Share This Page

Fox Chapel eyes redemption with deeper team

| Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, 12:16 a.m.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Fox Chapel's Taylor Cohen (right) goes through drills during practice Wednesday November 20, 2013, at Fox Chapel.

Fox Chapel girls basketball players still remember the empty feeling, tears burning their eyes, as they walked out of North Allegheny's gym after a quarterfinal loss to Mt. Lebanon last winter.

But they also remember the thoughts that followed. Redemption was only one offseason away.

“Since the last second went off last year against Mt. Lebanon, the girls have been hungry and eager to get back to it,” Foxes coach Meghan Meabon said. “They are ready to go back to work.”

And they'll clock in with big-game experience and three returning starters including 6-foot-3 senior center Erin Mathias, a Duke recruit who put up 17.3 points and 13.6 rebounds a game as a junior.

Fox Chapel finished 18-6 last season and shared the Section 2-AAAA title with Gateway.

“This is the best that I have seen Erin run,” Meabon said. “She has done a tremendous job bouncing back from missing her sophomore season (because of a minor knee injury). She has really focused on strength and cardio in the offseason. The girls seem to be doing a better job looking for her.”

Mathias will be the only senior starter — and will look like a blinking cell-phone tower above a skyline of smaller guards — but those guards can play deceivingly big.

Taylor Cohen and Kayla Slovenec made immediate impacts last season as freshmen and once again will be crucial to the team's success.

“They don't seem so anxious with the ball,” Meabon said.

They will be joined by another up-and-coming talent in freshman point guard Gabby Badway.

“She is a promising player for us and we're pleased with how she fits into our system,” Meabon said. “You'll see her a lot on the court. We're still shuffling some players around and finding a lineup that will work for us.”

The Foxes again will depend on a transition game, but Meabon wants to develop more shooting threats.

“We could have a run-and-gun type of team,” she said. “I think we can be a better shooting team. Teams are going to go zone and pack it in on Erin.”

Sophomore forward Anna Kelly, who saw action last season, will play, along with junior guard Madison Chajson, and the Palumbo sisters, Alanna and Alissa, who are juniors.

Another contributor will be Vanessa Blazer, a junior varsity player last year.

“We're a young team, so they'll be the mistakes and learning moments,” Meabon said. “This is the deepest we've been since I have been here, especially with guards. But we have the potential to develop into a nice team.”

Fox Chapel opens against Burrell, a title-contender in Class AA, in the Seneca Valley Tournament.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.