Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Inside the Program: Bethel Park

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Inside the Program: Bethel Park

Article excerpt

Many teams enter a season with championship aspirations, but very few have a legitimate shot at realizing those dreams. Few, if any, teams in Class AAAA have a better chance at capturing a WPIAL title than the girls basketball team at Bethel Park. The Black Hawks entered this season among the favorites in their section and class, returning all but two players from a team that went 15-9 last season and advanced to the quarterfinals in the WPIAL playoffs. This season, they have wasted no time backing up their preseason expectations, racing to a 10-1 record and the top of the Section 4 standings going into Thursday's games. Bethel Park is competing in what can arguably be the toughest section in WPIAL girls basketball, with the Post-Gazette's top three ranked Class AAAA teams -- No. 2 Mt. Lebanon (9-2) and No. 3 Chartiers Valley (8-3) along with the No. 1-ranked Black Hawks.

GOING STREAKING

9: The Black Hawks' early success has not come without at least one setback as they dropped a 51-42 decision against South Park Dec. 8 in their second game of the season. Since then, Bethel Park has reeled off nine consecutive wins, a run in which it has overwhelmed most of its opponents. "It taught us that we have to do a whole lot more than show up to win a basketball game," Bethel Park coach Jonna Burke said. "Our effort wasn't as intense as it needed to be." In those nine wins, the Black Hawks defeated opponents by an average of 21.2 points per game, a mark that includes four games in which they won by 30 points or more. Offensively in that span, they have averaged 53.8 points per game, helping make it one of the highest- scoring teams in Class AAAA.

A BACKCOURT STANDOUT

After a sophomore season in which she led the Black Hawks in scoring in 10 games, much was expected of junior guard Megan Marecic before this season. Thus far, she has more than delivered on the promise she displayed in her second high school season. She has emerged as the team's go-to scorer, leading Bethel Park in points per game. Furthermore, some of her best performances have come in her team's biggest games. In the Black Hawks' 41-36 victory Dec. 22 against Oakland Catholic, Marecic scored almost half her team's points, leading the way with 19 as Bethel Park held off a late rally to win. …

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