Chartiers Valley uses bulletin-board material to top TJ, return to Class 5A finals
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 | 11:03 PM
Moments after Chartiers Valley finished off a 65-43 win over Thomas Jefferson in the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals Wednesday night at Mt. Lebanon, Colts coach Tim McConnell offered an open dinner invitation to who ever made shirts for the Jaguars that read, “3.1 doesn’t equal 4.4.”
The saying was in reference to time being added onto the clock prior to Perri Page’s buzzer beater for the Colts in a 42-41 win over the Jaguars during section play Jan. 23.
“We heard about this ‘3.1 doesn’t equal 4.4’ stuff and whoever made those shirts up, I want to take them to dinner one night, because they gave us great motivation and great focus on this game,” McConnell said. “Whoever they are, they can contact me and I’ll treat them for getting my girls fired up for this game.”
The top-seeded Colts certainly came out on fire, scoring the first 19 points of the game, and held a double-digit lead over the No. 6 Jaguars the rest of the way to earn a trip to the Petersen Event Center, where they will try for a second consecutive WPIAL title.
Chartiers Valley faces No. 3 Trinity in the final at 3 p.m. Saturday. McConnell will go against his sister, Kathy McConnell-Miller, who coaches the Hillers.
Jaguars coach Lisa Fairman did not want to comment on the shirts.
“Our girls came out and played basketball, and that’s what I focus on as a coach,” Fairman said. “That’s what my players focus on. We let our game of basketball dictate our motivation.”
The two regular-season meetings between Chartiers Valley (24-0) and Thomas Jefferson (18-7) were decided by less than 10 points, but this time, led by a stellar night from sophomore sharpshooter Hallie Cowan, the Colts took control from the opening tip.
Cowan had a career-high 29 points, including eight points during the 19-0 run to start the game. She connected on six 3-pointers.
“Everyone knows Aislin (Malcolm) is our shooter, but (Hallie) is a pretty darn good shooter as well,” McConnell said. “I told them in the locker room that different people step up for us every night, and tonight was her night. That’s why it’s a team. It’s not an individual sport. Hallie was certainly feeling it tonight, and I hope she feels it again on Saturday.”
Cowan was pleased to come through with a career performance in a big game.
“I was feeling it from outside the 3-point line tonight,” Cowan said. “This game was to get to The Pete, so we really wanted to play hard. The last game was so close, so we knew we had to come out and play hard. We were really fired up to play this game, and it felt good to help contribute.”
The Colts held the Jaguars without a field goal in the first quarter. Alyssa DeAngelo sank two free throws with 25 seconds remaining in the first for Thomas Jefferson’s first points.
The Jaguars had a 9-2 run to start the second, which cut the score to 21-11, but that’s as close as they got.
“They came out and knocked down a couple shots,” Fairman said. “We had some open looks, and we didn’t hit them. When you’re playing a team with that type of talent, it’s tough to come back when you’re down double digits, but our girls kept battling and we’re really proud of that.”
Megan McConnell had 15 points for the Colts, and Malcolm scored 10. Delaney Ranallo led the Jaguars with 14 points.
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer
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