CELEBRATION—Bethel Park’s Mariah Penascino (Right) jumps into the arms of teammate Kaitlen Chess as they celebrate the Blackhawks 48-32 win over Chartiers Valley in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game. (Courier Photos/William McBride)



Brenna Wise is only a sophomore, but she already has scored 1,000 points. The 6-1 forward led Vincention (25-1) to a, 53-46, victory over Serra Catholic (23-3).
The Vincentian varsity girls basketball team was stuck in neutral for the first few minutes of Saturday’s WPIAL championship game at the Palumbo Center at Duquesne University. The Royals were down 6-0, but were able to fight back to go into halftime with a 24-21 lead.
Wise led all scorers with 18 points and ripped down 20 boards. Kiersten Elliott chipped in with 13 and Mala Joiner had 12 points.
Katie Sieg had 13 points for Serra Catholic and her sister Megan Sieg had 12 points.
Too often, success is measured by what a player does with the basketball.  Points, rebounds, assists are the easiest barometer to gauge contributions. Bethel Park junior guard Megan Marecic and junior forward Samantha Simpson play fierce defense and usually shut down the opponents best players. Defense wins championships and that blue print gave Bethel Park (23-3) a, 48-34, victory over Chartiers Valley (19-7) Saturday night.
“We ran into a team that played really good defense,” Chartiers Valley coach Spencer Stekfo said. “It would have been nice if a couple of shots fall, but they didn’t and that’s not a reflection on my kids. That’s a reflection on their kids and some excellent effort on the defensive end.  They really got after it and those kids earned it.”
Senior point guard Mariah Penascino led the Lady Blackhawks with 15 points, guard Harper Zimmer scored 11 points and Marecic had 7 points.  Jenna Devinney led the Colts with 9 points.
Coach Jonna Burke is a former Pitt player and Bethel Park alum. She has been coaching for 18 years, including 8 years at Butler High School and has over 200 career wins.
“It’s special, it’s something you work for every year,” coach Burke said. “This is our first championship, but it is our goal every year.”
The South Park varsity girls basketball team had a full season the digest last year’s WPIAL AAA championship loss to Hopewell.
In the semi-finals, the Lady Eagles scored a 75-55 victory over Hopewell and gained a measure of revenge. The Lady Eagles (23-2) players who experienced last year’s championship heartbreaker also got a chance to exorcise another demon Saturday afternoon by beating Elizabeth Forward (23-3), 50-32, in the WPIAL Class AAA girls championship.
South Park wanted to make a statement on Duquesne University home court, and the defense helped get the job done.  Elizabeth Forward made just 23 percent of its shots.
“We have to hang our hat on our defense,” said Coach Reggie Wells. “To get through Hopewell and finally break through, that was big but we didn’t want a letdown today.”

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