Defense delivers BP girls first WPIAL title
Defense isn’t just the cry of the Steelers. It’s the anthem of the Bethel Park girls’ basketball team as well. And, just like past Super Bowl winners from Pittsburgh, the Lady Hawks applied such a vice to Chartiers Valley and claimed their first championship with a 48-34 victory in the WPIAL Quad-A final at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
“Defense has been our MO all season. It’s something that we have relied upon,” said BP floor boss Jonna Burke. “The kids believe in it.
“We tell them that you better play good defense because the ball may not always go in the hole. We can control and trust our defense.”
Defense forced CV to turn the ball over and take bad shots as BP cruised to a 12-6 lead after one quarter. The Lady Hawks made nine of their first 21 shots.
The Lady Hawks led at intermission, 18-11, and 25-16 after three quarters before breaking open the contest in the final frame.
“They defended the heck out of us and really got after it,” explained CV head coach Spencer Stefko. “I don’t feel like our kids had anything to be ashamed of.
“Blame for the loss falls on my shoulders and the kids in the Bethel Park locker room. They played really good defense. They earned it.”
Harper Zimmer helped BP earn it as she scored eight points in the first half, six in the first frame. Her 3-pointer in the fourth quarter gave her 11 markers for the game and enabled BP to open up a 30-21 lead with 5:11 to play.
“Harper is our spark plug,” Burke said. “She always plays good defense. She hit a few shots early and they helped because people always try to key on Megan (Marecic).
“Harper is our fiery leader,” continued Burke. “She’s the one that says ‘let’s go’ and we do.”
Mariah Penascino got the Lady Hawks going in the second half. Scoreless in the first two quarters, the senior exploded for a game-high 15 points. She sealed BP’s triumph at the free throw, connecting on 9 of 12 attempts in the final four minutes of play.
Marecic and Paige Kochka-Puskar pitched in seven points each for the Lady Hawks, who improved to 23-3 overall. Marecic pulled down 11 rebounds.
Jenna DaVinney led the Lady Colts (19-7) in scoring. She finished with nine points, all on 3-point field goals. She connected on three of her five shots from beyond the arc.
BP as well as CV now move on to compete for a state title as the PIAA tournament commences for both squads March 9 at sites and times to be determined.