Bethel Park boys get past McKeesport in Class AAAA
By Mike White
Ben O’Connor was brought to emotions a few times.
Shortly before the game, as his Bethel Park team was about to head onto the court, the coach surprisingly ran into his father, Tom, who had been in the hospital for eight days with a heart problem and other ailments. The elder O’Connor was released from the hospital and came right to his son’s game Saturday, and the two men shed tears together.
Then in the third quarter, emotions got the best of Ben O’Connor when he was hit with the first technical foul of his coaching career.
But while O’Connor rode a wave of emotions, his team was cool and placid when it mattered most. Bethel Park’s calmness and ability to execute almost flawlessly in the fourth quarter of a heated game led the No. 9 seed Black Hawks to an 80-73 victory against eighth-seeded McKeesport in a WPIAL Class AAAA first-round contest at Baldwin High School.
“More power to our kids,” O’Connor said. “It was an emotional week for a million different reasons. They had each other’s back, they had my back and they did enough to win the game.”
Bethel Park (16-7) led, 54-53, after the third quarter, and the Black Hawks were a study of efficiency and execution in the fourth. Bethel Park had 16 possessions in the fourth quarter and made either a basket or at least one free throw on 15 of the possessions. The only time it didn’t score, Josh Duda missed a 3-pointer. But Levi Metheny fought for the rebound and fed Jake Dixon for a layup.
Bethel Park made 7 of 8 shots in the final quarter. The Black Hawks also got a few backdoor layups on set plays in the first part of the quarter, then did an excellent job handling the ball in a delay game for the final four minutes.