South Xtra: Bethel Park girls seek outright section basketball title

From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Nicholas Tolomeo

Bethel Park’s 2013-14 season had a fast start but a slow finish.

This season saw a slow start but the Black Hawks are playing their best basketball right now and have the experience and talent to put together a fast finish.

After a 3-3 start to the season, Bethel Park found itself sitting at 2-2 in highly competitive Section 4-AAAA.

“It does make you a little nervous in our section,” coach Jonna Burke said of the 2-2 start. “The section this year, it seems kind of crazy. There are people who win one night and lose the next night. Any of us are capable of beating any of us and losing to any of us. Because of that we knew it was not time to panic, but at the same time we knew we had to get a couple of victories.”

There was no panic on the team and the Black Hawks promptly put together a 10-game winning streak that vaulted them to 15-4 overall and atop the section standings with an 11-2 record heading into tonight’s section finale against second-place Baldwin (14-7, 10-3). The difference has been defense. The Black Hawks are allowing 41.5 points per game.

“I guess you can say it is the defense,” Burke said. “It is one of those things you recognize after the fact. We are allowing the fewest points. It is honestly something I was not even aware of. Defense is something that we always focus on, always trying to find ways to get stops.”

The season has been the opposite of last year when Bethel Park opened the season on a 10-game winning streak but closed the regular season by dropping four of its last five games, including three consecutive section losses.

Bethel Park was able to defeat Seneca Valley in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs, but fell to Hempfield Area in the quarterfinals.

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