Brisker beats buzzer to lift No. 4 Penn Hills girls past No. 2 Oakland Catholic
Throughout the entirety of the WPIAL Class 5A matchup between No. 4 Penn Hills and No. 2 Oakland Catholic, Adia Brisker served as the spark for the Indians’ offense, particularly when they needed her most.
So, it should be no surprise that with Penn Hills trailing by one with 2.8 seconds left, the Indians looked to the senior guard with the outcome of the Section 3 matchup on the line.
Alysa Sledge inbounded the ball cross-court to Brisker at the elbow of the free throw line. She corralled the pass, took one dribble before gliding toward the left side of the basket and finished a contested layup with her left hand as the buzzer sounded, giving Penn Hills the 32-31 win against Oakland Catholic (10-2, 5-1).
“I was actually not the first option on that play, but the first option didn’t go the way we planned it,” Brisker said.
“As soon as I knew we needed help with the inbounds, I went out to the perimeter and got the ball and went at it. We needed that bucket. All I knew was we needed to put it in or get the foul so I took it to the hoop and finished.”
Brisker, a Niagara commit, finished with nearly half of her team’s points, racking up 15 in a game that was marked by fierce defense and turnover-prone offense. Penn Hills’ leading scorer also added six rebounds and a pair of steals in her game-winning performance.
“That’s what big time players do in big games. She’s a Division I player, so we expect a lot out of her,” Penn Hills coach Robert Cash said.
“She gave us everything we had. It wasn’t pretty tonight, overall, but it’s about finding a way to win and we did that. We came to play tonight.”
Ariana Dunson helped key the victory for the Indians (10-3, 6-0) with five steals, all of which came in the fourth quarter. Tayonna Robertson collected five points and seven rebounds in the win.
Alexis Sestric led Oakland Catholic with 11 points, while Jayde Boyd and Sierra DeAngelo chipped in eight points apiece.
However, the combined contributions of the Eagles’ trio of talented seniors fell just short in a back-and-forth contest that came down to which team had the ball last.
As a result of Penn Hills’ hard-fought victory, the Indians will now have the inside track to the Section 3-5A title. Still, there is a lot of basketball left to play, and Oakland Catholic coach Brianne O’Rourke-Kelly said she’s confident her squad can come out of the tough loss stronger then they were before it.
“This game affects us, but we still get them again and we can still win the section championship. I believe we still can,” O’Rourke-Kelly said.
“There’s a lot of things we can take away from this game and learn from, and come out the other end as a better team because of it.”
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.