Entering Tuesday’s showdown against rival Penn Hills (Pa.), the North Allegheny (Wexford, Pa.) girls’ basketball team had lost seven straight WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal games since last winning the title in 1998, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Then again, those seven North Allegheny squads didn’t feature Rachel Martindale.
Just days after converting a game-winning 3-pointer against Bethel Park (Pa.) in the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals, Martindale struck again in the semis, converting an 80-foot buzzer beater to close out the third quarter that would’ve made Joe Montana, Dan Marino and the rest of Western Pennsylvania’s quarterbacking legends jealous. Her answered prayer gave North Allegheny a 47-27 lead on its way to a 68-40 victory.
“I’m running out of superlatives,” North Allegheny coach Spencer Stefko told the Tribune-Review. “In practice, she’s made them from out of bounds, the entire 84 feet. She’s kind of carving out a little niche for herself. She’s got more buzzer-beaters than you would imagine any freshman would have.”
Based on her Hudl highlights alone, we knew Martindale had herself some range.
We just didn’t know she had 80-foot range.
Some advice for North Allegheny’s next opponent, unbeaten Norwin (North Huntingdon, Pa.): You might want to start guarding the freshman phenom from baseline to baseline.