WPIAL Girls Basketball Player of the Week — Week ending March 1, 2020

Monday, March 2, 2020 | 11:08 PM

As a freshman last season, Aislin Malcolm and junior teammate Megan McConnell led the way with 18 points each as Chartiers Valley rolled past Thomas Jefferson, 64-48, to win the WPIAL Class 5A girls basketball championship — the Colts’ second title in three years.

Fast forward a year and Malcolm continues to make Petersen Events Center her personal sandbox, which she used once again to mix the right might amount of water and sand to create another golden crown for the Colts.

“She is a big-time player. She always comes ready to shine on the big stage,” Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell said. “She lives for the big games. Every game, someone different can step up and lead this team.”

With the likes of Megan McConnell, Hallie and Helene Cowan, Perri Page and a strong bench, Chartiers Valley has different players step up each game. It was a trait that began last season when the Colts went undefeated.

In Saturday’s WPIAL championship game against Trinity, it was Malcolm’s turn to stand out again, and she scored a game-high 23 points and also added eight rebounds in a 58-40 victory

“She’s really been doing a great job defending and rebounding for us,” McConnell said. “At first, I think she thought all she needed to do was score. But she has realized to be a complete player; she needed to do those things as well for the team to be successful.

“Last year, she was just a shooter. This year, she is doing a great job of getting to the rim and not just being a perimeter player. She has also really improved her defense and rebounding, too.”

Another aspect of Malcolm’s game that stands out is her maturity.

“She is a captain and leader now,” McConnell said. “Next year, she will continue to lead this team even better as she gets older.”

With back-to-back district crowns in their back pocket, Chartiers Valley (25-0) is set to defend its state championship.

The Colts open the PIAA playoffs on Saturday against Warren, the third-place team from District 10. McConnell believes his team’s experience will be an asset.

“It definitely helps that we have been there last year, especially starting four sophomores,” he said. “Being a part of last year will help them prepare for what is to come.”

There is also something else huge on the horizon for these Colts.

If Chartiers Valley beats Warren, it would be the programs 56th consecutive victory and tie them with North Catholic for the all-time longest WPIAL girls basketball winning streak.

Just don’t bring that fact up to McConnell.

“We don’t even talk about the streak. What streak?”

Honorable mention

Lizzy Groetsch, North Allegheny

Junior Lizzy Groetsch led the way in a pair of North Allegheny wins last week that gave the Tigers a third district championship in the last four years. In the semifinals, she scored 17 points in a defensive-minded victory over Upper St. Clair. Then, against top-seed Bethel Park, she scored a game-high 19 points, including a tough hoop in traffic that put NA up for good in the overtime win.

Emma Pospisal, North Catholic

North Catholic has a senior-heavy team that has become used to a familiar pattern: Play the season, win some games, head to Pitt and hoist gold. This group knows nothing else after winning a fourth straight title thanks to senior Emma Pospisal. She scored 17 points in a semifinals win, then led the way with 18 points as the Trojans handed Southmoreland their first loss in the finals.

Diajha Allen, Bishop Canevin

Whether they have a target on their backs or they fly a tad under the radar, in the end, Bishop Canevin usually is left standing on top of the WPIAL 2A girls basketball hill. Senior Diajha Allen helped clinch her third WPIAL championship in an outstanding career with 11 points in a semifinals win over Ellis, followed by 21 points as the Crusaders knocked off Laurel in the finals.

Previous Trib HSSN Players of the Week:

Week 10 – Katelyn Robbins, Upper St. Clair

Week Nine- Natalie Jasper – Ellis School

Week Eight – Maggie Dziezgowski, Bethel Park

Week Seven – Bella Skobel, Charleroi

Week Six – Sydney Cook, New Brighton

Week Five – Reilly Sunday, Moon

Week Four – Ashleigh Connor, Mt. Lebanon

Week Three – Alyssa Pollice, Bishop Canevin

Week Two – Jhayla Bray, McKeesport

Week One – Kennedie Montue, Plum

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