Allegheny liked the 3-pointer twice as much as usual.
No one knows the WPIAL record for most 3-point attempts in a game, but North Allegheny most certainly had a shooting performance for the ages Saturday against Gateway. Get this: North Allegheny attempted 53 3-pointers in an 82-68 victory.
"It's what we do," coach Dave DeGregorio said of his team's penchant for 3-pointers.
But even DeGregorio had to laugh at 53 attempts. North Allegheny made only 14 (26 percent). The Tigers were 13 of 23 on 2-pointers. The state record for 3-point attempts in a game is 94, by Juniata Valley in 1997.
"I've coached over 500 games and that was one of the craziest games ever," DeGregorio said. "Fifty-three 3-pointers is an outrageous number, but it was just one of those things where you have to stay after it. They were letting us shoot. Hey, we go through streaks where we don't make some and then we might make a bunch in a row. We try to get up 25 a game."
In the first half, North Allegheny attempted 32 3-pointers. To put that in perspective, consider the NBA record for 3-point attempts in a half is 29. In NCAA Division I basketball this season, VMI has taken the most 3-pointers (31.5 a game).
"We started this style maybe five to six years ago," said DeGregorio. "We'll finish at the basket, too. But if you give us the open 3-pointer, we're going to take it."
Senior guard Joe Mancinci was 5 of 20 on 3-pointers against Gateway. For the season, he leads the team in 3-pointers with 40 makes in 91 attempts (11 attempts per game). Four other players have attempted between 28 to 34 3-pointers. As a team, North Allegheny has been excellent at 3-point shots, making 41 percent.
"I would say this might be my best shooting team because everyone can shoot it," DeGregorio said.
North Allegheny has an 8-0 record.
Beaver Falls, the two-time defending WPIAL AA champion, has lost two of its past three games, but the Tigers have played the past five without standout senior point guard Elijah Cottrill.
Cottrill was suspended from school for disciplinary reasons after an incident Dec. 18. The school gave him three days of suspension and he couldn't play or practice while suspended. The first two days were Dec. 19-20. But since Beaver Falls went on holiday break until Jan. 6, Cottrill won't serve his third day of suspension until Monday. That means he will miss six games because of three days of school suspension.
"I've told people he has a head injury. He sprained his decision-maker," said Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega.
"He's hurting because he's a competitor and he wants to play. I don't want to devalue the teams we've played, but we're a different team without a four-year starting point guard."
Cottrill was a Post-Gazette Fab Five selection as a junior. But in his absence, Beaver Falls has had to rely a little more on three freshmen -- 6-foot-6 Josh Creach, 6-4 Donovan Jeter and 5-9 Neshaud Akins. No matter what happens the rest of this season, the future is bright. Jeter is the younger brother of former Beaver Falls star Sheldon Jeter.
"We have a chance to be better than we've ever been in the future with those young guys," Biega said.
Plum is already pretty good, taking an 8-1 record into the new year. But the Mustangs are another team with an awfully bright future. Three sophomores start, including talented guard James Edwards, who transferred from Hampton. One sophomore and one freshman are also among the top players off the bench.
The WPIAL AAAA Section 3 girls standings seem upside down. Oakland Catholic is in last place with an 0-3 record and a 1-6 mark overall.
Oakland Catholic is used to being on top of the standings. The Eagles have been a long-standing WPIAL power -- until recently.
They were 9-14 last year, but still made the playoffs. Since the school opened in 1989, the Eagles have played in 12 WPIAL title games and won six. They have never missed the WPIAL playoffs.