Bethel Park rallies in 2nd half to defeat Fox Chapel, reach PIAA 5A quarterfinals

Tuesday, March 12, 2024 | 10:14 PM

After a half in which his team made five shots and scored 13 points, Bethel Park coach Dante Calabria said he kept his message brief.

He just asked his players to bring more energy and leave it all out there in the final 16 minutes.

The Black Hawks responded accordingly.

Bethel Park came out of halftime and scored 16 unanswered points to take the lead and held on late to secure a 48-43 victory over Fox Chapel in the second round of the PIAA Class 5A boys basketball playoffs at Peters Township’s AHN Arena.

“With more energy, sometimes your shots go in, and, fortunately, for us, they did,” Calabria said. “We’ve had trouble scoring sometimes in stretches this year, and in the first half we didn’t score. The second half we made some shots, and I think a lot of that had to do with our energy.”

Bethel Park (15-13) advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals and will meet WPIAL champ Moon on Friday at a site and time to be announced. Fox Chapel finished 16-12.

The Foxes beat Bethel Park by 21 points in the fifth-place consolation game Feb. 28 and carried a 20-13 lead into halftime.

But the Black Hawks came out on fire.

Shawn Davis scored on a rebound to tie the score at 20-20 and later went 1 for 2 at the free-throw line to give the Black Hawks the lead for good.

Brown had six points in the quarter, and Davis had five. Bethel Park extended the lead to 29-20, before Jefferson Moorefield-Brown scored with 1 minute, 20 seconds remaining in the quarter to finally end Fox Chapel’s drought.

The Foxes turned the ball over seven times on their first nine possessions of the first half and took only five shots in the third quarter.

Bethel Park outscored the Foxes, 18-4, in the third.

“We got good interior touches in the first half, but in the third quarter we didn’t do a good job of getting the basketball inside,” Fox Chapel coach Zach Skrinjar said. “We just kind of settled around the perimeter with no intent to get the ball inside. When you turn the ball over that much and take only five shots, it’s tough to score.

“We came back a little in the fourth, but they hit key shots when they needed them. Credit to them, and I wish them the best of luck moving forward.”

Bethel Park went 8 for 13 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, which was good enough to keep Fox Chapel from getting a possession where it was within three points.

Brown made a pair of free throws with 5.8 seconds remaining to seal the win.

“Free-throw shooting has been one of our Achilles’ heels, but we were able to make enough of them tonight to keep it a two-possession game,” Calabria said. “That was big for us, because we really didn’t have to do anything (defensively) at the end.”

Brown led the Black Hawks with 16 points, and Davis had 12.

Asher White scored 15 points for Fox Chapel, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter. He hit four 3-pointers. Moorefield-Brown battled foul trouble in the second half and had 12 points. He fouled out late in the game. Will Siegel scored 10 and was also in foul trouble. He fouled out in the final seconds.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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