Pitt recruit Aislin Malcolm finds ways to stand out in star-studded Chartiers Valley lineup

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Saturday, January 22, 2022 | 11:01 AM


They are the Fab Five of WPIAL girls basketball.

Chartiers Valley has three Division I and two Division II players in its starting lineup who have been together and winning championships their entire scholastic careers.

Aislin Malcolm is heading to Pitt, Perri Page to Columbia, Marian Turnbull to Northeastern and Helene and twin sister Hallie Cowan to Seton Hill.

They have all played key roles in the success of the Colts this season.

Since the new year, though, it has been Malcolm’s turn to shine as she is clearly not stuck in the middle for the Colts.

“Aislin has played really well,” Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell said. “She is shooting great, and her passing is tremendous as well.”

Individual and team improvement is what everybody is striving for coming into a season with very high expectations.

“I believe I am improving a lot from last year,” Malcolm said. “So is our team.”

On a team where the scoring is usually balanced, Malcolm started 2022 with a bang, scoring 51 points in her first two games of the year.

“What stood out the most is her all-around game she is playing, doing everything well,” McConnell said. “She scores when the opportunity arises but passes when a teammate has a better opportunity.”

One aspect of her game McConnell feels has improved this season is her penetration to the basket.

“She is doing a nice job of getting to the rim this year,” he said. “She is not just a stand-still shooter.”

While there is plenty of talent on the floor when the Colts hit the hardwood, McConnell feels the group is tight in part because of Malcolm’s leadership.

“The way she keeps the team together, she is a great leader,” he said. “They really like each other. For example, they come out of the locker late for practice because they really enjoy each other’s company.”

Malcolm couldn’t agree more with her coach.

“It has been a lot of fun so far, and I think we really appreciate our time together because we know this is our last year,” she said. “Even off the court, we hang out all the time and just enjoy being around each other.”

While there is still a lot of basketball left as this group hopes to be playing deep into March, McConnell knows the Malcolm legacy will be special.

“She’s a four-year starter, a tremendous teammate and will be the all-time leading scorer when she graduates,” he said. “She is the player you envision having when you get into coaching.”

Speaking of coaching, McConnell has been doing it for a long time.

This is McConnell’s fourth season as Colts girls basketball coach after he coached the Chartiers Valley boys program for 25 years.

So many talented players have come through both programs, helping the boys win six WPIAL championships and the girls claim three straight district titles.

McConnell paid Malcolm one of the highest compliments.

“She is one of the best shooters I have ever coached,” he said. “She is a tremendous passer and a great teammate.”

With a couple of section wins under his team’s belt and wins in 10 of the 11 games it has played thus far, is coach happy with his Fab Five thus far?

“I love where we are at this point in the season,” McConnell said “We need to continue to focus on our team goals.”

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