WPIAL Girls Basketball Player of the Week — Week ending Feb. 8
Sunday, February 9, 2020 | 8:52 PM
In December, Bethel Park sophomore Emma Dziezgowski drove for a layup and ended up going down with a season ending knee injury.
The devastating loss looked like it might derail the championship hopes of the Black Hawks.
But thanks to the play of he older sister, Maddie, Bethel Park hopes its golden season is back on track heading into the playoffs.
“I know it was very hard on both of them,” coach Jonna Burke said of the Dziezgowski sisters. “This was their last opportunity to play together. Maddie is very nurturing and immediately went into big-sister mode and started taking care of her.”
Last week, she continued to be in scoring mode in leading the Black Hawks to two more victories that sealed a section championship and improved them to 19-1. Dziezgowski scored 31 points in convincing win at Canon-McMillan.
“It just seemed that she was everywhere that night and making every shot,” Burke said.
She enjoyed another big game three nights later with 28 points in a nine-point win over playoff-bound Baldwin in her final home game.
“She was clutch in that game,” Burke said. “She scored in the paint, in transition and from behind the arc. It was senior night, and she put an exclamation point on it.”
Dziezgowski teams with junior Olivia Westphal to form an impressive one-two punch. Both players are averaging more than 15 points. Burke said the senior’s biggest strength is her versatility.
“She’s strong in the post and can rebound, but she can face up and drive and hit the 3, too. She is the complete player.”
There are four seniors on the team, and Burke said Dziezgowski leads primarily by example.
“Don’t get me wrong. She’ll speak up when necessary,” Burke said. “But she sets a great example for the team by the way she carries herself on and off the court.”
Burke also noticed her star forward is playing with a lot more confidence this year.
“She had put a million hours in getting her to this point in her career, and she knows this it for high school and she has just been willing us to win,” Burke said.
Bethel Park could be in line for the top-seed when the brackets are announced Tuesday as it attempts to win the program’s first WPIAL championship since 2013.
“In any season, when the playoffs start, it’s a new season,” Burke said. “All the wins and losses of the regular season mean nothing. It’s survive and advance time, and that’s our mind set. One game at a time is how we will approach it.”
Taylor Smith, Lincoln Park
There will be no postseason for Lincoln Park, but that doesn’t mean it has not been a successful season the Leopards. Senior Taylor Smith enjoyed a big week with 20 points in a nonsection loss to Trinity, then she scored 34 points in a section finale triumph over West Allegheny that improved Lincoln Park’s record to 11-9.
Nadia Lape, Mohawk
Mohawk needed two wins in the final week of section play to earn at least a tie for the Section 1-3A championship. Mission accomplished thanks to Nadia Lape’s big week. The junior scored 37 points in the Warriors’ final home game, a rout of Ellwood City, and followed with 20 points in a victory over rival Neshannock in the section finale.
Diajha Allen, Bishop Canevin
Bishop Canevin has been the team to beat in Class 2A heading into the playoffs the last several years. They are definitely one of the teams to beat heading into this postseason thanks to the play of former POW Alyssa Pollice and senior Diajha Allen. In two wins over Fort Cherry and St. Joseph last week, Allen scored 38 and 33 points as the Crusaders finished the regular season with a 16-6 record.
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