Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Team of the Week: Bethel Park

Sunday, March 10, 2019 | 8:52 PM

Bethel Park improved to 22-3 and defeated a district champion in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs, earning Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Team of the Week It has been another successful season for coach Jonna Burke at her alma mater. The Black Hawks finished the regular season 20-2 and won a WPIAL playoff game before losing to Peters Township in a Class 6A semifinal. “It was definitely difficult for the kids after the semifinal loss to Peters Township,” Burke said. “We felt like we should have been placed on the other side of the state bracket in the first place so that we could only meet them in the championship game.” Burke said the Black Hawks stayed busy in 10 days off between district and state games. “We took a few days off and scheduled several scrimmages to stay sharp over the time off,” she said The bounce-back game for Bethel Park came against State College in the first round of the PIAA playoffs Friday. With the score tied after three quarters, the Black Hawks outscored the Little Lions, 16-7, in the final quarter. “Our game versus State College was a game of runs,” Burke said. “They were up six early in the first half, then we went up six at the half. We had an early nine-point lead in the third, and they came storming back to take a lead. In the fourth quarter, we face-guarded their best player, who had 10 points in the third quarter, and that really helped.” Bethel Park had three players in double-digit scoring led by freshman Emma Dziezgowski’s 17. Her older sister, junior Maddie Dzierzgowski, had 15 points, and junior Lauren Mullen added 12 points. “It has been pretty balanced for us all season,” Burke said. “Teams always key on (Olivia) Westphal and (Maria) Cerro, so we need the other guys to step up and they have.” Bethel Park is 22-0 this season against teams other than Peters Township. Against the Indians, they are 0-3, and Bethel Park will face WPIAL champion Peters Township in Tuesday’s second round of the state playoffs. What do the Black Hawks need to do this time around to avoid a fourth loss? “Good question,” Burke said. “They are so good and so big with the best player in the state on their team. We have to keep them off the glass. We have to contain (McKenna) Marissa, and, most importantly, we need to score.” If Bethel Park is looking for inspiration, it can look to last season. The Black Hawks were swept by the Indians in the two regular season games and lost to Peters Township in the WPIAL semifinals. But in the fourth meeting, Bethel Park eliminated the Indians from the state playoffs 44-35. Will Burke remind her team of that postseason factoid? “We are the last team that beat them a year ago, and we may remind them of that,” she said. “But, honestly, it doesn’t mean a thing right now.”


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