High-scoring siblings: Bethel Park pair produce despite different personalities

From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Megan Ryan

The Mascaro siblings, while similar in their competitive nature, have pretty opposite personalities.

Justina Mascaro, a sophomore forward on the Bethel Park girls team, is quiet, calm and relaxed. Joe Mascaro, a senior point guard on the Bethel Park boys team, is edgy — a fireball with flair.

But put the two on the court for their WPIAL quarterfinalist teams, and their personas seemingly switch.

Girls coach Jonna Burke said when Justina Mascaro plays she’s “full fire,” while boys coach Ben O’Connor called Joe Mascaro a “calming influence on the floor.”

They may play differently, but they are both leading scorers for the Black Hawks. Justina Mascaro averages about 15.5 points per game for the girls team (19-4) that won the Class AAAA Section 4 title and faces Pine-Richland in the quarterfinals at 6:30 tonight at North Allegheny.

Joe Mascaro averages 17.4 points per game for the boys team (16-7), which placed third in Class AAAA Section 4 and faces No. 1 seed North Allegheny on Saturday.

The pair come from a very athletic family. Their father, John Mascaro, was a three-sport athlete in high school while their mother, Holly Mascaro, played softball. Their older brother plays football at Carnegie Mellon, and their eighth grade sister plays soccer and basketball.

No one in the family had ever played basketball before, though, so Joe Mascaro and Justina Mascaro came to it on their own.

“I never thought I’d be sitting in 100 gyms a winter watching basketball games,” John Mascaro said.

The parents never miss a game, despite having sometimes two in a day and maybe only one week night off. That built-in support system has helped the two players excel, but it has also made for some tense family fun.

“Everything we do from, like, backyard sports, it’s just so competitive,” Justina Mascaro said. “It always ends with a fight.”

Despite that competition, each called the other his or her biggest fan, attending as many games as possible. And the brother and sister still play together, whether shooting around the gym and asking for advice on how to improve or a rather serious game of “horse.”

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