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Marecic doing a bit of everything for surging Bethel Park

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 11:02 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Bethel Park's Megan Marecic drives past Mt. Lebanon's Christine Ehland during their game Jan. 3, 2013 at Bethel Park. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Bethel Park's Megan Marecic brings the ball upcourt during a game against Mt. Lebanon Jan. 3, 2013 at Bethel Park. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Bethel Park's Megan Marecic plays against Mt. Lebanon Jan. 3, 2013 at Bethel Park. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Bethel Park's roster lists Megan Marecic as a guard, and Marecic last season was one of the top scoring sophomores in WPIAL Class AAAA girls basketball.

But Marecic is more than merely just a guard — and she's certainly more than just a scorer.

The 5-foot-11 junior who is drawing plenty of interest from Division I colleges is a primary reason why the Black Hawks are off to a 10-1 start and have the look of a WPIAL championship contender.

“She can do it all for us,” Bethel Park coach Jonna Burke said. “Anything that we ask of her. She can run the point, she can play the post — and anything in between.”

It shows in the statistics. Marecic leads the Black Hawks in points (17.9 per game), assists (4.9) and steals (2.6) and is second in rebounding (about six per game).

“Megan is really the kind of kid who can dominate a game in a lot of different ways,” Burke said. “She is the kind of kid that can lead us in a lot of statistical categories, not just scoring.

“She has a really good ability to find the open player, she's kind of sneaky on defense; she'll get her hand on a lot of balls and some games lead us in steals and assists. Then, some nights she can rebound and put up points in the post and when she faces the hoop. She can do a little bit of everything.”

Marecic and top-ranked Bethel Park (10-1, 4-0) face a critical Section 4-AAAA test 7:30 p.m. Thursday at No. 2 Chartiers Valley.

Burke will go into it knowing she can use Marecic in a variety of ways — be it guarding one of the Colts' stars — Kassidy O'Keefe or Mariah Wells — or in exploiting a matchup offensively.

“I just kind of do what I can to help get a win,” Marecic said. “We all have a goal, and I just try to do what my team needs me to be able to do. I'm sure all my teammates do the same.”

Beyond Marecic, Bethel Park boasts an experienced and talented team with plenty of height. The Black Hawks' other starters typically are 6-1 junior forward Samantha Simpson, 5-9 senior point guard Mariah Penascino, 5-6 junior guard Harper Zimmer and 6-0 sophomore guard/forward Paige Kochka-Puskar.

Zimmer is averaging about nine points per game and Kochka-Puskar roughly eight per contest. In another display of Bethel Park's versatility, Penascino, the point guard, leads the team in rebounds at 7.8 per game heading into the week.

The Black Hawks usually go about eight deep, with 5-10 sophomore guard/forward Kaitlin Chess, junior guard Liz Neal, senior guard Lauren Shaffer and 5-9 freshman guard Shannon Conley also often providing solid minutes.

Neal is capable of starting, pending the matchup with a particular opponent. Shaffer has proven a defensive specialist, while Conley taps into her vast offensive potential.

“Megan might be our most dominant player most nights, but I'm pleased with the way the other kids have stepped up,” Burke said.

Bethel Park was a WPIAL quarterfinalist last season after advancing to the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA tournament each of the previous two years.

It's safe to say the Black Hawks have similar aspirations for the next two months.

“Our goal this year is to try to be section champs, as well as to get to (the WPIAL championship game),” Marecic said. “That's my goal as of now. But we know we have to take it one game at a time and not look ahead too much.”

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.

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