A-K Valley girls basketball notebook: Scrimmages keep Fox Chapel sharp

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 6:45 PM

When the Fox Chapel girls basketball team plays No. 1 Bethel Park on Friday in the WPIAL 6A quarterfinals at North Hills, 11 days will have passed since its regular-season finale, a 49-31 victory over Armstrong on Feb. 10.

Coach Marty Matvey said he’s not concerned about the layoff as his players have been focused in practices and also scrimmage opportunities against playoff qualifiers Carlynton, Southmoreland and Oakland Catholic.

“Those scrimmages were really competitive,” said Matvey, who said his team was able to work against multiple styles of play. “They helped us work on things we’ve wanted to correct. We’ve been able to build on the confidence gained in these scrimmages.”

Fox Chapel (13-9), the fourth-place team from Section 1, is the No. 8 seed in the 6A bracket for the second year in a row. Bethel Park is 19-2 and hopes to bounce back from a 12-point loss to North Catholic in its regular-season finale.

The Foxes lost to Peters Township, 57-23, in the quarterfinals last year, and the Indians went on to claim WPIAL and PIAA titles.

“The girls are more than eager and willing to get after it and take their shot,” Matvey said. “There’s no pressure on us. We just have to go out there and believe in ourselves to give ourselves a chance.”

A group effort

WPIAL Class 4A first-round victories Monday by both No. 7 Freeport and No. 6 Knoch helped Section 1-4A stay fully intact in postseason play.

North Catholic, the Section 1 champion, received a bye as the No. 1 seed. Indiana, the No. 12 seed, took down No. 5 McKeesport, 54-48, to give the section four of the eight quarterfinal slots for Thursday’s matchups.

The same can be said for Section 2 in Class 2A. Riverview, the No. 10 seed, helped the section’s cause with its come-from-behind 32-28 victory over No. 7 Burgettstown last Friday.

While the Raiders survived and advanced, so did No. 9 Winchester Thurston with a 30-24 win over No. 8 Chartiers Houston and No. 6 Ellis with a 59-39 triumph over No. 11 Shenango. Section champion Serra Catholic picked up the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye.

In addition to moving one step closer to a WPIAL title, Thursday’s quarterfinal winners in both the 2A and 4A brackets also will earn trips to the PIAA playoffs.

Positive experience

Despite being an underdog in its WPIAL Class A first-round game against No. 6 Sewickley Academy on Tuesday, the St. Joseph girls basketball team battled early on and trailed just 17-13 late in the second quarter.

But the Panthers then took control with a 33-0 run en route to a 53-27 win.

The No. 11 Spartans, led by 10 points from sophomore Trinity Lockwood-Morris, finished their season at 3-20.

“I am really proud of them,” Spartans coach Dennis Jones said. “They never quit. They just ran out of gas a little bit in the second half. In the third quarter, we weren’t ready to match the intensity from Sewickley. But in the first half, they showed what they’re capable of. We missed some easy shots, but we were playing pretty well defensively.”

Jones said the game will help the young squad moving forward.

“It was really important for the girls to get a taste of the playoffs,” Jones said. “None of them had been there before. They saw they could play with a good team. That will give them confidence for the future.”

Coaching search

Springdale athletic director Ray Davis announced Wednesday that a search has begun for a new girls basketball head coach after John Broderick resigned at the end of the season, completing a five-year tenure at the helm of the Dynamos.

Broderick said that consistent criticism of the way the program was being run led to the feeling it was the best time to step away.

“We were very disappointed because the numbers were up and we were excited to start making plans for the future,” Broderick said. “We had endured some lean years, but there were positive signs.”

While roster numbers had been an issue in recent years, more than a dozen players were on the team this year. Springdale finished the season 2-18 overall with wins over Leechburg and Valley.

“I want to be clear. The administration, including the AD and the principal, were totally supportive,” Broderick said. “I felt that what we were doing was best for the program and for the kids. I just didn’t feel like fighting people over it.”

Davis requested that interested candidates send a letter of interest, resume, and Act 34, 114, 126, and 151 clearances to Springdale High School, 501 Butler Road, Springdale, PA, 15144.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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