Metheny's key steal sets up go-ahead 3-pointer in Bethel Park's playoff win
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Bethel Park's Josh Krafczynski made six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 20 points.
Fox Chapel's Brian Papich threw down a two-handed dunk late in the fourth quarter that put his team in front for the first time since midway through the second quarter.
Yet No. 9 seed Bethel Park's 49-45 victory over eighth-seeded Fox Chapel in a WPIAL Class AAAA first-round game Saturday at North Hills came down to a reserve's effort on defense.
Levi Metheny's strip of Matt D'Amico set up Krafczynski's 3-pointer from the right wing with 33 seconds left, giving the Black Hawks (18-5) a lead they would not relinquish.
“The momentum definitely switched whenever they got that dunk,” Metheny said. “I knew we needed to get the ball back.
“I knew if I could make that steal, one of my teammates would make the shot.”
Asked whether Metheny saw something that made him go for the steal, Bethel Park coach Ben O'Connor pointed to his chest and began to trace a shape.
“That's a play we diagram like this,” O'Connor said. “It's called heart.”
Which Metheny shows often as the Black Hawks' quarterback on Friday nights in the fall.
“Levi's a winner,” O'Connor said. “He's a football guy. He's a quarterback. He's a coach's son.
“Same as the rest of our team. It's never pretty. We just go play.”
Joey Mascaro contributed 11 points for Bethel Park, which advanced to the quarterfinals and will play No. 1 New Castle on Saturday, site/time to be determined.
Metheny's steal happened directly in front of the Fox Chapel bench, and Foxes coach Zach Skrinjar wasn't thrilled with the non-call.
“It was pretty obvious to me that he got fouled there,” Skrinjar said. “But that wasn't the way the official saw it. It happens. It didn't come down to that play, I don't think.”
Nearly didn't, anyway.
Bethel Park led 34-26 following a layup from Jake Dixon at 2:36 of the third, but Fox Chapel (17-6) scored 10 of the next 13 points, the final two coming on a bank shot from Papich with 5:27 left to make it 37-36.
Held to zero points in the first half, Papich scored all 16 of his game-high total in the second.
“We never feel like we're out of the game with the guys we have,” Skrinjar said. “That's been what we've done all year: pushing it in the fourth quarter. It's kind of what we expected to do at the end. We just didn't get it finished.”
Part of that was the job Bethel Park did on D'Amico. Fox Chapel's leading scorer was held to 11 points, or less than half of his season average.
O'Connor acknowledged having a specific plan to stop D'Amico, but he deflected credit for holding Fox Chapel 11 points below its season average.
“I wish I could stand here and say it was a great coaching philosophy or strategy,” O'Connor said. “Our kids just made one or two more plays than they did.”
Bethel Park led 13-12 after one, despite D'Amico's floater at the buzzer. Krafczynski converted twice from long range in the second, and the Black Hawks went into the locker room with a 25-20 edge.
Dixon scored all seven of his points in the third, helping Bethel Park build its biggest lead, but Fox Chapel closed fast. D'Amico's free throw at 1:53 capped a 9-3 run that lasted less than three minutes.
“I know Fox Chapel is a very good team,” Krafczynski said. “They like to score a lot of points in their section. That was our goal going into this game — to try and stop them.
Fox Chapel led 45-42 before Metheny's putback at 1:07 — giving him seven points — got the Black Hawks rolling. It also turned out to be the football player, the one who plays hoops as a secondary sport, who gave Bethel Park's shooters another chance.
“Levi made a big play for us and got the ball back,” Krafczynski said. “We knew we had to score there eventually, so we just tried to keep the ball moving, stay calm and make a shot.”
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.
- New Deer Lakes boys basketball coach Parham is eager to get going
- Monessen’s Brown coaching in J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer Basketball League
- Shady Side Academy’s Groff brothers set for Maccabi Games
- Norwin girls basketball win McKeesport summer league
- Young Penn-Trafford girls basketball team using summer league to improve