Chartiers Valley’s Aislin Malcolm named Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Player of the Year
Monday, April 6, 2020 | 4:19 PM
Some athletes are motivated by the desire to win. Others are driven by the fear of losing.
Chartiers Valley sophomore guard Aislin Malcolm would be happy to talk about which group she belongs to, but there’s a small problem with that. She doesn’t really know what losing is like, not at the high school level anyway.
Two seasons into her Chartiers Valley career, Malcolm hasn’t lost a single game.
After going 30-0 and winning WPIAL and state titles last season, the Colts repeated as WPIAL champs this year and went 27-0 before coronavirus put a halt to the PIAA tournament.
Fifty-seven consecutive wins is a WPIAL record, though it’s not a number Malcolm said she and her teammates talked about all that often.
“Obviously, it’s a great accomplishment,” Malcolm said. “It’s something myself and our team is really proud of, but during the season, we haven’t really worried about the number too much. We worry about each game individually. Once we win one game, we’re focused on the next one. We’re not really too worried about our record.”
Malcolm’s play is a major reason why the winning streak has continued. A 5-foot-10 guard, Malcolm evolved from a pure shooter as a freshman to an all-around scoring threat as a sophomore, leading a team jam packed with talent with 16.7 points per game.
She has received scholarship offers from the likes of Pitt, Duquesne, West Virginia, Duke, Western Michigan, Kent State, Princeton and Colgate.
She’s also the Trib HSSN WPIAL Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Next season, outstanding point guard Megan McConnell, another top contender for player of the year honors, will have moved on to Duquesne and it will be up to Malcolm and her talented sophomore cohorts to keep the winning streak alive.
Is there pressure building? Sure, but it’s nothing the Colts can’t handle.
“Yeah, I feel like it is, but also, I’ve been playing with my class since we’ve been in third grade,” Malcolm said. “We all know each other, our style, everything like that. We’re just so close. I think we’ll be fine.”
You’ve played in two WPIAL finals, won them both and led your team in scoring both times. Is there something about playing at Petersen Events Center that you like?
I do love playing under pressure and against great teams, which we do face at The Pete. I don’t know. I guess I just play well there.
Sometimes shooters will say they just shoot better in a particular gym, that it fits their eye. Do you think that’s a real thing?
That’s definitely a real thing. I mean, it probably shouldn’t be, but I feel like it is.
Your team has won 57 straight games. What’s the secret to your success?
We, honestly, are like a family. We do everything together and we get along really well. Yeah, in practice, we do yell at each other, but we don’t take it to heart. We don’t let it get to us and be like, “You’re being so mean,” or something like that. We just try to make each other better.
There’s so much talent on your team. How do you deal with the fact that there’s only one ball?
I feel like our team shares better than any other team. We don’t really care about who scores the most. We all have our games where we score a lot or games where we don’t score. It’s more about winning than an individual game.
How much of an impact has Megan McConnell had on your team and your career? It won’t be easy to replace her after this season.
She’s our point guard. Everything runs through her. She gets all of us open. Even outside of basketball, if we need anything, we can always text or call her. She’s always there for us. I’m going to miss her a lot. My grade is going to really have to step up and fill that big role. But we have Helene Cowan. She’s a good point guard. I think she’ll be able to do it.
You made a name for yourself as a freshman because of your outside shot. Is that something you work on a lot?
I do shoot outside a lot. Well, now, I have to shoot outside. I work out a lot and practice.
What does it feel like when everything you shoot is going in?
It’s incredible. It’s like you’re unstoppable.
What elements did you add to your game this season as you evolved into a more complete player?
I think I did do more than just shoot this year. Coach (Tim) McConnell even told me I was going to be more than a shooter this year. I drove a lot more this year. My defense became a lot better. I rebounded more.
What’s the recruiting process been like for you? Fun? Overwhelming?
I think it’s really fun. Talking to different coaches, they all have a different culture, so you get a different perspective on things. Visiting campuses, I get a feel for what I like. It’s cool looking at everything.
What are you looking for in a school?
I like the campus feel and obviously like a family atmosphere. I want to know they want me there and I’m going to play there.
You’ve got two brothers and a sister. Your brother Cian is a lacrosse player. Your sister Amaleen is a volleyball player. What does your other brother Olan do?
School. He played lacrosse in high school, but he’s really smart. He goes to Pitt.
How did the four of you all end up on such different paths?
Ever since we were little, our parents didn’t force us into anything. They let us do what we wanted to do.
Jonathan Bombulie is the TribLive assistant sports editor. A Greensburg native, he was a hockey reporter for two decades, covering the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for 17 seasons before joining the Trib in 2015 and covering the Penguins for four seasons, including Stanley Cup championships in 2016-17. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Chartiers Valley
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