No. 1 Chartiers Valley holds off No. 2 Moon in Class 5A showdown

Thursday, January 13, 2022 | 11:22 PM

The big Section 1-5A girls basketball showdown between undefeated Moon and three-time defending champion Chartiers Valley became a game of runs.

Or, it turned into a game of droughts.

The host Colts took over sole possession of first place with a 49-45 victory over the Tigers.

The win came despite Chartiers Valley scoring 24 points under its average this year of 73.5 points per game.

“In the first and second quarters, we did a nice job getting some second-chance points,” Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell said. “Everything in the second half I think was a grind for us. We got nothing in flow. We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball down the stretch.”

The Colts went on a 13-0 run after the game was tied 5-5 early to take their biggest lead of the game late in the quarter.

Moon answered, though, by scoring the final five points of the first to trail 18-10 after the quarter.

The Tigers kept chipping away in the second quarter and pulled to within one point with two minutes left in the half at 22-21.

This time it was Chartiers Valley that finished the quarter strong, scoring seven of the final nine points in the half to take a 29-23 lead into the locker room.

The Colts galloped out to an 11-point lead when they scored the first five points of the third quarter. But the Tigers picked up the defense and held Chartiers Valley to only 15 points in the final quarter and a half.

“We knew we had to go in and guard,” Moon coach Meghan Abbenante said. “I thought we played tough defensively against a very good team that can score the ball easily in a lot of ways.”

While the Colts struggled from the field, the Tigers leaned on the dynamic duo of seniors Reilly Sunday and Emma Theodorsson.

Sunday, a Duquesne recruit, led all scorers with 20 points while Theodorsson, a Bucknell recruit, added 19 points.

“We knew they had two really good players,” McConnell said. “Most of the games, those two players are scoring a majority of their points. They’re both Division I players, and we know they are good. I give them credit for grinding it out as well.”

It was a tough night for the Chartiers Valley duo of Pitt recruit Aislin Malcolm and Perri Page, who is headed to Columbia. They both scored in double digits — Malcolm had 12 points while Page managed 10 — but after a good start, it was a struggle at times for both.

Page missed a good chunk of the final quarter after picking up her fourth foul a minute and a half into the fourth.

“They played it packed in on us and really denied Aislin the ball,” McConnell said of the Moon defense. “I really think Helene (Cowan) did a really good job. She’s been the leading scorer for us lately. The last couple of games, she’s had 15 or 16 points. She’s doing a nice job.”

Helene Cowan led the Colts with 16 points.

Moon (3-1, 11-1) fell for the first time this season, dropping to second place in the section.

“Coming into an environment like that, it’s very easy to be frazzled,” Abbenante said. “I thought our composure and fight to the end will help us moving forward.”

The victory for Chartiers Valley (4-0, 12-1) is the seventh win in a row since losing to St. John Vianney of New Jersey on Dec. 19.

“We battled (Thursday),” McConnell said. “This keeps us in first place in the section, and that’s our first goal, to win the section.”

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