Section-leading Belle Vernon too much for Thomas Jefferson girls
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, 11:18 p.m.
He is still wearing that signature sweater.
He still drifts onto the court shouting instructions to his team at the top of his lungs.
He still has that unique sense of humor.
Even though Phil Shar still looks a little out of place wearing the black and gold of Thomas Jefferson after spending two decades at rival West Mifflin, the veteran coach of 405 wins knows his current team isn't far off from being comparable to some of his former teams.
However, Monday's Section 4-AAA game at Belle Vernon showed Shar he still has some work to do.
Two long stretches of offensive struggles were too much for Thomas Jefferson to overcome — that, and BVA's Kaitlyn Slagus — as the Jaguars' three-game winning streak was snapped with a 47-39 loss at Belle Vernon.
The win moved Belle Vernon (8-1, 3-0) on top of the section standings with idle Elizabeth Forward (8-1, 3-0). The two meet next week at Belle Vernon.
Thomas Jefferson (7-4, 2-2) remains entrenched in the fourth and final playoff spot in the section.
“My girls played hard,” Shar said. “My young ladies are improving at a tremendous rate. It is just a matter if we can get there fast enough. We are playing everybody tough, but we are just a little bit away.”
Thomas Jefferson had no answer for Slagus — a 6-foot-2 junior forward — all night.
Slagus scored a game-high 17 points while grabbing 26 rebounds.
“Twenty-six? I thought she had 25,” quipped Shar. “We tried junk defenses that didn't work too well. She's good. She's just too big.”
Teammate Bria Rathway added 13 points, and TJ got 10 points from Alexis Yanief and nine from Haley Zoglmann.
“I knew coming into this game and most every game that Kaitlyn is going to see a double team,” Belle Vernon coach Lisa Fairman said. “We have really good outside shooters and realistically, it opens it up for us. I told our guards to keep shooting. They are great shooters. Keep the confidence high, and let them fly. Kaityln was there to clean up some of those missed shots.”
Slagus had six offensive rebounds that led to easy points.
“They made easy shots, and we missed so many easy shots,” Shar said. “If we would've made our easy shots, this might've been a different story.”
Despite both teams struggling offensively, Belle Vernon put together an 8-0 run over the final two minutes of the first half to extend its lead to 23-16 at the half and then a 7-2 run to start the second half to open a double-digit advantage.
“We don't play 32 minutes,” Shar said. “We play like 26. No, I am not used to losing, but I feel confident that things are going to happen.”
Fairman, who lives in the West Jefferson Hills School District and whose daughter, Alysa, plays for TJ, said it is still nice to see her hometown team.
“I have been here long enough, but I guess there is always a little extra emotion,” Fairman said. “It is just another game. It wasn't executed to perfection offensively, but like I told the girls, you battled through adversity and got the win.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
Show commenting policy
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.