Section 1 Continues To Make Playoff Impact, Fox Chapel Beats Norwin
#4 Bethel Park vs. #12 Hempfield
The Hempfield Spartans raced out of the starting gate for an early lead and eliminated the defending Quad-A champion Bethel Park Black Hawks, 56-38, in the WPIAL quarterfinals. The Spartans fell to the Black Hawks at the Bethel Park Tip-Off tournament in the second game of the season, but Hempfield dominated the rematch and maintained a large lead throughout much of the night. Senior guard Monica Burns spearheaded the Spartans attack with a game-high 19 points, six assists and six rebounds. Leah Knizner and Michelle Burns added 14 and 11 points, respectively. Bethel Park was led by Shannon Conely’s 13 point effort. The Spartans hope to continue their revenge tour on Tuesday night in the WPIAL semifinals against top-seeded North Allegheny. The Tigers defeated Hempfield on February 8 by 61-50 final.
#2 Mt. Lebanon vs. #7 Penn-Trafford
Hempfield wasn’t the only Section 1 team to pull off an upset on Friday night. The seventh-seeded Penn-Trafford Warriors knocked out perennial favorite Mt. Lebanon with an air-tight defensive effort, bouncing the Blue Devils, 32-24. It’s the first time in seven seasons that Mt. Lebanon has not reached the WPIAL semifinals. Penn-Trafford held a 20-2 lead at halftime and did not yield a field goal until Margie McCaffrey’s layup with four minutes to play in the third quarter. The Blue Devils began a late push in the fourth quarter and cut the score to 30-24 on a Maura Wallace three-pointer with 1:41 remaining, but could come no closer. Penn-Trafford was led by junior Maria Palarino’s 11 point effort and improves to 18-6 on the season. The Warriors will face Fox Chapel in the semifinals. Mt. Lebanon drops to 16-6, but can still make the PIAA tournament if the Warriors win the WPIAL championship.
#3 Fox Chapel vs. #6 Norwin
Norwin nearly made it three Section 1 teams to reach Quad-A’s final four, but Fox Chapel senior Erin Mathias collected her second double-double of the post-season to help the Foxes outlast the Knights, 55-51. Fox Chapel trailed most of the first half, but a 16-0 run put the Foxes in the lead for good in the third quarter. Along with Mathias’ double-double, Kayla Slovenec collected 16 points and eight rebounds for the Foxes. Norwin was led by Delaney Arbore who netted 16 points. Fox Chapel’s record improves to 19-4 while Norwin falls to 17-6 on the season. The Knights will qualify for the state playoffs if Fox Chapel wins the WPIAL title.