Girls varsity basketball uses 13-0 run to beat #13 Hempfield in WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs

Russell Finelsen, Staff Writer, Assistant Editor, Sports Editor

The girls varsity basketball team has had its ups and downs this season. They hit rock bottom at Christmas break, when they rested with a losing record of 3-4. Since then, it has been nothing but up, and their latest game continued that trend.

Justina Mascaro scored 18 points, and #4 BP overcame some challenges in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs to beat #13 Hempfield, 51-36, at Charleroi High School.

The game was in Hempfield’s favor, 12-9. after the first quarter. However, BP took advantage of Hempfield’s defensive loopholes and strengthened their own defense in the second quarter. With the help of Mascaro’s 6 points in the period, BP took the lead, 22-19, when they went into the locker room for halftime.

BP continued their dominance in the early part of the third quarter, when they had a 6-0 run and took a commanding 28-19 lead. However, Hemfield battled back, bringing the game to a 28-27 score.

Nearing the end of the game, it still was close, as the score was 38-36. Howeveer, BP held Hempfield without a single point for the last 4:15 of the game. In addition, BP took advantage of this scoring drought by Hempfield to score 13 straight points to end the game.

At this location last year, Hempfield beat BP in the first round en route to the WPIAL finals. However, BP, the Class AAAA Section 4 Champions, took advantage of sloppy defense and bad offense to take the win away. Furthermore, BP has now won 16 games in a row since Christmas.

For BP (19-4), Shannon Conely and Mia Mattes had 13 points each in the game, but made the shots when needed, including a three-pointer by Mattes near the end of the half to give BP some momentum. The rest of the Bethel Park squad added seven points.

On the Hempfield (14-9) side of the floor, Aubree Halusic had 12 points, including consecutive shots behind the arc in the third quarter that helped the team battle back from a 28-19 deficit. In addition, Leah Knizner had 16 points in the game.

At the end of the regular season, Hempfield finished third in the Class AAAA Section 1 division, which was factored into their low ranking, even with their finals appearance in 2014. Hempfield is now out of the playoffs.

Bethel Park will advance to the second round of the WPIAL playoffs.