Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Player of the Week: Peters Township’s Makenna Marisa
By: Don Rebel
Monday, March 25, 2019 | 7:07 PM
School: Peters Township
She helped her team win double gold, now Makenna Marisa is a double winner again, as the Trib HSSN Player of the Week.
The senior closed out an incredible scholastic career in leading Peters Township to a season of firsts. The Indians won their first WPIAL girls basketball championship, first PIAA crown and enjoyed the first undefeated season in school history.
There were some scares on the way to 30-0.
In the WPIAL finals, they needed a comeback to force overtime where Peters prevailed 43-40 over North Allegheny.
Then after three double-digit victories on the Road to Hershey, the Indians were in another dogfight in the PIAA semifinals last Monday.
Peters Township trailed by three at halftime and by one heading into the fourth quarter.
Then, trailing Upper Dublin, 39-34, with 1:26 left, Marisa went to work at the free-throw line, hitting 4 of 4 to help tie the game at 39-39 after regulation.
“At the end of the game, you want the ball in your senior’s hands,” Peters Township coach Bert Kendall said. “Making clutch foul shots is something she is comfortable doing. We spend plenty of time at practice shooting foul shots ‘with consequences’ to prepare us for moments like the Upper Dublin game. She delivered for sure.”
Marisa was held to only four points through the first three quarters by the Cardinals, but scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and in overtime, including a big hoop early in OT that put the Indians up for good.
“I think that our team was a little tired after the fast-paced Norwin game with only two days to rest and prepare before the long bus ride to Bald Eagle High School,” Kendall said. “But with the game on the line, she found a way to shake off the fatigue and a tough shooting night and deliver big time.”
In the PIAA semifinals and title game, Marisa was a perfect 12 for 12 at the free-throw line, a place she has excelled all year, Kendall said.
“Makenna has shot over 80 percent from the free-throw line all season long. So when you look at it from a numbers perspective she made two more than her averages would have indicated in those two games. Not surprising because she’s a gamer.”
In the state finals at Hershey, Peters Township led District 1 champion Garnet Valley by eight points at halftime before outscoring the Jaguars, 18-9, in the third quarter to take control.
“The team could sense that we had an advantage with our speed, and we love to play a face-paced game,” Kendall said. “So we just talked about securing the rebound and sprinting down the floor, knowing full well that Makenna will get it to you and reward you for you sprinting.”
In the end, Marisa dominated the championship game with 29 points.
“Great players always seem to shine in the big moments and big games,” Kendall said. “Makenna clearly established herself as one of the best players on the floor from the opening tip. The state final stage wasn’t too big for her, nor will the college stage for that matter.”
For Marisa and the Indians, it was a perfect way to end a perfect season and a standout high school career.
“She has set the standard for hard work, humility and leadership,” Kendall said. “Her skill level is off the charts. She will be remembered as one of the all-time greats to every play in the WPIAL.”
Mackenzie Wagner, Chartiers Valley
Peters Township didn’t have the only perfect season in the WPIAL this basketball season. Chartiers Valley put the cap on a golden season with a pair of wins, thanks in large part to senior Mackenzie Wagner. In the semifinals, Wagner scored 10 points while freshman Aislin Malcolm added 12 as the Colts knocked off Thomas Jefferson for a fourth time 50-44 to earn a trip to Hershey. There, Wagner ended her scholastic career with an explanation point by scoring 24 points in a 53-40 triumph over Archbishop Carroll.
Tess Meyers, North Catholic
The end wasn’t as golden for North Catholic as it was for Peters Township and Chartiers Valley. Nonetheless, junior Tess Meyers had a big week in two games for the Trojanettes. In the semifinals, Meyers scored a game-high 19 points as North Catholic beat Mifflinburg, 58-46. In Hershey on Saturday, Meyers again led the team with 20 points, but it wasn’t enough to take down District 11 champion and now PIAA winner Bethlehem Catholic as the Hawks prevailed 60-49.
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.