WPIAL Girls Basketball Team of the Week: Week ending Dec. 21

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Sunday, December 22, 2019 | 10:14 PM


On the surface, it looked like just another week at the office for the top-ranked girls basketball team in WPIAL Class 6A.

Bethel Park was slated to face its two biggest rivals in Section 2: Upper St. Clair and Mt. Lebanon.

But this was an emotional week for the Black Hawks, who had to deal with bad news off the court in addition to strong competition on it. Sophomore guard Emma Dziezgowski tore an ACL in a game in Virginia and will miss the rest of the season.

Yet, the Black Hawks passed both tests and remained undefeated.

“I’m really grateful for this break in the schedule a little bit coming up here so we can kind of work on some stuff,” Bethel Park coach Jonna Burke said, “and unfortunately get more used to playing without Emma.

“She was in going for a breakaway layup when it happened.”

If that wasn’t enough, the team returned home from the 2-0 southern trip to learn a family member of one of the players was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

It would have been easy for Bethel Park to lose focus, but the Black Hawks turned their attention to a pair of rivals.

On Monday, Bethel Park traveled to Upper St. Clair, where the Panthers provided a challenge to the end of a 43-42 victory for the Black Hawks.

Senior Maddie Dziezgowski, Emma’s older sister, led the way with 18 points, and junior Olivia Westphal added 10.

On Friday at home, Bethel Park jumped out to a 13-point halftime lead on Mt. Lebanon, but the Blue Devils came out flying in the third quarter and cut the lead to two.

The Black Hawks never lost the lead and won 65-52 over the No. 5 ranked Blue Devils. Again, Maddie Dziezgowski led Bethel Park with 21. Westphal had 18, and senior Lauren Mullen scored 17 points.

“Now that Emma’s down, teams can key more on Diz (Maddie Dziezgowski). They can key more on Liv (Olivia Westphal),” Burke said. “Now, all the guys who are in the game have to contribute more than they did before. Mullen answered that call.”

Requesting others to step up makes sense, but can they be asked to do too much?

“Maybe with a lot of our turnovers, at least 12 in the first half, maybe we were doing that,” Burke said. “We have to work on that over the break.”

Bethel Park will host its a holiday tournament, beginning Friday against Ambridge.

The first game after the New Year will be a trip to Peters Township to face the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 6A champs.

Last year, the Black Hawks were 0-4 against the Indians.

Previous Trib HSSN Teams of the Week:

Week 1 – Hopewell Vikings

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