Bethel Park girls pull away from Fox Chapel in Class 6A quarterfinals

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Friday, February 21, 2020 | 8:35 PM


Bethel Park and Fox Chapel were locked in a low-scoring struggle through three quarters of Friday’s WPIAL 6A first-round game at North Hills.

But the No. 1 Black Hawks made the plays and got the points they needed in the fourth quarter to pull out a hard-fought 33-29 victory over the No. 8 Foxes.

“We knew this game wasn’t going to be easy,” said Bethel Park coach Jonna Burke, who saw her team use a 9-0 run over the first 3 minutes, 44 seconds of the fourth quarter to break open a tie game at the end of three. The Black Hawks then held off a Fox Chapel rally attempt in the final minutes.

“Fox Chapel has a lot of talented players and are well-coached. We were thinking that they would come at us with a couple of different defenses, which they did. They tried their best to take our two best kids out of the game, and they did for a good portion of the game. I give them credit. It was a good gameplan on their part.”

Bethel Park moves to 20-2 with the win and moves into the semifinals where it will take on Mt. Lebanon on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. The Blackhawks also clinched an automatic berth to the PIAA playoffs.

Despite the loss, Fox Chapel (13-10) is not done. The Foxes can still make the PIAA playoffs under the follow-the-winner format for determining additional playoff teams.

Five WPIAL teams in 6A advance to states, and Fox Chapel needs Bethel Park to win the WPIAL championship next Saturday evening at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center.

“The girls gave themselves a chance at the end of the game, and I am proud of them for that,” Foxes coach Marty Matvey said. “We did that against a number of good teams this season. We were just a couple of possessions away from taking the game against a very talented Bethel Park team.”

Bethel Park junior guard Olivia Westphal, who owns 14 Division I offers, left the court with three fouls at the 6:05 mark of the second quarter. She did not return to the game until the start of the second half.

She then picked up her fourth at the 5:26 mark of the third and sat until the start of the fourth.

But Westphal came up big in the final stanza with seven points, including two from the foul line with four seconds left that sealed the win for her team.

“We’re a completely different team with her on the floor than with her off it,” Burke said. “She brings a lot of energy, and it opens up a lot of other opportunities for us. Everyone could breathe a little sigh of relief when she was back in the game.”

Westphal finished the game with 11 points, while senior guard Lauren Mullen added eight. Senior St. Bonaventure commit Maddie Dziezgowski scored six of her seven points in the fourth quarter and ended the game with nine rebounds.

Fox Chapel got a 3-point field goal from senior Claire Fenton and a jumper and a layup from senior Gabby Guerrieri to keep close down the stretch.

Juniors Domenica Delaney and Ellie Schwartzman fronted the Foxes with eight points apiece. Guerreri added seven, and Fenton scored six.

Points were at a premium for both teams in the first quarter as well as Bethel Park led 7-3 after the first eight minutes.

Mullen hit a pair of 3-pointers in the frame. Twelve of the Black Hawks’ 16 points in the first half came on the strength of four field goals from beyond the arc.

Fenton drew Fox Chapel to within one at 7-6 on a 3-pointer with 6:46 left until halftime. Schwartzman scored six of her eight points in the second to fuel the Foxes’ one-point lead, 17-16, at the break.

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

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