Bethel Park Locks Up Playoff Berth With Win Over Mt. Lebanon
The last time Bethel Park lost a game, the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils defeated the Black Hawks 63-61 in overtime on December 22. On Monday night, the Black Hawks avenged that loss with a 49-40 triumph over their Section 4-AAAA foe and clinched a WPIAL playoff spot in the process. The win keeps Bethel Park one game in front of Baldwin in the section standings and drops Mt. Lebanon into third place.
To claim its 10th straight victory, Bethel Park used a stifling defense to stymie the Blue Devils. In the earlier meeting between these two teams, Mt. Lebanon sophomore McKenzie Bushee scored 24 points and was a force in the paint. Last night, the Black Hawks limited Bushee to just nine points before she fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Mt. Lebanon trailed 30-28 entering the fourth quarter and took a one-point lead on a 3-pointer by junior Maura Wallace to open the final stanza. Wallace scored 13 points for the Blue Devils and poured in four 3-pointers for the game. The 31-30 lead was short-lived, however, as the Black Hawks took the lead back thanks to a 9-2 run and held a 39-33 advantage. While Mt. Lebanon fought hard to trim the lead in the final minutes, Bethel Park wouldn’t trail again for the rest of the night and held off its section rival with very good shooting from the free throw line.
Bethel Park was paced by junior Shannon Conely who scored a game-high 22 points and knocked down six shots from the free throw line down the stretch. For her efforts, Conely was named the Player of the Game by Quad-A Sports.
Joining Conely in double figures was sophomore Justina Mascaro who came alive in the second half. Owning just one point by halftime, Mascaro exploded in the second half to finish with 12 points. Senior Paige Kochka-Puskar had a fine performance for Bethel Park with seven points and corralled several offensive rebounds to extend Bethel Park possessions.
For Mt. Lebanon, sophomore guard Kate Sramac scored a team-high 16 points and did her best to keep the Blue Devils in the game. Twelve of Sramac’s 16 points came in the second half.
With the win, Bethel Park improves to 13-4 overall and 9-2 in Section 4-AAAA. Mt. Lebanon falls to 10-7 overall and 7-3 in section play.